ESPN SportsCenter and ESPN.com Present “Mt. Rushmore of Sports” –
A Fan-based Search for the State with the Most Impressive Roster of Four Sports Greats
Nominations begin Sunday, Jan. 18; ESPN’s Rick Reilly to host daily SportsCenter segments Feb. 16 – 20
SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news and information program, and ESPN.com, the leading online sports destination, will combine to present a five-week, fan-based series to celebrate the sports icons from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The series, titled “SportsCenter Mount Rushmore of Sports,” will use fan-generated nominations on ESPN.com to identify the top four sports greats in each state/region, and online voting to select the state with the most impressive collection of sports luminaries worthy of being etched in the state’s Mount Rushmore of sports.
As part of the series, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com award-winning columnist Rick Reilly will host daily SportsCenter segments focusing on the top five states/regions selected by fans as having the most significant collection of sports icons Monday, Feb. 16 – Friday, Feb. 20, beginning daily at 9 a.m. ET. Reilly, who joined ESPN in June 2008 as a multimedia essayist and contributor to the network’s coverage of marquee events, will also pair with PTI co-host and Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon, and a Associated Press writer (one per state/region) to pick the fourth “must have” luminary for each state/region.
Beginning Sunday, Jan. 18, fans can submit names of their top three athletes, coaches and/or team executives in their state by logging on to: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportscenter/mtrushmore. To be eligible, the sports icons must be individuals who have made significant contributions to the world of sports in their respective states/regions (athletes, coaches, team executives, owners, media/commentators, et al).
The online submissions will live in an ESPN.com conversation page, allowing fans to read and react to nominations by other users. Each of the states/regions will have a separate conversation page on the site that will feature a list of suggested names.
“’SportsCenter Mt. Rushmore of Sports’ is another great opportunity to engage fans by giving them a vehicle to celebrate the individuals who’ve contributed immensely to sports in their states,” said Mark Gross, senior vice president and managing editor, studio production.
During the week of February 2-7, ESPN.com will reveal the final four names for each state/region. Fans can log on and rank the top five states/regions. In addition, February 8-14, the site will include an online exclusive content featuring ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Steve Bunin discussing and debating the selections. On television February 16-20, Reilly’s “SportsCenter Mt. Rushmore of Sports” segments will profile the five finalists and argue the merits of each of the top five states/regions.
At the conclusion of Reilly’s segments on SportsCenter, fans can vote online for the top state/region Feb. 20-23, and the winner will be announced Tuesday, Feb. 24, on SportsCenter at 6 p.m.
“Mt. Rushmore of Sports” reflects SportsCenter’s ongoing desire to engage sports fans. Last summer, the program launched an interactive, fan-based search for “TitleTown USA.” For three straight years (2006, ’07 and ’08), the ESPN flagship program, in cooperation with The Walt Disney Company and Make-A-Wish Foundation, has granted and chronicled sports-related wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions in its critically acclaimed SportsCenter “My Wish” series.
In September 2004, the ESPN signature sports news program originated live for one week from Camp Arifjan Army base in Kuwait. In the summer of 2005, in its most ambitious initiative to date, SportsCenter took to the road, reporting segments from a combination of mainstream and unique sports events in all U.S. 50 states in 50 days.
The “SportsCenter Mt. Rushmore of Sports”: Timeline and Criteria
Sunday, Jan. 18 – Sunday, Feb. 1
· Nominations begin. ESPN.com users submit three names on individual conversation pages for all 50 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (Page editors will monitor the submissions and tally up the top three icons submitted for each state).
· A team of three journalists – a Associated Press sports writer from the state, ESPN’s Rick Reilly and Michael Wilbon – will select the fourth “must have” sports icon for each state.
Monday, Feb. 2 – Sunday, Feb. 7
· The four final names for each state revealed on ESPN.com.
· Fans are encouraged to rank their top five states/regions out of 52 on the site.
Monday, Feb. 8 – Sunday, Feb. 14
· ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Steve Bunin will discuss and debate the selections in an original digital content exclusively on ESPN.com.
Monday, Feb. 16 – Friday, Feb. 20
· Each day, ESPN Rick Reilly will host a SportsCenter segment profiling one of the five finalists on all editions of SportsCenter, beginning at 9 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 20 – Monday, Feb. 23
· Fans vote online for the state with the most impressive sports icon on their “Mt. Rushmore of Sports.”
Tuesday, Feb. 24
· SportsCenter announcement of the winning state selected by fans to have the most significant collection of four sports icons in their “Mt. Rushmore of Sports.”
· To be eligible, the sports icons must be individuals (athletes, coaches, executives, owners, et al) who have made significant contributions to the world of sports in a state
· Sports icons can be nominated in multiple states. Examples: Patrick Ewing – Washington, D.C. and New York; Peyton Manning – Tennessee and Indiana; Alex Rodriguez – Washington, Texas and New York; Ozzie Newsome – Ohio and Maryland, as an exec; et al
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