By Michael Calia
ESPN said Thursday that it no longer would hold events for its extreme-sports brand in four international locations, saying the future doesn't look economically sustainable for them.
The sports network, majority owned by Walt Disney Co. (DIS), ceased X Games events in Barcelona; Munich; Foz do Iguacu, Brazil; and Tignes, France.
X Games competitions will continue in Aspen, Colo., and Austin, Texas, ESPN said.
ESPN, which is estimated to generate more than $10 billion in annual revenue for Disney, will be spending elsewhere, however. It is ramping up a new marketing push as it faces slightly softer ratings for its flagship "SportsCenter" show as well as new competition from 24-hour sports channel Fox Sports 1, which 21st Century Fox (FOXA) launched in August. (21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal owner News Corp were part of the same media company until June.)
Meanwhile, the sports network earlier this year laid off a few hundred employees and said it would stop broadcasting its 3D channel by the end of the year.
Disney in August said ESPN was key to the entertainment conglomerate's posting slight profit growth for the fiscal third quarter, offsetting weakness in its studio division.
Shares of Disney were down 62 cents at $64.26 in recent trading Thursday. The stock is up 29% so far this year.
Write to Michael Calia at firstname.lastname@example.org
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 03, 2013 14:08 ET (18:08 GMT)Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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