ESPN is “hardly needy,” given that it brings in about $6 billion a year in subscriber fees alone, but still has received about $260 million in tax breaks and credits from the state of Connecticut over the past 12 years, reports The New York Times.
“That includes $84.7 million in development tax credits because of a film and digital media program, as well as savings of about $15 million a year since the network successfully lobbied the state for a tax code change in 2000,” the story reports.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy believes that “any business with ESPN is good business,” the article adds. “After all, ESPN is Connecticut’s most celebrated brand and a homegrown success story, employing more than 4,000 workers in the state."
While other major corporations, such as General Motors in Michigan, have received generous tax breaks from their home states, ESPN’s case has “been met with frustration by some political opponents of the Connecticut governor, who say the state’s resources would be better spent elsewhere,” The Times reports.
The report adds: “The critics say incentives should be redirected to smaller companies that are more in need than ESPN, which accounts for nearly half the operating profit of Disney, its corporate parent. They also say ESPN, sitting on 123 acres in central Connecticut, is hardly a risk to move elsewhere."
Gov. Malloy told The Times that ESPN is helping attract other sports media jobs to the state, pointing to NBC Sports recently opening new headquarters there.
“I don’t want to imagine Connecticut without ESPN,” Malloy told the publication. “We want ESPN to have the biggest possible footprint in Connecticut, and we want them spending their dollars in Connecticut instead of any other state.”
An ESPN spokesman said that the media company has proved to be a “growth engine” for central Connecticut’s economic development, adding that the company has consistently added jobs.
ESPN, which has spent about $1 billion constructing buildings in and around Bristol since 2000, is the 25th-largest employer in the state.