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Disney's Wide World of Sports Archives

May 4, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup Excitement Headed to Walt Disney World Resort

ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill at Disney designated official live viewing location
for month-long international soccer event from South Africa


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 3, 2010) - Soccer fans in Central Florida can get swept up in the fever of 2010 FIFA World Cup through unique viewing opportunities at Walt Disney World Resort.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill at Disney has been designated as an official viewing location for the month-long global soccer tournament. Soccer fans can watch live World Cup matches televised on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 from South Africa involving their favorite soccer national teams on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill's many large high-definition screens.

In addition, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill will offer special viewing parties running for the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and third-place match (June 26-July 10), which will include guaranteed seating to view the matches and an all-you-care-to-eat buffet featuring Buffalo wings, hot dogs, seasonal fruit, build-your-own salads, a nacho bar, desserts and non-alcoholic drinks - all for $19.99/per person, per game (plus tax).

The beautiful game kicks off on the world stage June 11, with open seating for breakfast and lunch available at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill for the group stage of play running through June 25. A special viewing area will be available for the championship match July 11.

Reservations can be made starting May 27 by calling 407/WDW-DINE or by visiting espnwwos.com.

The official FIFA World Cup viewing location designation builds on the long-standing soccer tradition at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The 220-acre complex, the leading multi-sports venue in the nation, hosts nearly 300 sports events each year, including the Disney Cup International Youth Soccer tournament (July) and the coveted Disney Soccer Showcase (December), which features the most decorated youth soccer players in the nation.

For more information on soccer events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, please visit espnwwos.com.

March 24, 2010

Pittsburgh Steelers stars enjoy ESPN's Wide World of Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers stars Ike Taylor (left) and Santonio Holmes (right) play a game of "Madden NFL '10" March 23, 2010 at the PlayStation Pavilion at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The new PlayStation Pavilion features PlayStation 3 systems, including a SingStar stage and a collection of the latest video game releases.

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February 23, 2010

Harlem Globetrotters Join Forces with ESPN & Disney Sports

Special Globetrotter Performance on ESPN2 This Friday Night
Will Showcase Re-Launch of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Three of the biggest names in sports and entertainment will come together this week when the Harlem Globetrotters join forces with ESPN and Disney Sports as part of the official re-launch of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.

"The Globetrotters are proud to be global ambassadors of both sports and family entertainment, and partnering with the undisputed worldwide leaders-Disney Sports and ESPN-in both those categories is a tremendous honor that we take great pride in."

As part of the gala "re-opening" night festivities, the Globetrotters will take on the Washington Generals at the complex, with an all-star Globetrotter roster, including Special K Daley, Scooter Christensen, Big Easy Lofton and Flight Time Lang being joined by a bevy of sports celebrities, ESPN personalities and Disney characters. The game will be taped before a live audience on Thursday and televised nationally on Friday, February 26, at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The special performance will include ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic from Mike & Mike in the Morning, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary on the air, serving as honorary coaches. In addition, ESPN's Emerging Technology Group will use the game as a first test run for the network's much-anticipated ESPN 3D network, scheduled to launch later this year in conjunction with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

In addition to the opening night event, the Globetrotters will also once again take part in several events throughout the popular annual "ESPN The Weekend" (Feb. 25-28) at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park and the newly re-imagined sports complex.

"We're thrilled to bring the Globetrotters' magic to this landmark event," said Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. "The Globetrotters are proud to be global ambassadors of both sports and family entertainment, and partnering with the undisputed worldwide leaders-Disney Sports and ESPN-in both those categories is a tremendous honor that we take great pride in."

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 300 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States, accommodating 60 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries.

Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, Spalding, Howard Johnson and America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, the Original Harlem Globetrotters are in their 84th consecutive season of touring the world. The Globetrotters are one of only six teams to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

January 28, 2010

"ESPN Wide World of Sports" entrance sign installed at Disney Sports Complex in Florida - Jan. 28, 2010

The 220-acre sports complex at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. has been rebranded by ESPN, and will officially relaunch Feb. 25, 2010 as "ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex."

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Pictured, the "E" of the ESPN logo is lowered into place on the complex's entrance sign on Jan. 28, 2010. Disney's multi-sport venue hosts more than 250 sporting events each year for amateur and professional athletes. On Feb. 25, ESPN Wide World of Sports will re-open with more than 40 high-definition and robotic video cameras, plus 10 handheld cameras, and 40 high-definition video screens, including two Jumbotrons placed throughout the complex. (Gene Duncan, Photographer)

January 26, 2010

Two-time MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo Headline Inaugural Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic

Pre-season tournament helps launch Re-imagined ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2010) - Four Major League Soccer clubs, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC, will compete in the inaugural Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic Feb. 25 and 27, 2010.

The Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic kicks off the re-launch of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and is part of the 2010 ESPN The Weekend presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.

On Thursday, Feb. 25 the Houston Dynamo face the New York Red Bulls at 6 p.m. followed by FC Dallas versus Toronto FC at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 27, the two losing teams will kick off at 6 p.m. with the two winners playing in the championship game at 8:30 p.m.

FC Dallas finished the 2009 season as one of the league's hottest teams, narrowly missing the post-season under the direction of Coach Schellas Hyndman. The FC Dallas squad was anchored by the MLS leading goal scorer, Jeff Cunningham, who notched 17 goals in his second season with the team. With key players from last season returning for the 2010 season including David Ferreira, Heath Pearce and Dax McCarty, FC Dallas are ready to start the MLS campaign and their quest for a playoff berth.

In their first two seasons, the Houston Dynamo won back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 2006-07. Led by head coach Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo have also finished first (2008) and tied for first (2009) in the Western Conference in the last two seasons and represented the United States consistently in international competition.

The New York Red Bulls look to get off to a flying start in 2010, opening their brand new stadium, Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, N.J. this March. On the field, the Red Bulls are led by 2007 MLS Most Valuable Player finalist, Juan Pablo Angel, as well as new Coach Hans Backe. The Red Bulls look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs and advance to the MLS Cup Final as they did in 2008.

