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ESPN Plans L.A. Production Complex

After launching a show this year about the synergies between sports and Hollywood, ESPN is now stepping up its West Coast presence even further.

On Thursday, ESPN unveiled plans for a 120,000-square-foot complex that is part of the Anschutz Entertainment Group's new downtown Los Angeles sports and entertainment district. 

As part of the new “LA Live” district adjacent to the Staples Center arena, the new ESPN facilities are expected to open in 2009 and will include two high definition television studios and a radio studio, full production facilities, and an ESPN Zone sports-themed restaurant.

ESPN’s building will be five stories, with the top three home to 70,000 square feet of production facilities. The bottom two floors will house the restaurant, as well as some production offices.

ESPN Senior Vice President and Managing Editor Bob Eaton claims when finished, it will be “the most modern and advanced facility in the world.”

While the ESPN networks currently have two shows based out of Los Angeles in ESPN Hollywood and Jim Rome is Burning, Eaton said the new facility is designed to support much more.

“It’s hard to say in 2009 what we will be doing of course, but the hope is that while ESPN Hollywood and Rome can move in there, we can do a lot more,” he says.  “Significant parts of the late SportsCenter will be done out of Los Angeles and we can do stuff for ESPN Deportes, and the facility just opens up many opportunities.”

Eaton says that sister network ABC “has no involvement” in the facility at this point. “We haven’t even looked at that,” he says.

ESPN currently has a sales office in Los Angeles, as well as an office for the X Games and a news bureau. But Eaton says he does not necessarily expect everything to be under one roof.

“From an economic statement it doesn’t make sense to put that office space in an expensive building like that,” he notes.