Disney is said to be closing most of its ESPN Zone restaurants
Walt Disney Co. is shutting down most of its ESPN Zone stores, a chain of sports-themed restaurants in seven cities, according to a person familiar with the matter. The only outlets to remain open are those tied to a Disney property, such as the Downtown Disney shopping district in Anaheim.
ESPN Zone opened in 1998 to capitalize on ESPN’s brand, while bringing Disney’s family-friendly atmosphere to the sports bar concept. The upscale eateries serve burgers and brews as walls of big-screen TVs beam baseball and other sporting events into the dining area. Separate gaming rooms, dubbed “Sports Arenas,” provide access to interactive games, such as virtual golf and boxing.
It’s unclear what has prompted Disney to close the establishments, although the bars may well be a casualty of the recession. A poll released in March by AlixPartners found that 30% of consumers planned to eat out less frequently, and spend less per meal than they did the year before.
In addition, some of the ESPN Zone restaurants are in high-priced real estate areas, such as Times Square in New York.
Read the article at: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-disney-20100609,0,3920492.story