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ESPN HEADED FOR THE "GREAT OUTDOORS" WITH NEW CONCEPT
Published January 21, 1999
ESPN announced the creation of the ESPN Great Outdoor Games yesterday, a four-day event consisting of outdoor sports competition in events such as bass fishing and shooting. The games, to be held in Lake Placid, NY, will feature $300,000 in prize money and will air on both ESPN and ESPN2 in July and August, 2000 (ESPN). In Pittsburgh, Chuck Finder writes that whether the games will run on ABC "remains to be seen." ESPN Senior VP Jeff Ruhe: "It is not contemplated that this will have an ABC element" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/21). ESPN will hire outside organizations to run the event but will own the rights (N.Y. TIMES, 1/21). Ruhe notes that "if the 17 hours" of planned games programming "deliver upbeat Nielsen ratings," the network will make the Great Outdoor Games an annual event, similar to the X Games. Ruhe credits the creation of the Games as a result of the ratings growth of ESPN's Saturday morning block of outdoor sports programming (VARIETY, 1/21). In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes, "Mark your calendar, and gather the family around for one of the great events in the history of recorded sports" (BALTIMORE SUN, 1/21).