Today is the 20-year anniversary of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The grand opening of the now 220-acre multi-sport facility at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando was on this date in 1997 – a Major League Baseball Spring Training game between the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.
While serving as the Braves’ Spring Training home since 1998, the complex also hosts hundreds of events annually for athletes of all ages and can accommodate more than 70 sports. In all, an estimated three million competitors have participated in events at the perfectly manicured fields and other venues, including more than 400 Olympians, 500 professional athletes, and 280,000 teams.
ESPN has hosted many events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and televised even more. Some of the recent examples include ESPN Events’ annual Advocare Invitational college basketball tournament; the Pop Warner Super Bowl; 2016 Invictus Games; NFL Pro Bowl practices and the first-ever Skills Showdown; and, of course, Jon Gruden’s QB Camp this month.
Originally Disney’s Wide World of Sports, the complex was officially rebranded ESPN Wide World of Sports in February 2010. Today, it features a full-service ESPN production center that is used for QB Camp and other televised and streamed events.
“We are proud to be associated with the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and we will continue to work with our Disney partners in Orlando to create unique ESPN-branded experiences for sports fans of all ages at this world-class facility,” said President of ESPN Global Sales and Marketing, Ed Erhardt.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the video below, Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden congratulates ESPN WWOS on its anniversary. From 2002-08, his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teams conducted their annual training camp there when he was the head coach. Since 2014, his Gruden QB Camp has filmed episodes at the facility.