July 11

30: The Business Behind ESPN Wide World of Sports w/ Mike Millay PART 1

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This is first half of a two-part interview with Mike Millay. This part of the sheds light on the business model powering ESPN Wide World of Sports and explores how the cultures of Disney and competitive sports merged.

Our guest today is Mike Millay, the longest tenured executive in ESPN Wide World of Sports’ history. He’s also my Dad and a Senior Partner at EngageMint, so this was a special episode for me.

The MLS kicked off it’s first game on Wednesday, and NBA players are now in the “bubble” on Disney property. As ESPN Wide World of Sports is the epicenter of major league pro sports in America right now, I know there are lots of questions from our listeners and from the general public that we sought to answer here.

For some quick background on ESPN Wide World of Sports, it opened in March 1997, and each year, over 300,000+ unique athletes compete there. It’s a 250+ acre sports complex right in the middle of Walt Disney World property, including a 7,500 seat baseball stadium, a 5,000 seat multi-purpose arena, a smaller 70,000 square foot foot arena, twelve full size soccer fields, four multi-purpose fields, four professional baseball fields, six softball fields, a tennis complex, a track and field complex, a cross country course, and more. 

The complex is huge in size, and in revenue. From a financial perspective, it was about a $100 million NET revenue business driver for the Mouse when Mike was there.

Mike left ESPN Wide World of Sports about 5 years ago, while some of the stats may have changed, most of the business strategy remains the same. 

Today, Mike owns a number of different companies in the sports industry, but for the purposes of the podcast, we stick to ESPN Wide World of Sports. If you’re interested in seeing what Mike is up to now, feel free to visit his companies’ respective websites. EngageMint (customer & employee experience design firm)3D Institute (award winning content and frameworks for the coaching community)Clancy’s Sports Properties (strategic consulting for organizations in sports tourism, sports complexes, and youth sports)

Mike can be reached via email at mikem@engagemintpartners.com
To connect with Mike on LinkedIn, click here


*Statistic correction* We say in the interview that EWWS is the largest sports complex in the world, but there are now a handful of bigger complexes, such as the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN.


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