Disney and ESPN alignment cements ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as nation’s premier youth sports venue; Facility offers unparalleled experiences for athletes of all ages and skill levels
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Fueled by the popularity of ESPN and the magic of Disney, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex continues to be revered as the ultimate sports venue for America’s youth athletes. Each year the complex provides hundreds of thousands of young athletes with an extraordinary sports experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
Since the 230-acre sports complex was built in 1997, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has hosted more than a half-million sports events, marking the 500,000th occasion on April 17, 2015 during the Disney Volleyball Showcase.
The monumental event highlighted the rich history of the sports complex, which began with a Braves-Reds spring training baseball game on the opening night in 1997. Over the years, the facility has accommodated more than 60 different sports, more than twice the number of sports scheduled to take place during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Over 3 million athletes, or more than 1.5 times the total population in Florida, and 231,000 teams have competed at the complex during the venue’s life.
Today, the complex hosts more than 100 events per year, including key events such as Atlanta Braves Spring Training, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, the Disney Soccer Showcase, the Drew Brees Passing Academy and 7on7 Tournament, and various AAU National Championship events.
On average, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex attracts more than 330,000 athletes and more than 1.5 million total visitors (athletes, coaches, parents and spectators) each year. Among the largest events is the Disney Soccer Showcase, which draws more than 11,000 athletes and 660 teams over an eight-day span. Disney has also become a prominent recruiting ground for colleges across the nation, as events such as the Disney Field Hockey Showcase attracts upwards of 250 or more college coaches annually to attend the four-day event.
Bringing Popular ESPN Shows & Personalities to Disney
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has become the worldwide leader in ESPN3 content production with more than 600 hours of ESPN3 content in 2014. Beyond ESPN3, youth sports events, such as the Disney Volleyball Showcase in April and Pop Warner Super Bowl in December, have accounted for much of the 2,000-plus broadcast hours on ESPN networks that have originated from the complex. Home to a 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art production center, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has two production studios with eight edit bays and direct uplinks to ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., Los Angeles and New York.
The complex has also hosted some of ESPN’s most recognizable shows and personalities. ESPN hosted one of its 25th-anniversaryMike & Mike shows at Champion Stadium during Braves spring training in March 2015. The network has also televised its popular Baseball Tonight show with personalities Tim Kurkjian, Keith Law, Karl Ravech and Aaron Boone for a week at the sports complex in spring 2015 and staged its popular Fantasy Football Now show at the complex as part of the ESPN Fantasy Football Convention in summer 2014. Convention guests were given unprecedented access to ESPN Fantasy Insiders and on-air personalities, including Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, Mark Schlereth, Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck and Trey Wingo.
Most recently, Heisman Trophy winners Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota joined Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden to film the second consecutive season of Gruden’s QB Camp at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Offering Unprecedented Amenities for Athletes and Their Families
Situated in the heart of the world’s most popular family vacation destination, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort offers families a number of amenities that set the complex apart from any other sports venue.
For select events, athletes have the opportunity to enjoy themselves away from the competition and escape to a private party at one of Disney’s world-class theme parks or water parks. Athletes sometimes have exclusive access to some of the most popular attractions on property and entertainment by a DJ, the sports complex Prize Patrol and the ever-popular Disney characters.
About ESPN Wide World of Sports
ESPN Wide World of Sports, located at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the premier site for amateur sports in the nation. The complex hosts more than 100 entertainment and sports events a year and has accommodated more than 70 different sports and athletes from around the world. Designed to provide youth athletes with an experience synonymous with the names Disney and ESPN, the 225-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including 16 baseball/softball fields, plus the 9,500-seat Champion Stadium, 18 multi-purpose outdoor fields for soccer, football and lacrosse, two field houses (and a third currently under construction) for basketball, volleyball, and other indoor sports, the New Balance Track & Field facility and cross country course, and a tennis court complex with 10 courts. Coming soon, the complex will be home to a brand-new facility specifically designed for cheerleading and dance competitions, currently under construction. ESPN Wide World of Sports also provides coaches and teams with a variety of unique sports solutions, such as special travel packages, fresh ready-made meal options, photography services, customized event merchandise, and post-game celebrations in the Disney Parks. For more information, visit www.disneysportsnews.com for news releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports and at Facebook at ESPNWWOS.