In an all-hands meeting on Friday, ESPN announced that it will move its magazine operations from Midtown Manhattan to Bristol, Connecticut — where its TV studio and corporate offices reside — this fall.
Here's ESPN's statement:
It was announced to our staff today (Friday, July 2) that upon the ending of our lease in the fall of 2011 that ESPN The Magazine will move its offices to Bristol, Conn. The Magazine is thriving — readership is more than 15mm, and last month had its 15th biggest issue in its 12 years. It is our belief that bringing our content staff together, across all our media platforms, will further cultivate content that best serves and benefits our fans for many years to come.
That all makes sense, except life in Bristol is a tad different than Manhattan. (The sleepy valley town, about halfway between New York and Boston, is often joked about among staffers — both on and off air.) Which makes the reports I've heard of magazine staffers "crying" over the move not so surprising.
A spokesperson for the magazine would not comment on the staff reaction. According to one commenter on FishbowlNY, magazine executives "have been very upfront about the possibility of a move, and gave us periodic updates that made it seem increasingly likely. […] There will be relocation allowances and, in some cases, incentives for people who go. There will be severance packages for people who don't, but stay on staff until the end of the New York era."
According to the Publishers Information Bureau, the magazine has stabilized in 2010 after a rough 2009. Ad pages ticked up 3.3 percent during the first quarter, after falling 11 percent last year.
The biweekly magazine was launched in 1998.