Walt Disney Co. appears to be having a heap of trouble convincing the New York staff of ESPN the Magazine to move three hours north to the corporate campus in Bristol, Conn. Close to half the staff is quitting the twice-a-month sports magazine rather than make the move.
“There will be roughly 35 open positions when they move to Bristol,” said an ESPN spokesman. The full staff numbers close to 100.
Gary Belsky, the editor-in-chief for the past four years, is not going to make the jump and yesterday the magazine appointed Chad Millman, currently a senior deputy editor, to the job, effective June 15. Belsky will stay on board in a consulting capacity until January 2012. Aside from the commuting hassle, sources said the editorial staff in New York enjoyed editorial independence and feared it will be compromised once it operates from the same base as the powerful TV network.
Gary Hoenig, the general manager and editorial director, was also said to be resistant to a move to Bristol but was apparently able to work out a deal where he could keep some base in New York. Not so for most of the staff.
As someone who spent a summer in Bristol, let’s just say I can’t blame them for not moving.