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The site was founded in January 2009 by former employees of the East Valley Tribune, and its initial funding was provided by local political consultant Bob Grossfeld, the site’s publisher. The Guardian had three editorial employees.
The Guardian was available only to paid subscribers, who could read the site with plans ranging from $30 to $150 per month . Many of those subscribers were members of the Arizona State Legislature or lobbyists. The site also brought in revenue from advertising. It was profitable as of mid-2009.
In 2010, the site began commissioning polls and developed a free location-based iPhone app designed by Arizona State University students, which allows users to quickly see elected officials for their current location, as well as other political stats and contact information.
ESPN is a cable broadcaster that specializes in sports events, news and analysis. ESPN’s majority owner is the Walt Disney Co., which bought ESPN’s parent network, ABC, in 1995. Hearst Corp. owns a minority stake in the network. ESPN proclaims itself as the “worldwide leader in sports,” and it owns six cable channels, a biweekly…