ESPN The Weekend Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods Returns to Walt Disney World Resort Feb. 27-March 1

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — ESPN and Walt Disney World Resort are again offering fans the opportunity to see and hear ESPN personalities and current and legendary athletes during ESPN The Weekend presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, a one-of-a-kind sports-themed special event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Feb. 27-March 1.

ESPN personalities John Anderson, Colin Cowherd, Jay Crawford, Mike Golic, Mike Greenberg, Dana Jacobson, Chris McKendry, Karl Ravech, Stuart Scott and Trey Wingo are scheduled to participate, along with more than 30 athletes, including NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner and recently retired Brett Favre; 2009MLB Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson; and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Shawn Johnson and Misty May-Treanor, among many others. The ESPN personalities and sports celebrities expected to attend the sixth annual event are listed at (click on Who’s Coming).

ESPN The Weekend will feature on-site telecasts of popular ESPN programs (beginning Thursday, Feb. 26), including Baseball Tonight, First Take, Mike & Mike in the Morning, NFL Live and interview segments on SportsCenter; motorcades and Q&A sessions with athletes and ESPN personalities; Inside ESPN sports shows with commentators and athletes; live ESPN Radio broadcasts; and the ESPN Sports Zone interactive area. Guests also will be able to enjoy all the popular shows and attractions at the theme park during Disney’s “What Will You Celebrate?” celebration. Dick’s Sporting Goods will serve as presenting sponsor of the event for the third straight year.

ESPN will present live daily telecasts — including First Take (10 a.m., ESPN2) and NFL Live (4 p.m., ESPN, Feb. 26-27 -from a set in front of Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Park guests will have a chance to appear on-air via crowd shots while watching the programming on in-park video screens. Popular ESPN Radio shows Mike & Mike in the Morning and The Herd with Colin Cowherdwill be broadcast live from the ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk on
Feb. 26-27.

As Major League Baseball Spring Training games get underway in Florida, ESPN’s on-site program lineup will feature the Atlanta Braves’ home game against the Houston Astros at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex (Feb. 26, 1 p.m.). Also, Karl Ravech will host a special two-hour Baseball Tonight with analysts Peter Gammons, John Kruk, Steve Phillips and Chris Singleton from the theme park March 1 at 4 p.m. as ESPN’s popular baseball news, information and highlights show kicks off its 20th season.

Live stage shows will bring fans and guests behind-the-scenes of some of the network’s most popular programs, including SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, First Take, NFL Live and Stump the Schwab. The shows will provide an inside look at favorite athletes, teams and ESPN programs. Fans can get into the action themselves by asking questions directly to ESPN personalities and athletes.

Guests who think they have what it takes to be on SportsCenter can experience what it’s like to audition for ESPN. Select contestants will go through a series of “on-air” tasks and the audience will select the best “sportscaster” during each show. ESPN personalities and sports celebrities will help mentor contestants as part of the experience.

Periodically throughout each day, sports stars will motorcade up the park’s Hollywood Boulevard to the stage at the base of Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat and join ESPN commentators for conversations about their careers and Q&A sessions with park guests.

The ESPN Sports Zone will give guests of all ages the opportunity to test their skills at a wide variety of sports, including biking on an X Games dirt course. MLB-, NBA- and NFL-themed interactive areas within the Zone will have fans swinging for the fences, shooting baskets and throwing passes, as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Sports Caravan, a multi-sport interactive area.

The ESPN Sports Zone will also include an ESPN Play Your Way playground. A fitness initiative launched in May 2004 to address youth obesity, Play Your Way was designed by Team ESPN, the corporate outreach program for ESPN, Inc., to inspirekids 7-12 years old to use their imagination and create their own physically active games.

A new addition to ESPN The Weekend, this 5K race through Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Sat., Feb. 28 at 7 a.m.) will challenge runners along the course with ESPN and sports trivia and will feature athletes and ESPN personalities, including Anderson, Ravech and Wingo. Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, the 5K will benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and all participants will receive a T-shirt and finisher’s medal. There will also be a Fun Run for kids at 8:30 a.m. To register, visit

Event activities are included in regular admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Walt Disney World Resort’s innovative ticket pricing system “Magic Your Way” provides guests with the opportunity to customize their vacations, and Florida residents can save on tickets all year long.

Pittsburgh-based Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. is an authentic full-line sporting goods retailer offering a broad assortment of brand name sporting goods equipment, apparel and footwear in a specialty store environment. As of Jan. 31, 2009, the Company operated 384 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in 39 states primarily throughout the eastern half of the U.S. The Company also owns Golf Galaxy, Inc., a multi-channel golf specialty retailer, with 89 stores in 31 states, ecommerce websites and catalog operations and Chick’s Sporting Goods, Inc., which operates 14 specialty sporting goods stores in Southern California.

Debra Martin Koma wrote about food, travel and lifestyle issues for a number of local and national publications before she fell in love with Walt Disney World on her first visit — when she was 34! She's returned to her Laughing Place more times than she can count in the ensuing years, and enthusiastically shares her passion with readers of AllEars.Net and AllEars®. Deb also co-authored (along with Deb Wills) PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, a travel guide designed for all travelers to Walt Disney World who may require special attention, from special diets to mobility issues.

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