"We're going to have four straight nights on ESPN in the same 9 to 11 time slot," said Gary Morgenstern, Executive Director, ESPN Outdoors. "That's great. It's something that our viewers can count on without having to figure out which network and which time. It was our goal this year to be very consistent."
The 2004 schedule will kick off on a Wednesday night and run through the weekend, wrapping up with a 90-minute show on ABC Sunday, July 18 from 3:30 to 5 p.m., the second of two shows on that network.
"That's another big factor for us," Morgenstern said. "For the past three years, we've had one hour on ABC Sports. This year, we're expanding to two and a half hours. Why? Because they liked us. We attracted a strong audience last year and they asked us for more content."
The final telecast on ABC will immediately follow coverage of the British Open - another big plus for the Games.
"It allows an audience that may not typically tune in to the outdoors to sample us," Morgenstern said.
Other major highlights for the 2004 telecast include increased coverage for the dog-and-handler events. This year, the Games added a new canine competition, Disc Drive, in which dogs chase flying discs for distance. The other element in expanding the canine competition is the Big Air Dogs competition.
"Our attitude is 'give people what they want,' so we're going to have more dog sports," Morgenstern said. "Disc Drive is pretty exciting and we think it will translate well to TV, and Big Air Dogs is very popular and the Games organizers have expanded the competition format with more rounds."
Overall, Morgenstern said, audiences can expect more of their favorite competitions delivered by the innovative production team that delivered last year's Emmy award-winning telecasts.
Top outdoor athletes from around the world compete for entry into the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, held in Madison, Wis. July 8-11. The ultimate championship of outdoor sports features one-of-a-kind, head-to-head competition in timber and target events, sporting dogs, and fishing. While entertaining large crowds on site, the ESPN Great Outdoor Games also draws a worldwide television audience airing on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports beginning July 14.
For additional information, contact ESPN Outdoors Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.espnoutdoorsmedia.com.