February 9, 2006 – Disney Trades to Reacquire Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
“Oswald is definitely worth more than a fourth-round draft choice. I’m going to be a trivia answer someday.” – Al Michaels
On February 9, 2006, Disney-owned ESPN finalized a trade with NBC-Universal, trading the contract of NFL play-by-play analyst Al Michaels for one of Disney’s earliest popular creations, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald, Walt’s first animated character, was lost to producer Charles B. Mintz at Universal in 1928. Mintz not only took all of Walt’s animators, but the character Oswald himself when Walt could not in good conscience accept the terms Mintz offered for a new contract. The trade gave Disney all rights to the earliest Oswald cartoons, as well as creative control of the character. Also included were exclusive rights for ESPN from NBC Sports, which included expanded coverage of the Kentucky Derby, the Olympics, and Notre Dame college football games until 2011 (or 2012 in the case of the Olympics).