After backtracking from grander plans for a splashy upgrade in Times Square amid Disney cost-cutting, ESPN now plans to add a new studio at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Starting in spring 2018, the Bristol, Conn.-based network will occupy 19,000 square feet of space within The Howard Hughes Corp.’s development at Pier 17, in Lower Manhattan.
ESPN will produce multiple studio shows from this location, as well as radio, radio on TV, news hits and social segments. The facility features outdoor roof and pier locations that will be used as backdrops, as well as the iconic cobblestone streets of Fulton Street Market, which hark back to Manhattan’s history as a global shipping hub in the 18th century. South Street Seaport and the surrounding area have been redeveloped as a commercial center in recent decades and the gentrification and real estate boom in New York have made the once-desultory neighborhood desirable for residential and commercial tenants alike.
Over its four-decade run, ESPN has occasionally faced difficulties with attracting and keeping talent due to its location in remote Bristol, which is a two-hour trek from Manhattan.
The Seaport District production facility is a state-of-the-art content factory that will allow us to produce differentiated studio content for both television and digital,” said Connor Schell, exec VP of content for ESPN. “The flexible spaces, both indoor and outdoor, allow us to take advantage of all that New York City has to offer.”
David R. Weinreb, CEO of the Howard Hughes Corp., said ESPN, “will bring a new dimension of entertainment to the neighborhood with live daily telecasts from Pier 17 in what I believe will become one of the most dynamic and iconic studio spaces in the country. This is yet another sign of Lower Manhattan’s evolution into a vibrant hub for the media, technology and creative sectors.”
Saul Scherl, exec VP of the Howard Hughes Corp., also noted that ESPN plans off-air activities throughout the Seaport District in addition to the daily broadcasts. “This announcement further distinguishes the Seaport District as a one-of-a-kind destination with its mix of food, fashion, entertainment and cultural offerings,” he said.
NEP Studios will provide technical support at the location.