August 7, 2008
STATE ASSISTANCE FOR ESPN
By: John Rappa, Principal Analyst
You asked how the state assisted ESPN and why ESPN chose Pittsburgh instead of Hartford as the site for the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic fishing tourney.
The state helped ESPN expand its Bristol plant in 1998 by providing $694,413 in Manufacturing Assistance Act funds, divided almost equally between a grant and a low-interest loan (Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2006-2007, p. A-332). The state also helped ESPN and other broadcasters and most manufacturers in 2000 when it changed the way multistate companies determine the share of net income subject to Connecticut corporate business taxes. Attachment 1 is an OLR report describing this change and how it benefited these businesses (2004-R-0784).
The decision to hold the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic fishing tourney in Pittsburgh instead of Hartford was made by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS), which is owned by ESPN. BASS considered both cities because they fronted well stocked rivers, but chose Pittsburgh because its convention center and hotel facilities were ready to support the event while Hartford's were being constructed. The tournament's planners were concerned that the construction would not be completed in time for the event (Connecticut Business News Journal, February 18, 2008).