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--- Glenn Hauser <wghauser@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> My dim recollexion is that it was originally Entertainment and Sports 
> Programming Network (on television), but I could be wrong. Like many 
> initialisms, its original significance has been deliberately muted.

No, you're spot on, Glenn. It is, or at least was, the Entertainment and
Sports Programming Network. Here's the details straight from the bowels of

"It doesn't stand for anything, but the story is this...When ESPN started in
1979 we were the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (thus, ESPN).  
However, the full name was dropped in February 1985 when the company adopted a
new corporate name -- ESPN, Inc. -- and a new logo. We are a subsidiary of
ABC, Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co. The
Hearst Corporation has a 20 percent interest in ESPN."

I seem to recall that it was rarely, if ever, actually referred to by its full
name on-air; the name seemed to exist more for the benefit of their sales
people, who had to be able to quickly explain to cable company owners, and
potential advertisers, what this funny little new network actually did. 

Along the same lines, CNBC technically stands for Consumer News & Business
Channel, though everyone involved with the channel's creation knows they just
worked up a more descriptive name whose acronym also matched what the channel
actually was: Cable NBC. (And CNBC did indeed run consumer-oriented news shows
in the evenings until the mid-90s.)


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