Toronto FC begins their fourth season in MLS with hopes of reaching the post-season for the first time. Playing in the Eastern Conference, the League's lone Canadian club finished with 39 points in 2009 and 10 wins, their best showing since their inception. With their new Coach, Preki, a strong nucleus of players led by two-time MLS Cup MVP Dwayne De Rosario, and a new grass pitch at their home BMO Field, Toronto FC is hoping for big things in 2010.

"Bringing four Major League Soccer teams to Central Florida to play in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic is very exciting and a big win for all of our local soccer players, fans, parents and spectators," said Disney Sports Area Manager Patrick Dicks. "ESPN The Weekend is serving as a major platform for these teams to prepare for the upcoming season and we are proud to have them be a part of this re-branding weekend."

Disney Sports plays host to some of the top youth soccer tournaments worldwide. Disney's Soccer Showcase is one of the largest and most elite recruiting tournaments in the country, pulling in over 500 boys and girls youth soccer teams that compete for both medals and collegiate scholarships. The Disney Cup International is one of the premier international youth soccer tournaments in the world and since 1999 has brought in teams from more than 20 countries.

Opened in 1997, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a premier multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States and has recently undergone changes to incorporate signature ESPN elements, ultimately taking the sports experience to the next level. High-definition video cameras, along with high-definition video screens and two Jumbotrons, have been added throughout the complex. Game highlights and action will be broadcast across the complex, in all Walt Disney World Resort rooms and will also feed into a new state-of-the-art digital center with a direct uplink to ESPN in Bristol, CT.

Daily tickets to the Disney Pro Soccer Classic will include admission to the complex for both games and entrance to ESPN The Weekend events that are taking place at the complex. Tickets can be bought on-site at the complex box office or through ticketmaster. For a full list of ESPN The Weekend events and ticket packages, visit www.disneysports.com and www.espntheweekend.com.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Opened in 1997 at Walt Disney World Resort, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States, hosting more than 250 events each year, and accommodating 60 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. In 2008, ESPN and Disney partnered to incorporate signature ESPN elements and re-imagine the complex, ultimately taking the sports experience to the next level. On Feb. 25, 2010 the ESPN Wide World of Sports will re-open with more than 44 high-definition and robotic video cameras, plus 10 handheld cameras, and 40 high-definition video screens, including two Jumbotrons placed throughout the complex. Game highlights and action from the complex will be fed into a new 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art digital center with eight edit bays and a direct uplink to ESPN in Bristol, CT.

The sprawling 220-acre state-of-the-art complex features the Milk House, a 165,000-square-foot field house which seats 5,500 for basketball; the 9,500-seat Champion Stadium ballpark; the Hess Sports Fields, which include multiple baseball, softball and soccer fields; and the Jostens Center, an 80,000 square foot multi-sport field house. In addition, the complex has 11 tennis courts, including a stadium court, and a track and field complex. The complex is home to the Major League Baseball Atlanta Braves spring training, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, Chelsea Football Club events, the Special Olympics Florida Summer Games and AAU National Championship events, among others. Please visit www.disneysports.com for more information and follow us on Twitter @DisneySports.

ESPN The Weekend

ESPN The Weekend presented by Dick's Sporting Goods is a one-of-a-kind experience for sports fans of all ages. Visit Disney's Hollywood Studios and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to get up-close and personal with star athletes and ESPN personalities. Take your best shot at the Interactive Sports Zone and catch live telecasts of Mike & Mike in the Morning, NFL Live, Baseball Tonight and more. For a schedule of events please visit www.espntheweekend.com.

January 7, 2010

Walt Disney World Full and Half Marathon Weekend

Runners get the unique chance to high-five favorite Disney characters during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. About 50,000 athletes are anticipated for the weekend's race events. The four-day "weekend" (Jan. 7-10, 2010) includes a Health and Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a 5K "Fun Run" at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, Kids' Races at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the event's two signature races -- the Disney Half Marathon and Disney Full Marathon. Also featured -- Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, for runners who challenge themselves to complete both the Half Marathon and the Full Marathon on consecutive days.

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November 17, 2009

Disney Raises the Curtain on Rebranding Efforts at Disney’s Wide World of Sports

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 5, 2009 -- Glimpsing into the future, Walt Disney World Resort today provided new details about ongoing efforts to re-imagine Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex with the ESPN brand.

With an expected grand re-opening on February 25, several signature ESPN elements will be added throughout the 220-acre facility, providing new entertainment and immersive experiences for guests and athletes. As part of the plan to take youth sports to a new level, the soon-to-be named ESPN Wide World of Sports will include:

* 20 video screens, including two JumboTrons that will include customized videos, highlight reels featuring the daily competitions and interviews involving ESPN sports personalities.

* A new 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art broadcast center with eight edit bays and a direct uplink to ESPN in Bristol, Conn.

* A new ESPN Innovation Lab facility where the ESPN Emerging Technology Group will develop ground-breaking on-air products and test them with the hundreds of sports events and athletes at the complex.

* A redesigned and renamed ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill, a sports-themed eatery with high-definition TV screens and live radio remote capabilities.

* Complex-wide audio system.

"The collaborative re-branding of Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex with ESPN is part of an aggressive growth strategy for our sports business aimed at leveraging the power of sports with the leisure travel business," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises.

By aligning the world's No. 1 family vacation destination with the worldwide leader in sports, Walt Disney World Resort and ESPN will create an entertaining and immersive experience for the nearly 2 million athletes, coaches and spectators who come through the Disney sports complex each year.

October 17, 2009

High-Tech Lab Provides Opportunity to Develop Progressive On-Air Elements for Fans

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Oct. 16, 2009) -- The ESPN Innovation Lab officially opened today at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The Innovation Lab provides ESPN a real-world testing ground to continue developing new ground-breaking on-air products.

"The ESPN Innovation Lab is an extension of ESPN's commitment to being a leader in technology," said Chuck Pagano, executive vice president, technology, ESPN. "This cutting-edge production house will foster creativity and the development of new tools to provide fans the best on-air coverage of sporting events."

