I know ESPN will hate the idea of creating a sports museum in Bristol, but this may be just the right time to push for it.
The powerful sports giant recently declared that it was shutting down ESPN Zone restaurants in New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington and maybe some other places. All of them are stuffed full of sports junk that fans would gladly come to Bristol to ogle.
While there's no doubt that Bristol has gotten a great deal by having ESPN make it home - thousands of jobs, tons of taxes and very little danger or expense for the community.
But as a tourist destination, let's face it, ESPN is a dud. It's got some cool satellite dishes outside, but there's no way to go in and not much chance of running into Chris Berman let alone Tiger Woods.
A sports museum in Bristol would fill an obvious gap.
The best option, of course, would be to have the ESPN Sports Palace with an overflowing volume of sports stuff and some nifty 3-D cameras and screens for visitors to pretend they're on SportsCenter.
But even if ESPN doesn't want any formal connection to the place, a Bristol sports museum could still thrive just because it's in Bristol and so is ESPN. And it's possible the network might loan or give a new community museum some interesting tidbits to put on display. If not, well, maybe Mayor Art Ward can lift some cool stuff next time he's wandering around inside ESPN.
I don't know if it's possible, of course, but at the moment, ESPN has more sports-related displays than even it can do something with. Maybe there's a chance for Bristol to put it on display and pull some of the millions of ESPN fans to visit the Mum City.
ESPN has made sports and Bristol inseparable. The city should find a way to make some money out of that.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org