Disney Gets $1B OMD Deal

A just-completed deal with OMD USA will spread more than $1 billion across numerous Walt Disney Co. media properties, led by the ABC Television Network and ESPN, industry sources said last week.

Disney and OMD would not comment, but sources familiar with the deal said it involves ABC's primetime entertainment and sports programming — led by the Super Bowl — and other ABC dayparts, as well as fare on ESPN and Lifetime Television (which Disney co-owns with Hearst Corp.).

ABC and ESPN will receive ad dollars well into nine figures, these sources said, while Lifetime will get a figure well into eight digits.

But officials disputed a published report that included the National Basketball Association in the mega-deal. Some of the ad budget also will be spent on Internet sites and other integrated Disney media assets, they added.

"This deal brings together the No. 1 seller and the No. 1 buyer of sports," one executive said. The buy strengthens the bargaining stance of ABC Sports and ESPN, he said, while also giving OMD clients access to major sports product, led by the Super Bowl in January 2003.

OMD accounts include FedEx Corp., Gillette Co., Nissan, Pepsi-Cola Co., Charles Schwab & Co. and Visa International.

Although there are other major deals in the works, sources within Disney said, "There's nothing of this magnitude."

In mid-May a similar OMD mega-deal proposal — also estimated in the $1 billion range — fell through when OMD and Viacom Inc. could not come to terms.