The mission of ESPN's state-of-the-art facility is to enhance the viewer's experience by utilizing the world-class playing fields and the 250,000 youth and pro athletes who use them annually to develop new products during actual game conditions. This working research facility will also be open at certain times of the year for visitors to view the company's emerging-technology staff at work and get a sneak peak at upcoming technological advancements.

This past summer, the lab produced two innovative production elements, Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. Ball Track is a Doppler radar hit-tracking system that has the ability to track home runs showing the distance and height of the ball in-flight, updating continuously during the ball's flight. It debuted on the 2009 "MLB Home Run Derby" telecast on July 13. ESPN Snap Zoom debuted on "Monday Night Football" on Sept. 28 and is a freeze-frame technology that brings the fan closer to the play by zooming in an area of interest and providing insight to a current action on the field, thus giving the viewer a different view on a particular focus of play.

The ESPN Innovation Lab is the first major piece of a re-imagining project involving ESPN and the Disney sports complex, which is already the leading multi-sport venue in the nation. The project aims to create an immersive and entertaining sports experience for athletes, coaches and fans by incorporating the signature elements of ESPN in ways that will connect athletes and coaches with their favorite ESPN programs, personalities and elements. The project is expected to be completed early next year and will provide a one-of-a-kind experience that athletes, coaches and fans can't get anywhere else except Walt Disney World Resort.

"The versatility of the complex and the enormous diversity of sports events we have there make it the perfect place for ESPN or any company to develop and test their latest product innovations," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "We are thrilled to provide our athletes and coaches with the opportunity to potentially be a part of the development of ESPN's newest and most exciting on-air products. It's just one of the many ways this ESPN re-imagining project will help take our youth sports experience to a new level."

The Disney sports complex has hosted more than 200 annual events in 60 different sports involving athletes from more than 70 countries since opening in 1997. Among those events are the Atlanta Braves spring training season, Chelsea Football Club events, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, AAU National Championships, Varsity All-Star Cheerleading competitions, USSSA events, ESPN RISE Games, Old Spice Classic and the Walt Disney World Marathon, one of the top marathons in the nation. ESPN televised 20 sporting events from the complex in the last year. Walt Disney World Resort and ESPN also annually work together to host the popular ESPN The Weekend event at Disney's Hollywood Studios. To download photos of Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, please visit http://photos.wdwnews.com/espn/

Did you know?

· ESPN's Active Player Tracking for the Arena Football League was first tested at the Wide World of Sports. The technology debuted during the 2007 Arena Football season but has also been implemented at the Summer X Games enabling ESPN to capture heights achieved by athletes in the BMX and Big Air event which are then displayed on the ESPN "Huck-o-Meter."

· The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex was the testing bed for ESPN's Ball Track technology that debuted at the 2009 MLB Home Run Derby. This was the first time that radar had been utilized to track a baseball in real-time in a broadcast environment.

· At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, ESPN has access to 16 baseball fields, 25 football/soccer fields, two indoor basketball arenas, one baseball stadium and four tennis courts for real-world testing. Just a short distance from the facility there are lakes and golf courses also used in testing scenarios. Over the past three years, ESPN has taken full advantage of these facilities testing technologies for tennis, golf, baseball, basketball, football and even BASS fishing.

· The Emmy-winning EA Virtual Playbook was first tested at ESPN Wide World of Sports during the summer of 2008 in preparation of the 2008-09 NFL season. Its overwhelming success led the team to develop an NBA version utilized during the 2009 NBA playoffs.

About ESPN Technology:
ESPN Technology develops the ideas and applications that bring the fan closer to the game with new, innovative production enhancements. ESPN's technology team designed and supports two of the most technologically advanced production centers in the world, the Digital Center in Bristol, Conn., and the Los Angeles Production Center which is the first 1080p capable production facility. In addition, the Emerging Technology Group has developed many on-air advancements over the past 30 years, including virtual graphics applications, "Huck-O-Meter," and the Emmy-winning EA Virtual Playbook.

May 25, 2009

Walt Disney World Marathon News

NOTE: Registration for Goofy's Race and Half Challenge is reopened due to unprecedented demand and increased Half Marathon course capacity for 2010. Come celebrate the 5th anniversary of Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge with 7500 of your closest friends!

Ever thought you could run the Disney Marathon? How about in three minutes or less? Take a tour of the Walt Disney World Marathon from start to finish. See the sights, sounds and entertainment along the way on this 26.2 mile magical journey through all four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot) in just three minutes.

May 3, 2009

Disney Endurance Series' Fall Lineup

The Disney Endurance Series' fall lineup offers a full slate of new immersive features for guests including never-before-seen medals, new road races and exclusive post-race parties. Runners registering for Disney's Race for the Taste 10K and either the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K or the Expedition Everest Challenge presented by Champion will receive a bonus medal.

Finishers of two fall races to earn one-of-a-kind medal; events to feature expanded race options; registration now open


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 29, 2009) - Disney Sports is creating a one-of-a-kind bonus medal for runners who complete the Fall Race Challenge, competing in two of Disney's three fall endurance events at Walt Disney World Resort. Runners that record an official time for Disney's Race for the Taste 10K and either the Expedition Everest Challenge presented by Champion or The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K will receive the bonus medal in addition to individual race medals - a total of three race medals for running two races. Registration for all three fall events is now open.

"Disney is dedicated to providing guests with new, interactive features to make their race experience more fun, more exciting and more memorable," says Disney Endurance Series Director Kathleen Duran. "We are always looking for new ways to differentiate our Disney events by creating unique, immersive experiences."

Disney's fall lineup includes expanded race options. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13k event will feature a 5k and an exclusive post-race party. Disney's Race for the Taste 10k event will include a new 3k race designed for casual runners and those looking to compete in their first endurance event.

