20th Anniversary Timeline

ESPN DigitalESPN 20th Anniversary Timeline

1995 launches on April 1. has 549,406 page views in June.
1996 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
ESPN Internet Ventures is formed. has a record 846,450 visits on Nov. 18 during the Major League Baseball expansion draft.
1998 ESPN SportsZone is renamed, and the site is re-designed “for quicker access to content across its pages.” renews agreements to produce the official online sites of the NFL, NBA and NASCAR, while it continues to set new marks for record usage. 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 The remainder is purchased in 2000.
ESPN’s NFL season begins with accompanying Enhanced TV via is relaunched with 10x increase in product offering.
2000 is awarded a Webby Award for sports.
Dan Patrick launches his own site within featuring commentary and interviews. 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.” is launched.
2001 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 and MSN announce will be the exclusive sports content provider for the MSN sports channel. concludes its most popular month ever with 10.9 million unique visitors, an increase of 67 percent over November 2000.
2002 SportsNation debuts on and ESPN The Magazine. launches ESPN Motion, “an innovative feature allowing broadband users to view high-quality video on the site’s home page automatically each day.” sets a new usage record in October: 15.4 million unique visitors. presents its first live event webcast: Miami at Rutgers college football game.
2003 ESPN Motion debuts on and is installed by more than 1 million users in the first 10 days, 2 million by end of year. is chosen Best of the Web for sports by Forbes Magazine. 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’s William Nack’s “No, Not Again” about thoroughbred racer Ferdinand is the only online story chosen for The Best American Sportswriting. launches ESPN Poker Club, which includes an editorial section and game on, a wireless game and consumer products.
2005 marks its 10th anniversary.
For every month of its first 10 years, was the No. 1 site for user traffic. announces that its Fantasy Football games will be free.
2006 and 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. and see record usage during X Games 10, as well as the first-ever distribution via Mobile ESPN and iPods. launches PodCenter, “a library of digital audio and video content from ESPN’s TV, radio and online outlets to download or play on computer.” wins the first-ever non-traditional platform Emmy for its Off Mikes series. debuts an integrated online multimedia player, providing “a single interface for all existing and future online video services.” 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. records a record 36 million page views. wins the Online Journalism Award in the category “Specialty Journalism” for ESPN Insider.
2007 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, one of the fastest-growing and influential NASCAR web sites. is re-launched, “delivering live 24/7 streaming of ESPN Radio’s national programming and all five of ESPN’s owned stations.”, “the world’s leading English-language football website” launches versions in French and German, followed by Spanish and Italian.
ESPN purchases, the world’s leading cricket website.
A new programming strategy for brings more than 2,000 live events throughout the year.
ESPN acquires, a leading rugby website.
2008 enters into an agreement with Major League Gaming (MLG) to serve as a primary outlet for MLG news, plus exclusive streamed matches. acquires, “the foremost web site focused on high school girls’ basketball and college women’s basketball on a national basis.” 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, with 3 million video streams and average time viewing that exceeds three hours, five times the industry average. launches as a news, information and community resource for high school athletes. 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 debuts a redesigned home page with “a cleaner design, a richer video experience, and enhanced Scoreboards, personalization and advertising.” launches, followed by Boston and Dallas in September, and Los Angeles in December. becomes available on and expands rights to Wimbledon, nearly doubling its hours of live programming., and each enjoy record highs in September. Compared to September 2008, ESPN360 is up 250 percent in viewing hours, minutes online are up 54 percent, and hours of audio heard on ESPNRadio are up 61 percent.
ESPN’s ScoreCenter app launches.
2010 visitors watched nearly 1.4 billion videos for the year or nearly 115 million streams per month.
ESPN Insider surpasses 500,000 subscribers. debuts. is renamed and is relaunched with enhanced video and functionality for news, stats interactivity and sharing on social media. and Microsoft announce live events and on-demand highlights and news will be available on the Xbox 360 console for LIVE Gold members. delivers nearly 4,300 live events.
The Germany-Spain semifinal in the FIFA World Cup is’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. 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 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. 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 is launched; is renamed ESPN3. 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, a popular site in Australia for competitive sports predictions.
2012 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
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, 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. 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, 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). 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, 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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