Disney Shutters ESPN Zones

Disney puts an end to ESPN's adventures in bar-owning, shuttering all but two of the nation's ESPN Zones.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Say goodbye, sports fans, to those enormous rialtos of fanaticism, the ESPN Zone.

Or say goodbye to most of them, anyway, including the flagship in Times Square. ESPN's parent company,

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

, confirmed the news on Wednesday, which was first reported by the

Los Angeles Times

.

The sports-bar chain, which has graced the tourist districts of major U.S. cities for the last decade or so, had evidently been hemorrhaging money, and Disney had had enough.

Or, as the ESPN Zone's general manager said in a soundbite for the media: "The overall economics of continuing this operation were very challenging."

There were only seven of them, anyway: New York, Chicago, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Anaheim (home of Disneyland). Only the Southern California locations, close-by Disney's corporate redoubt in Burbank, will remain open -- like the parent who has to keep an eye on the kid who's thrown one too many keggers.

Elsewhere in Disney news Wednesday, the woman who had an affair with former ESPN baseball commentator Steve Phillips has sued ESPN for defamation of character. And the former Disney employee accused of attempted insider trading made bail Wednesday ($50,000).

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.