ESPN.com 20th Anniversary Timeline

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ESPN.com 20th Anniversary Timeline

1995 ESPNSportsZone.com launches on April 1.
ESPNSportsZone.com has 549,406 page views in June.
1996 ESPNSportsZone.com launches GameCast “with high-tech bells and whistles: a Java-based box seat with live scoreboards, pitch count in baseball games, and plenty of instantly updated stats.”
1997 The Walt Disney Company purchases an equity stake in Starwave Corporation, co-producer of ESPNSportsZone.com.
ESPN Internet Ventures is formed.
ESPNSportsZone.com has a record 846,450 visits on Nov. 18 during the Major League Baseball expansion draft.
1998 ESPN SportsZone is renamed ESPN.com, and the site is re-designed “for quicker access to content across its pages.”
ESPN.com renews agreements to produce the official online sites of the NFL, NBA and NASCAR, while it continues to set new marks for record usage.
ESPN.com averages 4.3 million unique users per month and 1.2 million visitors per day, making it the most-visited sports website in the U.S.
1999 ESPN acquires a majority stake in Soccernet.com. The remainder is purchased in 2000.
ESPN’s NFL season begins with accompanying Enhanced TV via ESPN.com.
ESPNstore.com is relaunched with 10x increase in product offering.
2000 ESPN.com is awarded a Webby Award for sports.
Dan Patrick launches his own site within ESPN.com featuring commentary and interviews.
ESPN.com debuts Page 2, “a sometimes less-than-serious, fresh and different take on sports featuring contributions from ESPN personalities, as well as celebrities and writers.”
ESPNdeportes.com is launched.
2001 ESPN.com is named the Top Sports Web Site in Sports Business Journal’s first annual New Media Awards.
ESPN To Go Pagers – offering breaking news, scores, stats, injury reports and more – are made available via ESPN.com.
ESPN.com and MSN announce ESPN.com will be the exclusive sports content provider for the MSN sports channel.
ESPN.com concludes its most popular month ever with 10.9 million unique visitors, an increase of 67 percent over November 2000.
2002 SportsNation debuts on ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.
ESPN.com launches ESPN Motion, “an innovative feature allowing broadband users to view high-quality video on the site’s home page automatically each day.”
ESPN.com sets a new usage record in October: 15.4 million unique visitors.
ESPN.com presents its first live event webcast: Miami at Rutgers college football game.
2003 ESPN Motion debuts on ESPN.com and is installed by more than 1 million users in the first 10 days, 2 million by end of year.
ESPN.com is chosen Best of the Web for sports by Forbes Magazine.
ESPN.com receives a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists for the “Blood on the Rings” series, which chronicled stories of abuse of Iraqi athletes.
2004 ESPN.com’s William Nack’s “No, Not Again” about thoroughbred racer Ferdinand is the only online story chosen for The Best American Sportswriting.
ESPN.com launches ESPN Poker Club, which includes an editorial section and game on ESPN.com, a wireless game and consumer products.
2005 ESPN.com marks its 10th anniversary.
For every month of its first 10 years, ESPN.com was the No. 1 site for user traffic.
ESPN.com announces that its Fantasy Football games will be free.
2006 ESPN.com and NBCOlympics.com announce editorial collaboration and co-promotion of online coverage for the Winter Olympics, the first time a non-rights holding media company has Olympic video highlights.
EXPN.com and ESPN360.com see record usage during X Games 10, as well as the first-ever distribution via Mobile ESPN and iPods.
ESPN.com launches PodCenter, “a library of digital audio and video content from ESPN’s TV, radio and online outlets to download or play on computer.”
ESPN.com wins the first-ever non-traditional platform Emmy for its Off Mikes series.
ESPN.com debuts an integrated online multimedia player, providing “a single interface for all existing and future online video services.”
ESPNU.com is launched.
The debut of Monday Night Football on ESPN earns the network’s biggest audience ever and the second largest in cable history (9,177,000 homes) for Minnesota at Washington. ESPN.com records a record 36 million page views.
ESPN.com wins the Online Journalism Award in the category “Specialty Journalism” for ESPN Insider.
