Drum Corps International (DCI) today announced it will suspend the national television broadcast of its World Championship event on ESPN2, effective with the 2008 season. The DCI World Championship program has aired on the ESPN2 cable sports network for the past three years and was viewed by an audience of more than one million annually. "This was a very difficult business decision, but one that was necessary in light of the sizable economic challenges facing DCI and its member corps," said Dan Acheson, Executive Director and CEO of Drum Corps International. "Both DCI and ESPN anticipated continuing the program for 2008, but as operating expenses continue to rise for the corps, we are forced to look at the core activities and needs of our organization. After exhausting every other option, we have decided that it is in the best interests of the member corps to reallocate the tremendous resources dedicated to the television program to sustain other initiatives that will ultimately improve our collective prospects." The organization hopes to resume a national television broadcast in the future. Acheson continued, "Although the broadcast is a very significant component in our ability to share our performances with the world, our non-profit organization simply can't cover the expense of producing and airing the program, even with the very generous support of a substantial number of advertisers and corporate partners. We've been quite pleased with the viewership of this world-class event and are grateful to the number of sponsors who have helped us offset a portion of the production and airtime costs. In the end, we simply must make a responsible business decision on behalf of the corps." Prior to its three years on ESPN2, Drum Corps International World Championship broadcasts ran for more than 25 years on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). "We know our fans will be disappointed with this announcement and are likely to feel as badly as we do," Acheson continued. "We also anticipate that some fans will want to know if we can shift back to PBS in light of this decision, but that is not possible at this time. We hope that our loyal fans will continue to support Drum Corps International and its corps by attending and enjoying our live events, and by taking advantage of our audio and video productions, our cinema events and our ever expanding Web-based media."
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