Hewlett-Packard to Expand Sponsorship at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Resort today announced an expansion to its long-term business relationship with HP, which now includes naming rights for the 165,000-square-foot fieldhouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Beginning today, the fieldhouse will be renamed with the HP brand and will feature several new high-tech elements designed to enhance the sports experience for the nearly 1.5 million athletes, coaches and fans who visit the complex each year.  HP also becomes the official imaging, printing and PC partner for ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the leading multi-sports venue in the nation.

The centerpiece of the soon to be renamed fieldhouse will be the HP creation zone where athletes, coaches and fans can download, design and enhance commemorative photos and images of their events, then immediately produce and print them onsite.  The HP creation zone will also include a retail area featuring a variety of imaging-related products and options for youth athletes and consumers, such as creating life-size posters of action photos, custom wallpaper coverings for the home and other photo keepsakes/memorabilia.

“HP’s innovative technologies further differentiate the athlete experience at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in ways that no other youth sports venue can match,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises.  “The HP technological enhancements in the complex are just the latest in a growing number of technology-driven projects that are at the core of our growth strategy, which centers around continually elevating the sports experience for our athletes, coaches and fans.”

There will also be an HP internet “café” capability inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Grill featuring HP TouchSmart PCs.  Individual stations will offer online access to a variety of sites, including ESPN.com, ESPNRISE.com, ESPNWWOS.com, Disney.com, Disneyworld.com and others.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Welcome Center, an onsite concierge facility, will offer kiosks that also feature HP TouchSmart PCs.  The kiosks, which will also be located at additional locations throughout the complex, will enable athletes and fans to access and print a wide range of sports event information, including field assignments and schedule updates, as well as general Disney information and resources, such as dining reservations and vacation planning tools for theme parks, resorts and water parks.

“The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex continues HP’s decades-long collaboration with Disney to captivate audiences through technology innovation and digital entertainment,” said Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at HP.  “The HP fieldhouse will deliver the ultimate sports environment, combining state-of-the-art athletic facilities with a rich, interactive technology experience to extend the spirit and passion of sports beyond the field of play.”

The fieldhouse accommodates virtually any indoor sport, including basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, martial arts, team handball, roller hockey, cheerleading and dance, trampoline and tumbling, indoor tennis, etc., in addition to concerts and conventions.  Opened in 1997, the venue has a seating capacity of 5,500 and room for six full-size collegiate basketball courts.

HP’s presence at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex extends the company’s long-standing relationship with Disney, which began in 1940 when HP worked with Walt Disney to enhance the acoustics in movie theaters before the release of Disney’s “Fantasia” movie.  Currently, HP sponsors the MISSION: Space attraction at Epcot and is one of the sponsors of the Disneyland Dream Home at Disneyland Park.  Disney is one of HP’s largest customers and utilizes thousands of HP business PCs, servers and printers, in addition to technology services, business intelligence software and storage.

The expansion of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex’s relationship with HP comes on the heels of the complex’s most comprehensive redesign since it opened in 1997.  In February 2010, the complex, which was already the leading multi-sport venue in the world, was re-imagined with the ESPN brand, bringing the signature elements of ESPN to the complex to create a one-of-a-kind sports experience that lets athletes, coaches and fans feel as if they’ve reached the big time with ESPN.

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