2007 ESPN.com debuts SportsCenter Minute, “a video digest of the day’s sports headlines with highlights and scores published on the home page by 6 a.m. ET.”
ESPN acquires Jayski.com, one of the fastest-growing and influential NASCAR web sites.
ESPNRadio.com is re-launched, “delivering live 24/7 streaming of ESPN Radio’s national programming and all five of ESPN’s owned stations.”
ESPNsoccernet.com, “the world’s leading English-language football website” launches versions in French and German, followed by Spanish and Italian.
ESPN purchases Cricinfo.com, the world’s leading cricket website.
A new programming strategy for ESPN360.com brings more than 2,000 live events throughout the year.
ESPN acquires Scrum.com, a leading rugby website.
2008 ESPN.com enters into an agreement with Major League Gaming (MLG) to serve as a primary outlet for MLG news, plus exclusive streamed matches.
ESPN.com acquires HoopGurlz.com, “the foremost web site focused on high school girls’ basketball and college women’s basketball on a national basis.”
ESPN.com announces it will make short-form videos — highlights and segments from original programming — accessible directly through AOL Video and AOL Sports, “the first time ESPN has syndicated video content through an Internet portal.”
ESPN acquires Student Sports, Inc., a high school-focused digital media and event production company.
June marks the biggest month ever for ESPN360.com, with 3 million video streams and average time viewing that exceeds three hours, five times the industry average.
ESPNRise.com launches as a news, information and community resource for high school athletes.
ESPN360.com launches in Great Britain, with free news, highlights, analysis and interviews from the NHL, MLB, NFL, golf, tennis and X Games, along with subscription packages for live event programming.
Streak For the Cash is launched.
2009 ESPN.com debuts a redesigned home page with “a cleaner design, a richer video experience, and enhanced Scoreboards, personalization and advertising.”
ESPNChicago.com launches, followed by Boston and Dallas in September, and Los Angeles in December.
ESPN360.com becomes available on Comcast.net and expands rights to Wimbledon, nearly doubling its hours of live programming.
ESPN360.com, ESPN.com and ESPNRadio.com each enjoy record highs in September. Compared to September 2008, ESPN360 is up 250 percent in viewing hours, ESPN.com minutes online are up 54 percent, and hours of audio heard on ESPNRadio are up 61 percent.
ESPN’s ScoreCenter app launches.
2010 ESPN.com visitors watched nearly 1.4 billion videos for the year or nearly 115 million streams per month.
ESPN Insider surpasses 500,000 subscribers.
ESPNNewYork.com debuts.
ESPN360.com is renamed ESPN3.com and is relaunched with enhanced video and functionality for news, stats interactivity and sharing on social media.
ESPN3.com and Microsoft announce live events and on-demand highlights and news will be available on the Xbox 360 console for LIVE Gold members.
ESPN3.com delivers nearly 4,300 live events.
The Germany-Spain semifinal in the FIFA World Cup is ESPN3.com’s most popular event ever with an average minute audience of 355,000. The month-long event drives tremendous traffic to all of ESPN’s digital properties.
ESPN ScoreCenter app for iPhone and Android reaches 13 million total downloads.
ESPNRadio.com remains the most listened to live stream of any terrestrial broadcaster in the world.
Bill Simmon’ BS Report podcast logs more than 42 million downloads.
In collaboration with social game developer Playdom, ESPN launches “ESPN College Town” on Facebook.
2011 The WatchESPN App launches, allowing smartphone and tablet access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com for subscribers to Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU are the first live, streaming cable channels available on mobile devices in the U.S.
ESPN.com leads the sports category with 3.3 billion total minutes per month and captures nearly a third (32 percent) of all minutes spent with sports sites online.
Fans watch nearly 1.9 billion videos on ESPN.com.
WatchESPN.com is launched; ESPN3.com is renamed ESPN3.
Grantland.com is launched.
ESPN sends 8.8 billion alerts (up 251 percent over 2010) to more than 11 million active subscribers.
Bill Simmon’ BS Report podcast logs more than 92 million downloads, up 120 percent over 2010.
