Bus Transportation Route Changes for Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports

Effective February 21, there will no longer be a bus available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to take guests to the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility. Instead, guests can catch a bus to/from Disney’s All-Star Resorts, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Buses are expected to operate between 7 am and 11 pm daily, but will change times and frequency as dictated by sporting events occuring that day.

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ESPN360.com to Become Network Moniker-Friendly ESPN3.com in April

ESPN3.com Logo

On April 4, ESPN360.com, ESPN’s 24/7 broadband sports network, will become ESPN3.com.  At that time the network will also introduce new features and functionality that will enhance the viewing experience. Details of these enhancements will be released closer to the launch in the spring.

“The name ESPN3.com more closely aligns with the existing naming convention for our networks,” said Sean Bratches, executive vice president, sales and marketing. “We have approached this as a network for years, and as users have become more accustomed to engaging with content across various screens, it made sense to make adjustments that reflect both the product’s and the industry’s evolution.”

Added Damon Phillips, vice president, ESPN3.com, “The network will continue to offer the same great content that sports fans have come to expect, with more than 3,500 live events annually.  We look forward to rolling out new enhancements to offer the best viewing experience possible in the months ahead.”

ESPN3.com will continue to give consumers control over their broadband sports viewing experience with the ability to pause and rewind live events.  Fans will continue to be able to toggle between up to 20 events in a main viewing window, and with a single click, jump to another event. Video can be viewed in widescreen (16:9) and normal (4:3) views and can be expanded to full screen or reduced to a compact size.  Recently completed events will continue to be archived and available for on-demand replay.

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ABC Affiliates, Advertisers Cry Foul over Actions by ESPN and ABC News

Disney has been driving on thin, black ice lately when it comes to their ABC affiliates and their advertisers.

Two separate events are threatening the financial stability of the ABC network’s affiliate stations, most notably throughout the southern region of the United States.

The affiliates are noticeably upset over recent moves by Disney-owned ESPN taking several sporting events away from the affiliates, most notably several NASCAR events. It’s believed that ESPN, which has been producing all sports for the ABC network since 2006, is being handed carte blanche from the parent corporation in terms of which events it can air exclusively because it helps justifies the already industry-high retransmission fees from cable operators. The affiliates fear a significant loss in programming and local ad revenue as a result.

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ESPN Taps Comic Book Heroes’ ‘Move Out of the Way’ as 2010 NASCAR Coverage Theme

Comic Book Heroes (L-R): Steve, Colin, Ned and Koz. Photo courtesy of Comic Book Heroes.Comic Book Heroes’ (CBH) new single “Move Out of the Way” off their “Take A Seat” EP has been chosen by ESPN as the featured song for the network’s coverage of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. The season opens at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 13, at noon ET on ESPN2.

To kick off their new relationship with ESPN, CBH filmed a video for “Move Out of the Way,” portions of which will be used throughout the season during ESPN’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race telecasts. A new music video for the teen rock band’s first single, “Catch Me If You Can,” and six original songs from CBH also will be included in promotions for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage. Throughout the 10-month NASCAR Nationwide Series season, CBH’s music, videos and promotions will be featured in 35 races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

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New ESPNRadio.com Player with Instant Replay Allows Listeners to Pause and Rewind Live Streams

ESPN today launches two new web-based players on ESPNRadio.com with the completely revamped super stream player with launch partner Yahoo!, introducing the new Instant Replay feature and the launch of Super Week webcam just in time for the days leading up to Super Bowl XLIV between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

The new Instant Replay feature will give sports fans control over their digital audio experience, literally.  Using exclusive technology, listeners will now have the ability to pause and rewind live streaming programming for up to 30 minutes on all accessible ESPN stations within the newly enhanced super stream player.  Other highlights of the player include:

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Harlem Globetrotters to Perform for ESPN Wide World of Sports Grand Re-opening

On February 25, the Harlem Globetrotters will be performing for guests at the Milk House located at the newly dubbed ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Also on hand to commemorate the event will be the popular ESPN sports broadcasting team of Mike and Mike along with several other high profile athletes and ESPN personalities.

Tickets are now available from ticketmaster.com and range from $30-$50 in price. Attending guests will also receive a free commemorative t-shirt marking the event.

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Disney to Kick Off ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Promotion Across Three Networks, Super Bowl Ad

Not quite mad as a hatter with anticipation for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland yet? You will be.

Beginning January 31, Walt Disney Studios will begin offering 60-second first looks across three networks, each providing its own exclusive sneak peek at the film, all culminating to a spectacular ad during the Super Bowl titled Tick-Tock.

You can catch ABC’s version during Desperate Housewives on January 31 and The Bachelor on February 1; ESPN’s version during the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl on January 31 and during the NBA Nuggets-Lakers game on February 5; and ABC Family’s during Greek on Febuary 1 and The Parent Trap on February 6.

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ESPN Acquires Vistas Unlimited, Developer of Live Digital Advertisement Insertion

ESPN has acquired technology development company Vistas Unlimited, Inc., located in Plano, Texas.  The acquisition will augment ESPN’s innovative use of virtual technology across its multiple platforms.  Under this agreement, ESPN will continue to employ a majority of Vistas’ employees.

“This acquisition represents ESPN’s dedication to staying at the forefront of innovation and technology development,” said Chuck Pagano, executive vice president, ESPN technology.  “The team that is joining ESPN brings a wealth of knowledge on developing cutting-edge virtual components that enhance the fan’s enjoyment of a game telecast.”

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Sony Named Official 3D Sponsor of ESPN 3D Television Network

In an agreement announced at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony has signed on to be an official sponsor of ESPN’s new 3D network.  Additionally, Sony will be the exclusive 3D sponsor of the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, 13 regular season college football games, and Summer X Games, where ESPN will utilize Sony professional HD cameras.  The announcement was made during Sony’s annual CES press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

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ESPN to Launch First 3D Television Network in June; Debuts With 2010 FIFA World Cup Match

ESPN will launch ESPN 3D -  the industry’s first 3D television network – it was announced today by George Bodenheimer, Co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and President, ESPN and ABC Sports.  ESPN 3D will showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events during its first year, beginning with the first  2010 FIFA World Cup match on June 11 featuring South Africa vs. Mexico.  Other events to be produced in 3D include up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, Summer X Games, college basketball, and college football, which will include the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Ariz., January 10, 2011.  Additional events will be announced at a later date.

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