MADISON, Wis. – The world’s best outdoors athletes will converge on Madison next summer to compete in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games. Officials from ESPN, Charter Communications, the Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation and the State of Wisconsin today announced that the Games will be staged July 8-11, 2004.  

“Wisconsin is home to dozens of Great Outdoor Games medal winners and we are proud to bring this wonderful event to the Midwest and Madison’s enthusiastic outdoor sports community,” said Christine Godleski, Vice President and General Manager, ESPN Outdoors. “Wisconsin is a paradise for outdoorsmen and -women, so we expect great competition, large crowds, and compelling television.”  

Great Outdoor Games V will be telecast on ESPN and ABC in more than 20 hours of original television programming that will highlight the head-to-head competitions.  

"For the second consecutive year, Charter is pleased to be part of the excitement generated by the Great Outdoor Games. ESPN has a real winner in Madison as the stage for the 2004 Games," said Carl Vogel, President and CEO of Charter Communications Inc. "Charter shares the vision and enthusiasm ESPN has for bringing a spectacular event like the Great Outdoor Games to the customers and communities we serve, and to a worldwide audience that appreciates outdoor sports."  

The Great Outdoor Games are the ultimate championship for outdoor sports, showcasing athletes in disciplines ranging from target sports to lumberjack events to sporting dogs. Nearly 200 athletes compete at the Games, coming from all over the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 2003, the Games drew nearly 60,000 people for four days of intense competition amongst international athletes.  

“After a three-year courtship, we are excited to welcome the ESPN Great Outdoor Games to Madison,” said Dave Phillips, chairman of the board of the Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation. “On behalf of our local partners, WSDC is proud to serve as the local host for this international event which we truly believe will showcase the Great Outdoor spirit of Wisconsin.”

  This will be the first time a Midwestern city has hosted the Games, which began in 2000 in Lake Placid, N.Y. and moved to Reno, Nev. in 2003. In 2003, Wisconsin boasted the largest field of athletes, sending a delegation of 20 competitors to the Games.  

”Since the Games include so many events that are traditions here, I believe the event is a perfect fit for our state, and that Wisconsin's residents and visitors will turn out in overwhelming numbers to celebrate the Games and offer their support to the athletes,” said Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.  

The Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation is a nonprofit sports management organization that helpsdevelop sports tourism inWisconsin and promotes positive lifestyles and physical fitness through amateur athletic events and health education programs. WSDC owns the Badger State Games, Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, Shape Up Wisconsin Kids, Lighten Up Wisconsin, and hosts the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon.  

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 and ABC Sports.

For additional information, contact ESPN Outdoors Communications at (334) 551-2375. Great Outdoor Games logos and photos are available at www.espnoutdoorsmedia.com.