The Disney Endurance Series fall lineup includes:

Expedition Everest Challenge presented by Champion (Sept. 26, 2009): This second-year event is the first urban adventure race in Disney's Endurance Series. The two-person team competition features a 5k, scavenger hunt and an obstacle course designed to challenge runners physically and mentally. There is an exclusive post-race party at Disney's Animal Kingdom for the finishers. A portion of all entry fees will benefit the Himalayan Youth Foundation and Disney's Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Disney's Race for the Taste 10K (Oct. 11, 2009): This race takes runners through Disney's Hollywood Studios and around the 11 pavilions of Epcot World Showcase. Guests have access to a post-race picnic that includes food samples from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, live Disney entertainment, music, games and face painters.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K (Oct. 24, 2009): This road race returns for its third year and the journey includes a haunting course through the vacant streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios. The event includes an exclusive post-race party with family and friends.

To register for these and more Disney Endurance Series events including the Walt Disney World Marathon (Jan. 7-10, 2010), visit disneyenduranceseries.com.

About Disney's Endurance Series
Disney's Endurance Series gives recreational athletes of all ages and abilities the chance to walk, jog, run, bike and swim their way "around the world." From marathons to road races to triathlons, athletes from across the country and around the world compete to stay in shape, achieve personal-best times and raise donations for charitable causes. Popular Endurance Series events include the Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon (January), Disney's Princess Half Marathon (March) and the Disneyland Half Marathon (September).

March 28, 2009

A PERFECT 10: Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes meets 1999 National League MVP Chipper Jones

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A PERFECT 10: Mickey Mouse warms up with Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes (left) and 1999 National League MVP Chipper Jones (right) as they exchange their #10 jerseys and autographs March 27, 2009 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Jones, who plays third base for the Atlanta Braves, is currently playing at the complex's Champion Stadium during the Braves' Spring Training season. Holmes, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is training with several of his teammates on the complex's football fields in preparation for the upcoming 2009 NFL season. (Diana Zalucky, photographer)

March 9, 2009

Liza Galvan’s Victory at Princess Half Marathon Caps Three-Day Celebration of Women’s Health and Fitness

Over 11,000 runners participate in one of largest endurance race weekends geared towards women

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - (Mar. 8, 2009) - In a perfect end to a fairytale weekend, Liza Galvan of San Antonio, Tex., led over 7,500 women runners from around the world to victory at Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Galvan, 39, battled second-place finisher Nadezhda Tuptova for most of the 13.1 mile race through Magic Kingdom and Epcot before cruising to the finish line in 1:18:18. Tuptova (Gainesville, Fla.), 33, crossed the line in a time of 1:19:24. Firaya Sultanova, 47, also from Gainesville, Fla., posted a time of 1:20:26 to finish third.

In the Masters Division, Lilian Kroner (Monroe, N.Y.), 43, won in a time of 1:22:25 - besting the next competitor by nearly four minutes. Jacqui Kapinowski from Point Pleasant, N.J. crossed the finish line in a time of 1:22:26 to win the wheelchair division.

Disney's Princess Half Marathon was the signature event that saw more than 11,000 women runners compete in various races that included the Royal Family 5K and the Princess Kids' Races, making the inaugural event one of the largest endurance race weekends geared towards women.

The weekend also involved a health and wellness expo that included renowned fitness experts leading seminars on training, racing and nutrition, and the latest running and fitness equipment. Participants and their guests experienced Princess meet and greets, a makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a Princess-themed after party at Disney's Hollywood Studios with live entertainment and a special gift at the stroke of midnight. While the weekend is designed for women, more than 200 men participated on behalf of the women in their lives.

About Disney's Endurance Series
Disney's Endurance Series gives recreational athletes of all ages and abilities the chance to walk, jog, run, bike and swim their way "around the world." From marathons to road races to triathlons, athletes from across the country and around the world compete to stay in shape, achieve personal-best times and raise donations for charitable causes. Popular Endurance Series events are the Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon (January), Expedition Everest Challenge (September), Disneyland Half Marathon (September), Disney's Race for the Taste 10K (October) and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K (October). Visit disneyenduranceseries.com for more information.

March 2, 2009

Disney Makes Fan Experience a Whole New Ballgame During Braves Spring Training Season

Special viewing areas, concerts, all-you-can-eat options and expanded Disney character appearances among features aimed at creating more immersive experience for spectators

LAKE BUENA VISTA- (Feb. 19, 2009) - Fans attending Atlanta Braves spring training games this year at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex have the opportunity to customize their experience with a variety of new immersive features created specifically for spectators.

Among the features at Disney:

· On-Field Spectator Experience ($75 per person): Sponsored by Kodak, this option allows a limited number of fans to watch pre-game batting practice and warm-ups on the field in an area behind home plate. Fans purchasing this option will also receive a free disposable Kodak camera.

· House of Blues Entertainment (Free): Special pre-game and in-game concerts in the ballpark featuring blues musicians Ruth King and Jeff Coffee at select games.

· All-You-Can-Eat Buffet ($18.95 per person): Designated patio along the third base side that features all-you-can-eat hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, peanuts, soda and bottled water.\

· Disney Character Appearances: A classic Disney character will be on hand at all 18 home games. Characters will accompany first-pitch contestants to the mound.

· Music-Themed Games: Six games will be themed with music from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as Latin music.

Additional fan features include trivia contests and several promotional nights, all designed to give fans a baseball spring training experience they can't get anywhere else.

"With these new guest enhancement options, fans will have the ability to immerse themselves in Braves spring training like never before, creating a customizable experience at an affordable price that can bring them closer to their favorite players and enhance their overall spring training experience at Disney," said Faron Kelley, director of Marketing and Communications for Disney Sports. "We think these fan options, coupled with the Braves' extraordinary spring schedule that includes the Yankees, Red Sox and reigning World Series champion Phillies, will make this year's spring training season one of the best ever for fans attending the games."

The 12th edition of Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney features the best schedule ever at Champion Stadium including games against the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, the Boston Red Sox and two World Baseball Classic exhibitions against Venezuela and Panama. The Braves open the spring season Feb. 26 against the Houston Astros.

Individual game tickets range from $15 (general admission lawn seats) to $28 (lower reserved); please add $4 per ticket for Premium Games (Yankees, Mets and Red Sox). Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster (407/839-3900 and ticketmaster.com) and at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex box office.

