BRISTOL – Yesterday, a ribbon was cut and the doors opened to ESPN’s new Welcome Center, the company’s 17th building at its 123-acre ESPN Plaza campus and the first in Southington. The 5,600-square foot building at the southern end of the company’s property will serve as the new access point for all incoming visitors to ESPN. It will also be home to some members of ESPN’s Global Security department.
Since 1998, ESPN Plaza has stretched across the Bristol line, now totaling 36 acres in Southington. Before the welcome center, the primary uses of the land has been as home to the company’s teleport – the collection of more than two dozen satellite “dish” antennas – and for parking. As part of the development of the area at the southern end of ESPN Plaza, in 2013 more than 260 parking spaces were created for the company’s workforce.
With the addition of the Welcome Center, ESPN Plaza now totals 966,349 square feet. Later in 2014, ESPN will cut another ribbon – for the grand opening of its largest building, Digital Center 2. The state-of-the-art facility will take over the top spot from the current Digital Center (136,000 sq. ft.) with 193,000 sq. ft.
From humble beginnings – less than an acre purchased sight-unseen by ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen from the City of Bristol in 1978 – the evolution of ESPN Plaza has been steady, and remarkable. Now totaling 123 acres (36 in Southington), including seven at the near Child Care Center, ESPN Plaza encompasses 966,349 square feet of space across 17 buildings and serves as home to 3,000 employees. Another 1,000 are employed nearby in a leased location, now totaling an additional 393,000 square feet.