The year was 2003. Just six years after founding Good Karma Brands, the parent company to ESPN West Palm and many other sports-focused initiatives, Craig Karmazin, Steve Politziner and the team were looking to expand their geographic footprint – they couldn’t get enough of sports both on and off the air, they had found their niche. The first show the West Palm community heard was the Steve (Politziner) and Craig (Karmazin) Show airing from 4pm – 7pm followed by Evan Cohen and John Martin from 7pm – 9pm. In true growth mode, the executives were also the hosts and everyone on the team wore many hats and their passion for sports could be heard in every word. Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast couldn’t get enough, and neither could the ESPN West Palm team.
That first year in West Palm was a whirlwind – the team covered the Florida Marlins improbable second-half run, culminating by defeating the New York Yankees in the World Series and the community got on board with both the Marlins team and the ESPN West Palm team (known then as ESPN 760). Also, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem entered the league together and joined the Miami Heat, beginning a glorious era of Heat basketball and ESPN West Palm was there to cover it all including 3 championships and the importance of culture, which took similar emphasis then and now at ESPN West Palm.
Embedded in the local community, ESPN West Palm became the go-to station for all things sports – MLB Spring Training, the Honda Classic, Delray Beach Open, Panthers hockey, equestrian events, fishing tournaments and more all received coverage. The stand-out group elevated itself with its deep commitment to youth and high school sports coverage from The Lou Groza Awards, to little league to the creation of the “Top 63” recognizing high school football talent. You name it, ESPN West Palm was the team to cover it and not only on the radio, the team’s early appearances on WPTV-NewsChannel5 ultimately led to a partnership where ESPN West Palm now serves as its sports department.
So just why did Craig Karmazin, Steve Politziner and Good Karma Brands identify Palm Beach County as an opportunity market for ESPN? Quite frankly, it was the challenge that attracted them; Palm Beach County was the largest media market in the country without its own sports-radio station and it was now up to these young entrepreneurs to define what is sports in Palm Beach County, establish an identity for the brand, secure a following and make a difference. Challenge accepted.
Throughout the years, the team grew and so did their following, as well as their impact in the local community. This year, ESPN West Palm celebrates 20 years of defining sports and serving Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. The team recognizes it as an honor to serve sports fans via their platforms (ESPN 106.3, ESPN Deportes 760, ESPN 106.3 on WPTV/WFLX, ESPN Digital and the Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl) to recognize the efforts of high school athletes and future generations, to partner with local businesses in support of their growth initiatives, to reinforce West Palm Beach becoming a true sports town through the voices of their radio hosts, their TV stories and their digital channels, and to continue giving back to a community who has given so much to them through servant leadership opportunities.
To kick-off the 20th
anniversary festivities, with planned initiatives throughout the year, and to recognize their ongoing commitment to the community, the team is honored to share that March 3, 2023, was recognized as ESPN West Palm Day as proclaimed by Mayor Keith James and the City of West Palm Beach. As a result of the support of the City of West Palm Beach, March 3 will forever be a date to recognize the role that sports play in the community, the economy and the hearts of many.
To coincide with the proclamation and commemorate the 20th
anniversary, ESPN was live on-air for 20 hours straight 12am – 8pm March 3 with esteemed guests including Mayor Keith James.
The team is extremely excited about this milestone, and even more excited to continue serving the growing community throughout this anniversary year and for years to come. ESPN West Palm is here to make sure everyone in our melting-pot of sports fans in our area gets a serving to their enjoyment. Stay tuned for more exciting initiatives to recognize the team’s commitment to the community over the next few months!
Should you have any questions about ESPN’s 20th
anniversary or how you can get involved, email Stephanie Prince-Springmyer, Vice President & Market Manager, at email@example.com