ESPN has long been considered the golden goose for Disney. Thanks to a new disclosure from the media giant, we know just how lucrative the sports network really is.
In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Disney restated its financial results in line with a new method of reporting it plans to employ to better break out different businesses. One of those divisions is its sports business, which will be separated from the rest of the entertainment business.
For the fiscal year ended October 1, 2022, ESPN generated $16 billion and generated an operating profit of $2.8 billion, according to the filing. In comparison, that’s larger than any of Disney’s more traditional linear network and surpasses its streaming subscription revenue, which tallied $14.2 billion in revenue, but posted an operating loss of $3.4 billion.
The results shed some light on ESPN and illustrates why it’s such a critical part of the Disney media empire. ESPN was the major sticking point in the dispute between Charter Communications’ Spectrum and Disney, which resulted in a blackout that lasted roughly two weeks. ESPN remains one of the top-rated cable networks with an audience that has been growing this year despite the rise of cord cutting the shift to streaming services.
Beyond sports, Disney’s other two business units consists of entertainment, which includes its streaming ambitions and other linear networks, and its experiences division, which consists of its theme parks. In total, the entertainment division posted fiscal 2022 revenue of $39.6 billion on a profit of $2.2 billion, which means ESPN made more money than that whole division last year.
Both, however, are dwarfed by the experiences division, which saw fiscal 2022 revenue of $28.1 billion on an operating profit of $7.3 billion.