Watch ESPN Wide World of Sports event
The Wide World of Sports facility at the Walt Disney World Resort is being relaunched as the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Thursday, and you can watch a live stream of the ceremony as well as celebrities walking the "turf carpet" now.
Watch It Live
Click here to watch the relaunch of the Wide World of Sports facility at the Walt Disney World Resort that took place Thursday.
Celebrities, ESPN on-air personalities, and stars from the NFL, MLB, LPGA and Olympics will take part in the Hollywood-style event, which began at 5 p.m. ET.
Athletes scheduled to attend include Olympic gold-medal gymnast Shawn Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco, Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch, Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes and golfing great Annika Sorenstam.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is "taking youth sports to the next level by providing an immersive sports experience for the more than 2 million athletes, coaches and fans who come to the complex each year, while also connecting them to their favorite ESPN programs, personalities and elements," according to a release.
The reimagining of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is the latest initiative in the growing sports business at the Walt Disney World Resort. In late 2007, the sports complex added additional outdoor playing fields for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey competitions. And in 2008, the sports complex opened Jostens Center, a state-of-the-art fieldhouse that allows Disney to accommodate twice as many indoor sports events each year. Additional expansion plans are in development, including a 100-lane bowling facility.
"At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we are giving America's youth athletes a one-of-a-kind youth sports experience that leaves them feeling as if they have reached the big time and made it onto ESPN," said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney sports enterprises. "Our goal is to ensure that the millions of athletes, coaches and fans who come through this sports complex at Walt Disney World Resort will walk in loving sports and walk out knowing that sports loves them back."
Disney and ESPN have added many technological and experiential enhancements designed to replicate the signature elements of ESPN throughout the complex. These include a 2,500-square-foot production center with links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles, and an innovation lab in which the ESPN emerging technology group is testing and developing new on-air applications.
"This complex embodies the ESPN and Disney commitment to excellence, ensuring that athletes and their families have the best possible experience," said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports, and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. "It is our hope that, win or lose, every athlete who competes at the complex will walk away with lifelong memories."
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