Disney Closeing ESPN Zone Restaurants
By PAUL ZIOBRO of the Wall Street Journal
Walt Disney Co. is closing five of its seven ESPN Zone locations, including its Times Square location, on June 16 as the company found it increasingly challenging to operate the sports-themed restaurants.
An ESPN spokesman said the company will be closing ESPN Zones in Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Washington, while keeping the locations in Los Angeles and Anaheim open. The announcement followed media reports, including in the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, that some or all of the restaurant locations would be closed.
ESPN Zone, an arcade-style restaurant used as a brand extension for the popular sports network, becomes a victim of the economic downturn, where consumers increasingly cut back on visits to restaurants. The locations took up pricey real estate, like the high-profile Times Square spot at 42nd Street and Broadway, which make it difficult to operate the chains profitably.