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Thursday, March 30, 2000
ESPN.com hits five-year anniversary


March 30, 2000

ESPN.com, part of GO.com (NYSE:GO), marks its fifth anniversary on April 1, 2000, heralding five years as the most popular sports site on the Internet. The online sports landscape has changed dramatically in the last five years, but one thing has remained constant... more people go to ESPN.com for their daily sports fix than any other site. Through continuous product enhancements and technical innovations, ESPN.com continues to be at the forefront of the industry and is an integral part of sports fans' daily routine. In addition to delivering news, scores and statistics on demand, ESPN.com has deployed innovative technology to pioneer new applications such ESPN GameCast, ScorePost, Batter vs. Pitcher, Sortable Stats, event-driven navigational tabs, and Live Drafts and Head-2-Head competition for its fantasy games.

"We've succeeded in attracting and pleasing a core audience and have even grown our lead over the competition," said John Skipper, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Internet Group (EIG).

"From Day 1, ESPN.com has been all about giving fans unprecedented access to sports, with an emphasis on immediacy and interactivity," says Geoff Reiss, senior vice president, production and operations, EIG. "Marrying ESPN's industry-leading newsgathering ability with the most advanced technology of any sports site has resulted in a site that's led the sports category since our launch."

Some of ESPN.com's major industry milestones:

  • ESPN.com predecessor ESPNET SportsZone is launched (April 1, 1995).

  • Heavyweight boxer Tommy Morrison reveals that he is HIV-positive during an ESPN.com chat (March 1996).

  • ESPN.com becomes first major Internet site to generate revenue from four areas: ad sales, subscription sales, fantasy leagues and merchandise sales through launch of its online store (1996).

  • The exclusive Batter vs. Pitcher application debuts, providing batter performance vs. any pitcher, any team and in any ballpark, including type of hits generated (a single player's data can be viewed in more than 1,000 different ways, May 1996).

  • Former LSU men's basketball coach Dale Brown sets an ESPN.com record with a 4 1/2 hour chat session (March 12, 1997).

  • ESPN GameCast, the site's most ambitious interactive application, debuts for Major League Baseball, and consists of real-time, in-progress statistical and graphical updates (August 20,1997); NBA, NFL, NASCAR Winston Cup and NHL versions follow shortly thereafter.

  • Fantasy Game Live Drafts debut (November 1997).

  • Head-2-Head competition launches for Fantasy Games (October 1998).

  • As part of its X Games coverage, ESPN.com debuts the X Games Raw Webcast and the 360-degree live Webcam, as well as a live televised chat room crawl on late-night ESPN X Games telecasts (June-July 1999).

  • ESPN.com investigative reporter Tom Farrey breaks the story about alleged academic fraud within University of Tennessee's football program (September 26, 1999).

  • ESPN.com users interact with on-air game analysts and Avalanche and Blackhawk players during Colorado-Chicago ESPN2 NHL telecast, marking the first time fans have interacted with players and analysts during a game, in any sport or medium (January 9, 2000).

  • The Tournament Challenge Presented by Pizza Hut and Courtyard by Marriott, the largest contest on the Internet since its inception in 1996, attracts 570,000 players.

    Reach and Traffic
  • EIG's combined home/work reach of 8.1 million unique users is greater than that of SportsLine USA and CNNSI.com combined (Media Metrix, January 2000).

  • On Monday, March 13, 2000, the day after the NCAA basketball tournament brackets were announced, EIG registered 42.4 million page views and 4.7 million visits (internal log files).

    ESPN.com is part of GO.com (NYSE:GO), the Internet business of The Walt Disney Company. GO.com manages some of the Internet's most popular Web sites, including the GO.com portal, which specializes in the areas of entertainment, recreation and leisure, as well as ABC.com, ABCNEWS.com, ABCSports.com, Disney.com, Disneystore.com, DisneyTravel.com, Family.com, ESPN.com, ESPNstore.com, EXPN.com, Mr. Showbiz, NASCAR Online, NBA.com and NFL.com. Steven M. Bornstein is the chairman of GO.com, which is headquartered in North Hollywood, California, with operations in Sunnyvale, California, Seattle, New York, Bristol, Connecticut, and London.