Information on the Braves' spring training season, group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at disneysports.com. Fans may also purchase Atlanta Braves Spring Training travel packages through Spring Training USA. Travel packages include Braves game tickets, accommodations at Walt Disney World Resort and other benefits. Information is available online at springtrainingtours.com.

2009 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule
At Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex

Game Date Opponent Time
Thursday, Feb. 26 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 1 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3 World Baseball Classic Exb. 1:05 p.m.
Wed., March 4 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Thurs., March 5 World Baseball Classic Exb. 2:05 p.m.
Friday, March 6 Houston Astros 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 Washington Nationals 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 15 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 19 Detroit Tigers 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 20 Florida Marlins 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 21 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 24 Pittsburgh Pirates 6:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 26 Toronto Blue Jays 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 27 Detroit Tigers 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 28 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 30 Boston Red Sox 1:05 p.m.

All times are Eastern and are subject to change.
All games to be played at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training Ticket Prices:

Seat Location Season Individual Game
Lower Level Reserved $425 $28
Upper Level Reserved (Rows A-L) $340 $24
Upper Level Reserved (Rows M-W) $323 $22
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 104-106) $340 $24
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 101-103) $323 $22
Grass Berm - General Admission $255 $15

(Add $4 per ticket for Premium Games: Yankees, Mets and Red Sox).

Five-Game Mini-Plan includes tickets to: Nationals (3/12), Astros (3/15), Mets (3/17), Marlins (3/20) and Yankees (3/28) games for $128 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

First Half Three-Game Mini-Pack includes tickets to: Phillies (3/1), Yankees (3/4) and Astros (3/6) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Second Half Three-Game Mini-Pack includes tickets to: Pirates (3/24), Tigers (3/27) and Red Sox (3/30) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Single-Game Tickets: Ticketmaster - 407/839-3900, www.ticketmaster.com or DWWS box office

Season and Group Tickets/Suites/Mini-Packs: DWWS Sports Sales - 407/939-GAME (4263)

February 24, 2009

Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney's Wide World of Sports

The Atlanta Braves report to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for baseball spring training. The On-Field Spectator Experience is one of several new immersive options for fans attending the games. A few baseball fans - including Goofy - have fun snapping photos of all the action.

January 27, 2009

Florida State Completes Stellar Field for 2009 Old Spice Classic

January 19, 2009

ESPN Regional Television, Inc. (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today the complete field for the 2009 Old Spice Classic, to be held Thanksgiving weekend at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports® Complex near Orlando, Fla.

Florida State rounds out the eight-team field for the fourth annual Old Spice Classic. The other teams, announced previously: Alabama, No. 21 Baylor, Creighton, Iona, No. 14 Marquette, No. 24 Michigan and No. 16 Xavier. Florida State received votes last week in The Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Three of the seven teams announced reached the 2007-08 NCAA Tournament: Xavier, Baylor, Marquette. Xavier advanced to the Elite Eight. Creighton and Florida State participated in the National Invitation Tournament.

The 2009 Old Spice Classic, a bracket-format tournament, will feature 12 games in three days, Nov. 26, 27 and 29. Sponsors include Old Spice, ESPNU and Disney's Wide World of Sports. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) will serve as the event's sponsoring conference for the fourth straight year.

Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match Sunday, Nov. 29.

The tournament is a weekend-long affair at the Walt Disney World Resort, and participating teams are invited to the Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks and other event functions.

Last November at the Milk House, then-No. 10 Gonzaga won the 2008 Old Spice Classic with an 83-74 victory over then-No. 12 Tennessee in the championship game. Previous winners were North Carolina State in 2007 and Arkansas in 2006.

Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the Old Spice Classic Web site at www.oldspiceclassic.com. For more information on Disney's Wide World of Sports, visit www.disneysports.com.

November 30, 2008

Disney’s Wide World of Sports Unveils 12th Edition of Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Champion Stadium

This year's schedule to offer best lineup of games in 12-year history at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex
Atlanta Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2008) - The Atlanta Braves will host several marquee opponents in 2009, including visits from the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, during the Major League Baseball Spring Training season at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

After two weeks of workouts, the Braves play an 18-game home schedule that includes a number of premier opportunities for fans in 2009, such as World Baseball Classic Exhibition games featuring Panama (March 3) and Venezuela (March 5), and a pair of contests against the Yankees and Mets at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, the leading venue for amateur and professional sports in the country.

One of the highlights of the expanded schedule in 2009 is the Boston Red Sox, who will make just their second trip to Disney's Wide World of Sports on March 30. Atlanta's 18 games at Champion Stadium mark the highest number of single spring home contests for the Braves since the franchise moved to Disney in 1997.

The 26-time world champion New York Yankees return to Champion Stadium for a pair of dates, March 4 and 28, marking the first time the Yankees will play multiple dates at Disney.
Atlanta will host all four of its division rivals, including the pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies on March 1 and 8, as well as the New York Mets, March 17 and 21, Florida Marlins,
March 20 and Washington Nationals, March 12.

The Houston Astros are slated to visit Disney three times during the spring, including the home opener Feb. 26, as well as March 6 and 15.

The 2009 schedule features three night games, including a March 19 contest with Detroit, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates game on March 24 (6 p.m.) and Houston's visit on March 6.

Last season, the Detroit Tigers night game set an all-time record at Champion Stadium with an attendance of 11,606. The Tigers return for a second spring contest on March 27. The Toronto Blue Jays visit Disney's Wide World of Sports March 26.

Each game has fun for the whole family including entertainment in a way that only Disney can, with appearances by Disney characters, live music, an all-new On-Field Spectator Experience and the opportunity for kids to run the bases after every game.

The Braves drew 138,811 during 16 games at Champion Stadium in 2008 - a total that ranked second only to the New York Yankees among the 18 Major League Baseball teams who trained in Florida as part of the Grapefruit League.

Braves pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14, marking the beginning of the 12th year the Braves have come to Walt Disney World Resort for spring training. Position players arrive Feb. 17, with the first full-squad workouts on Feb. 18.