ESPN’s second social game on Facebook, “ESPN Bar & Grill”, surpasses 1.2 million monthly active users in its first six weeks.
ESPN International acquires footytips.com.au, a popular site in Australia for competitive sports predictions.
2012 ESPN.com bolsters its No. 1 position in the sports category with an average minute audience of 74,562 (64 percent higher than its closest competitor), 3.3 billion total minutes per month (nearly 30 percent of all minutes spent with sports sites online) and total unique video viewers that are 34 percent higher than its closest competitor.
During the World Twenty20 Championship, ESPNcricinfo globally across all platforms logs an average minute audience of 80,000 (four times greater than the 2010 tournament).
WatchESPN signs four additional distribution deals – Comcast, Cablevision, Cox and Charter – making WatchESPN available to seven of the top 10 multichannel video programming distributors nationwide.
Distribution for WatchESPN increased to 46 million, while ESPN3 grows to 83 million households nationwide.
ESPN’s ScoreCenter app surpasses 40 million total downloads.
Men’s Tournament Challenge bracket game logs more than 6.45 million brackets.
ESPN recognizes the 40th anniversary of Title IX with a multi-platform initiative called “The Power of IX,” which debuts on espnW.com.
For every month of the year, ESPN Digital Media ranks No. 1 in the digital sports category for average minute audience, share of category audience, total minutes of usage, total visits, and male unique visitors.
2013 ESPN Digital Media reaches 72.7 million unique users in September, the most ever in the sports category, while also surpassing 8.0 billion visits through the year.
ESPN acquires FiveThirtyEight.com, and renowned statistician Nate Silver joins ESPN, returning to his sports roots while expanding his approach to include culture, economics, technology and politics.
ESPN Digital Media accounts for nearly a third (31 percent) of all Sports category usage across digital platforms, more than the Nos. 2 and 3 sports properties combined.
ESPN ScoreCenter app is overhauled and relaunched as the SportsCenter app.
ESPN.com agrees to multi-year agreement with Dick’s Sporting Goods, which will become the exclusive eCommerce provider for the ESPN Fan Shop.
espnW launches a redesigned, utilizing responsive design and a time-based feed that simplifies navigation and enhances the user experience across screens.
After just one year, ESPNFC.com becomes the No. 1 soccer-specific site in the U.S.
ESPNcricinfo averages nearly 2 million daily visitors.
ESPN ends the year with 24.5 million Facebook fans.
2014 ESPN Digital Media enjoys the most prolific year ever in the digital sports category.
ESPN averages 76.8 million unique visitors per month, 14.1 million more than No. 2 property Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network.
ESPN averages 18.4 million unique users, 7.2 million more than No. 2 Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network, which averaged 11.2 million.
Sports fans visit ESPN Digital Media products 9.97 billion times over the course of the year – over 1 billion visits more than the Nos. 2 and 3 properties combined (Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network at 5.58 billion and Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network at 3.17 billion).
ESPN establishes a new sports category high for monthly unique visitors three times (June, August and September).
ESPN’s traffic in seven months of the year account for the top seven months all-time in the sports category for monthly unique visitors: September (94.0MM), November (90.8MM), October (89.1MM), December (88.4MM), August (82.4MM), June (80.7MM), and July (74.8MM).
ESPN’s portfolio of mobile apps averages 21.7 million monthly unique users, nearly three times the average monthly reach of the No. 2 app portfolio, NFL Internet Group (7.9 million).
Viewers stream WatchESPN programming for 12.9 billion minutes, 7.2 billion more minutes than the year before (up 126 percent).
FiveThirtyEight.com is launched.
ESPN Fantasy Football remains No. 1 with 7.5 million players, 25 million transactions per week, and 47 million alerts pers week.
ESPN’s Fantasy Football App reaches more than 11 million total downloads and sets an all-time record for minutes of usage with 1.7 billion minutes in September.
Celebrating its 5th anniversary, espnW.com more than doubles, peaking in September with 7.6 million users.
2015 ESPN App for iPad is launched.
ESPN Tournament Challenge game collects a record 11.57 million brackets from college basketball fans.
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