HOLLYWOOD — ESPN is moving its annual ESPY Awards from February to July starting in 2002.
The kudosfest, which celebrates sports accomplishments, will fall on the day after baseball’s All-Star Game, traditionally a Tuesday; that Wednesday is a virtual blank slate on the sports calendar.
“We’ve enjoyed great success in February, but long-term we believe this move will make the ESPYs more accessible for athletes to attend and fans to enjoy, given the light sports calendar on that date,” said ESPN president George Bodenheimer. “We’ve been considering moving the ESPYs to July for some time. The events of Sept. 11 and the subsequent shift of the Super Bowl prompted further evaluation.”
ESPN says losing publicity coverage in the wake of the Super Bowl rescheduling wasn’t a major factor in the decision as much as athletes being unavailable for the awards.
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Meanwhile, the venue of the ESPYs is up for grabs. The past several editions have been held in Las Vegas, but there is no confirmed locale for the 2002 kudos, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the awards.
While Las Vegas is still in the running, New York and Los Angeles are also being considered.
“Celebrity participation and fan interest are two big issues that we need to look at (when choosing a city),” said an ESPN spokesman. “We have to figure out what makes sense for this in the long term.”