Individual game tickets for the Braves' home spring training season go on sale Saturday, Jan. 10, at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster (407/839-3900 and ticketmaster.com) and at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex box office. Prices range from $15 (general admission lawn seats) to $28 (lower reserved); please add $4 per ticket for Premium Games (Yankees, Mets and Red Sox).

Information on the Braves' spring training season, group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at disneysports.com. The popular mini-packs will include both three-game and five-game options in 2009 and are currently on sale, giving fans their first opportunity to purchase tickets to specific games on the Braves' 2009 spring training schedule. Fans may also purchase Atlanta Braves Spring Training travel packages through Spring Training USA. Travel packages include Braves game tickets, accommodations at Walt Disney World Resort and other benefits. Information is available online at springtrainingtours.com.


2009 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule
At Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex
Key Dates:
Saturday, Jan. 10 Single-game tickets on sale
Thursday, Feb. 14 Pitchers and catchers report
Friday, Feb. 15 Pitchers and catchers first workout
Tuesday, Feb. 17 Position players report
Wednesday, Feb. 18 First full-squad workout


Game Date Opponent Time
Thursday, Feb. 26 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 1 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3 World Baseball Classic Exb. (Panama) 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 5 World Baseball Classic Exb. (Venezuela) 2:05 p.m.
Friday, March 6 Houston Astros 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 Washington Nationals 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 15 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 19 Detroit Tigers 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 20 Florida Marlins 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 21 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 24 Pittsburgh Pirates 6:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 26 Toronto Blue Jays 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 27 Detroit Tigers 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 28 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 30 Boston Red Sox 1:05 p.m.

All times are Eastern and are subject to change.
All games to be played at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training Ticket Prices:

Seat Location Season ndividual Game
Lower Level Reserved $425 $28
Upper Level Reserved (Rows A-L) $340 $24
Upper Level Reserved (Rows M-W) $323 $22
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 104-106) $340 $24
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 101-103) $323 $22
Grass Berm - General Admission $255 $15

(Add $4 per ticket for Premium Games: Yankees, Mets and Red Sox).

Five-Game Mini-Plan includes tickets to: Nationals (3/12), Astros (3/15), Mets (3/17), Marlins (3/20) and Yankees (3/28) games for $128(upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

First Half Three-Game Mini-Packincludes tickets to: Phillies (3/1), Yankees (3/4) and Astros (3/6) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Second Half Three-Game Mini Pack includes tickets to: Pirates (3/24), Tigers (3/27) and Red Sox (3/30) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Single-Game Tickets: Ticketmaster - 407/839-3900, www.ticketmaster.com or DWWS box office

Season and Group Tickets/Suites/Mini-Packs: DWWS Sports Sales - 407/939-GAME (4263)

November 22, 2008

12th Edition of Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Champion Stadium

This year's schedule to offer best lineup of games in 12-year history
at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2008) - The Atlanta Braves will host several marquee opponents in 2009, including visits from the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, during the Major League Baseball Spring Training season at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

After two weeks of workouts, the Braves play an 18-game home schedule that includes a number of premier opportunities for fans in 2009, such as World Baseball Classic Exhibition games featuring Panama (March 3) and Venezuela (March 5), and a pair of contests against the Yankees and Mets at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, the leading venue for amateur and professional sports in the country.

One of the highlights of the expanded schedule in 2009 is the Boston Red Sox, who will make just their second trip to Disney's Wide World of Sports on March 30. Atlanta's 18 games at Champion Stadium mark the highest number of single spring home contests for the Braves since the franchise moved to Disney in 1997.
The 26-time world champion New York Yankees return to Champion Stadium for a pair of dates, March 4 and 28, marking the first time the Yankees will play multiple dates at Disney.

Atlanta will host all four of its division rivals, including the pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies on March 1 and 8, as well as the New York Mets, March 17 and 21, Florida Marlins, March 20 and Washington Nationals, March 12.

The Houston Astros are slated to visit Disney three times during the spring, including the home opener Feb. 26, as well as March 6 and 15.

The 2009 schedule features three night games, including a March 19 contest with Detroit, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates game on March 24 (6 p.m.) and Houston's visit on March 6.

Last season, the Detroit Tigers night game set an all-time record at Champion Stadium with an attendance of 11,606. The Tigers return for a second spring contest on March 27. The Toronto Blue Jays visit Disney's Wide World of Sports March 26.

Each game has fun for the whole family including entertainment in a way that only Disney can, with appearances by Disney characters, live music, an all-new On-Field Spectator Experience and the opportunity for kids to run the bases after every game.

The Braves drew 138,811 during 16 games at Champion Stadium in 2008 - a total that ranked second only to the New York Yankees among the 18 Major League Baseball teams who trained in Florida as part of the Grapefruit League.

Braves pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14, marking the beginning of the 12th year the Braves have come to Walt Disney World Resort for spring training. Position players arrive Feb. 17, with the first full-squad workouts on Feb. 18.

Individual game tickets for the Braves' home spring training season go on sale Saturday, Jan. 10, at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster (407/839-3900 and ticketmaster.com) and at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex box office. Prices range from $15 (general admission lawn seats) to $28 (lower reserved); please add $4 per ticket for Premium Games (Yankees, Mets and Red Sox).

Information on the Braves' spring training season, group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at disneysports.com. The popular mini-packs will include both three-game and five-game options in 2009 and are currently on sale, giving fans their first opportunity to purchase tickets to specific games on the Braves' 2009 spring training schedule. Fans may also purchase Atlanta Braves Spring Training travel packages through Spring Training USA. Travel packages include Braves game tickets, accommodations at Walt Disney World Resort and other benefits. Information is available online at springtrainingtours.com.

About Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex

Opened in 1997 at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex is a leading sports and entertainment venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States. The sprawling 220-acre state-of-the-art complex features The Milk House, a 165,000-square-foot field house which seats 5,500 for basketball; the 9,500-seat Champion Stadium ballpark; Hess Sports Fields, which include multiple baseball, softball and soccer fields; and Jostens Center, an 80,000-square-foot multi-sport field house. In addition, the complex has 11 tennis courts, including a stadium court, and a track & field complex. The complex is home to more than 180 amateur and professional sports and entertainment events each year, including the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, the Major League Baseball Atlanta Braves spring training, a Tampa Bay Rays regular-season series, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, Chelsea Football Club events, the Special Olympics Florida Summer Games and the AAU National Championship events. Please visit disneysports.com for more information.


2009 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule
at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex

Key Dates:
Saturday, Jan. 10 Single-game tickets on sale
Thursday, Feb. 14 Pitchers and catchers report
Friday, Feb. 15 Pitchers and catchers first workout
Tuesday, Feb. 17 Position players report
Wednesday, Feb. 18 First full-squad workout


Game Date Opponent Time
Thursday, Feb. 26 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 1 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3 World Baseball Classic Exb. (Panama) 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 5 World Baseball Classic Exb. (Venezuela) 2:05 p.m.
Friday, March 6 Houston Astros 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 Washington Nationals 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 15 Houston Astros 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 19 Detroit Tigers 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 20 Florida Marlins 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 21 New York Mets 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 24 Pittsburgh Pirates 6:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 26 Toronto Blue Jays 1:05 p.m.
Friday, March 27 Detroit Tigers 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 28 New York Yankees 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 30 Boston Red Sox 1:05 p.m.

All times are Eastern and are subject to change.
All games to be played at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training Ticket Prices:

Seat Location Season ndividual Game
Lower Level Reserved $425 $28
Upper Level Reserved (Rows A-L) $340 $24
Upper Level Reserved (Rows M-W) $323 $22
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 104-106) $340 $24
Bleacher Reserved (Sections 101-103) $323 $22
Grass Berm - General Admission $255 $15

(Add $4 per ticket for Premium Games: Yankees, Mets and Red Sox).

Five-Game Mini-Plan includes tickets to: Nationals (3/12), Astros (3/15), Mets (3/17), Marlins (3/20) and Yankees (3/28) games for $128(upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

First Half Three-Game Mini-Packincludes tickets to: Phillies (3/1), Yankees (3/4) and Astros (3/6) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Second Half Three-Game Mini Pack includes tickets to: Pirates (3/24), Tigers (3/27) and Red Sox (3/30) games for $76 (upper reserved, rows A-L, or bleacher reserved sections 104-106 - on sale now)

Single-Game Tickets: Ticketmaster - 407/839-3900, www.ticketmaster.com or DWWS box office

Season and Group Tickets/Suites/Mini-Packs: DWWS Sports Sales - 407/939-GAME (4263)

October 7, 2008

Disney Outlines Growth Strategy for Sports Business

Changes to benefit guests, the community and business

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - With the sports tourism industry expanding by $200 million last year, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex outlined plans to further grow its business and bring new visitors to Central Florida.

The strategy includes plans to expand facilities, enhance existing events, diversify the Complex's events portfolio and create more one-of-a-kind, immersive sports experiences that only Disney can provide.

Expansion plans for the complex reflect a nationwide trend in which more youth are participating in sports and are willing to travel longer distances for competition. Last year in the United States, the sports tourism industry grew from $700 million to $900 million, with an overall economic impact of $6.1 billion.

"Our goal is to be recognized as the pre-eminent multi-sports venue for amateur and professional sports and create events that benefit guests, the community and business," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "Each year, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex draws more than a million spectators who might not otherwise visit Central Florida, resulting in a significant economic benefit to our region."

At the center of the complex's growth strategy are plans announced earlier this year to re-brand Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex as ESPN Wide World of Sports, aligning the world's No. 1 family vacation destination with the worldwide leader in sports.

"Through the collaboration of two powerful brands we will be able to help make the ultimate sports dreams come true for young athletes and further establish the Wide World of Sports Complex as the place to compete and watch sports," said Potrock. "Athletes will be able to compete and train on world-class fields and courts and be immersed in an experience that only Disney and ESPN can provide.'

Creative teams are still in the early stages of working together to bring this experience to life. Initial concepts involve incorporating many signature elements of ESPN, such as sports programming, sports events, breaking news, on-air talent and sports celebrities to complement the event management and renowned hospitality already evident at the Sports Complex.

As part of this commitment to growth, Potrock announced that Disney Sports and ESPNare creating a week-long, multi-sport event planned for July 2009 that will feature some of the top high school athletes in the country. The ESPN RISE Sports Festival, scheduled for July 18 to 25, will involve more than 2,000 young athletes, many of whom are among the most heavily recruited in the nation, competing in six sports - softball, baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse and track & field - at the Wide World of Sports Complex. The competition will be televised live on ESPNU and other ESPN Web outlets.

This growing demand in sports tourism has prompted expansion plans throughout the Sports Complex, including several announcements this year.

-- Earlier this summer, the sports complex opened Jostens Center, a new state-of-the-art field house that will enable Disney to accommodate twice as many indoor sports events each year such as basketball, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading as well as other competitions.

-- In June, the complex announced plans to partner with Osceola County and the Central Florida Sports Commission to bring 13 United States Bowling Congress tournaments to Osceola County - each of which could bring 70,000 to 85,000 athletes and spectators to Central Florida. As part of this agreement, Disney will make land available for a new 100-lane bowling center that is large enough to accommodate the tournaments.

-- In December 2007, the sports complex debuted additional outdoor playing fields for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey competitions.

Each year, the Disney sports complex stages more than 180 events. Since its inception, the complex has hosted athletes from more than 70 countries involved in more than 50 different sports. "A majority of the athletes and spectators who compete in a Disney sports event are first-time visitors to Disney," said Potrock. "In fact, roughly 85 percent of these guests would not have come to Disney if it weren't for an event at our sports complex, and many of them, particularly coaches, are repeat visitors."

For example, one of the largest events is the Walt Disney World Marathon, which draws nearly 80,000 runners and spectators to Central Florida annually, making the event the largest sports event in Central Florida and on-par with some of the area's largest conventions. In addition, an overwhelming majority - nearly 90 percent of Marathon and Half-Marathon participants - travel from outside of CentralFlorida, which has an economic ripple on area hotels, restaurants, retailers and more.

