The annual ESPY Awards, an industry-wide celebration of achievement in sports, have been moved from February to July. Each year starting in 2002, the event will take place the night after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. As a result, the 10th Annual ESPY Awards, originally scheduled for Feb. 4, 2002, will now take place July 10, 2002 and will be televised by ESPN.
"We've enjoyed great success in February," ESPN President George Bodenheimer said, "but long-term we believe this move will make the ESPYs more accessible for athletes to attend and fans to enjoy, given the traditionally light sports calendar on that date. 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."
The Super Bowl, originally scheduled for Jan. 27, 2002, was recently moved to Feb. 3, one day before the ESPYs' original schedule date. The inaugural ESPY Awards in 1993 was held in March, while each of the last eight ESPYs has been staged in February.
* The concept of the ESPY Awards and what they recognize will not change with the July move.
* Based on the new schedule, for 2002 only, sports that have completed two full seasons since the last ESPY Awards (February 2001) –e.g. NBA, NHL, college basketball — will recognize individual winners for each season.
* In 2002 only, categories encompassing multiple sports will pit nominees from the entire 18-month window since the 2001 ESPYs. In some instances, categories may include nominees from the same sport in different seasons (e.g. — 2000-1 Lakers could be nominated against the 2001-2 NBA Champion in the "Outstanding Team" category).
* The ESPY Awards Academy will select the winners and is comprised of a select group of hall of fame athletes and coaches plus nationally recognized print and broadcast sports journalists.
* The new schedule will allow for February Winter Olympic recognition in 2002.
There are more than 30 ESPY Award categories. In addition to sport-specific categories, the ESPY Award is the only award that crosses all sports, including Outstanding Male and Female Athlete, Outstanding Coach/Manager and Breakthrough Athlete. In addition, the ESPYs also present the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award plus the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 2002 site has yet to be determined.