Since Disney opened the sports complex in 1997, nearly 2 million athletes and enthusiasts have competed at the venue including many of the biggest names in amateur and professional sports, such as Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Mia Hamm, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Serena Williams, Shaquille O'Neal and Pete Sampras, among others. In one year alone, Disney's competition schedule includes more than:

-- 3,000 basketball games
-- 2,400 softball games
-- 1,800 baseball games
-- 3,900 soccer matches

The Wide World of Sports also hosts the Atlanta Braves spring training season, a Tampa Bay Rays regular-season series, the Major League Baseball Draft, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, Chelsea Football Club-sponsored events, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, Amateur Athletic Union National Championships, Varsity All-Star Cheerleading competitions and USSSA events. ESPN televised 20 sporting events from the complex in the last year. Walt Disney World Resort and ESPN also annually work together to host the popular ESPN The Weekend event at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

September 24, 2008

Disney Outlines Growth Strategy For Sports Business

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Sept. 24, 2008 - With the sports tourism industry expanding by $200 million last year, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex today outlined plans to further grow its business and bring new visitors to Central Florida.

Disney's Wide World of Sports

The strategy includes plans to expand facilities, enhance existing events, diversify the Complex's events portfolio and create more one-of-a-kind, immersive sports experiences that only Disney can provide.

Expansion plans for the complex reflect a nationwide trend in which more youth are participating in sports and are willing to travel longer distances for competition. Last year in the United States, the sports tourism industry grew from $700 million to $900 million, with an overall economic impact of $6.1 billion.

"Our goal is to be recognized as the pre-eminent multi-sports venue for amateur and professional sports and create events that benefit guests, the community and business," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. "Each year, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex draws more than a million spectators who might not otherwise visit Central Florida, resulting in a significant economic benefit to our region."

At the center of the complex's growth strategy are plans announced earlier this year to re-brand Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex as ESPN Wide World of Sports, aligning the world's No. 1 family vacation destination with the worldwide leader in sports.

"Through the collaboration of two powerful brands we will be able to help make the ultimate sports dreams come true for young athletes and further establish the Wide World of Sports Complex as the place to compete and watch sports," said Potrock. "Athletes will be able to compete and train on world-class fields and courts and be immersed in an experience that only Disney and ESPN can provide.'

Creative teams are still in the early stages of working together to bring this experience to life. Initial concepts involve incorporating many signature elements of ESPN, such as sports programming, sports events, breaking news, on-air talent and sports celebrities to complement the event management and renowned hospitality already evident at the Sports Complex.

As part of this commitment to growth, Potrock today announced that Disney Sports and ESPN are creating a week-long, multi-sport event planned for July 2009 that will feature some of the top high school athletes in the country. The ESPN RISE Sports Festival, scheduled for July 18 to 25, will involve more than 2,000 young athletes, many of whom are among the most heavily recruited in the nation, competing in six sports - softball, baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse and track & field - at the Wide World of Sports Complex. The competition will be televised live on ESPNU and other ESPN Web outlets.

This growing demand in sports tourism has prompted expansion plans throughout the Sports Complex, including several announcements this year.

Earlier this summer, the sports complex opened Jostens Center, a new state-of-the-art field house that will enable Disney to accommodate twice as many indoor sports events each year such as basketball, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading as well as other competitions.

In June, the complex announced plans to partner with Osceola County and the Central Florida Sports Commission to bring 13 United States Bowling Congress tournaments to Osceola County - each of which could bring 70,000 to 85,000 athletes and spectators to Central Florida. As part of this agreement, Disney will make land available for a new 100-lane bowling center that is large enough to accommodate the tournaments.

In December 2007, the sports complex debuted additional outdoor playing fields for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey competitions.

Each year, the Disney sports complex stages more than 180 events. Since its inception, the complex has hosted athletes from more than 70 countries involved in more than 50 different sports. "A majority of the athletes and spectators who compete in a Disney sports event are first-time visitors to Disney," said Potrock. "In fact, roughly 85 percent of these guests would not have come to Disney if it weren't for an event at our sports complex, and many of them, particularly coaches, are repeat visitors."

For example, one of the largest events is the Walt Disney World Marathon, which draws nearly 80,000 runners and spectators to Central Florida annually, making the event the largest sports event in Central Florida and on-par with some of the area's largest conventions. In addition, an overwhelming majority -- nearly 90 percent of Marathon and Half-Marathon participants - travel from outside of Central Florida, which has an economic ripple on area hotels, restaurants, retailers and more.

Since Disney opened the sports complex in 1997, nearly 2 million athletes and enthusiasts have competed at the venue including many of the biggest names in amateur and professional sports, such as Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Mia Hamm, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Serena Williams, Shaquille O'Neal and Pete Sampras, among others. In one year alone, Disney's competition schedule includes more than:

3,000 basketball games
2,400 softball games
1,800 baseball games
3,900 soccer matches

The Wide World of Sports also hosts the Atlanta Braves spring training season, a Tampa Bay Rays regular-season series, the Major League Baseball Draft, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, Chelsea Football Club-sponsored events, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, Amateur Athletic Union National Championships, Varsity All-Star Cheerleading competitions and USSSA events. ESPN televised 20 sporting events from the complex in the last year. Walt Disney World Resort and ESPN also annually work together to host the popular ESPN The Weekend event at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

August 28, 2008

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Return to Disney's Wide World of Sports

Disney's Wide World of Sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2008 training camp on the Hess Sports Fields.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Disney's Wide World of Sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers conducted their 2008 training camp on the Hess Sports Fields. This marked the seventh year in a row (2002-08) that the Buccaneers trained at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Head coach Jon Gruden and the Bucs, who have trained at Disney since 2002, hit the Hess Sports Fields during the month of August.

Jon Gruden

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About Disney's Wide World of Sports

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in the Disney's Wide World of Sports category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons is the previous category.

Disneyland Resort is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.