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Fans to decide all 2004 ESPY Award winners  

ESPN Release

For the first time in the 12-year history of the ESPY Awards, fans will determine the winners in all categories, it was announced today by Ron Semiao, senior vice president, ESPN Original Entertainment. The move to complete fan voting, which coincides with ESPN25's "The Season of the Fan" initiative, represents the second significant enhancement planned for the 2004 ESPY Awards. It was previously revealed that ESPN would televise this year's industry-wide sports celebration in a new Sunday time slot -- Sunday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET. The event will be taped four days earlier at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre -- on Wednesday, July 14.

Actor/comedian Jamie Foxx will return to host the 12th annual ESPY Awards, which will gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances.

Once all ESPY Award nominees are unveiled on The 2004 ESPY Nomination Special (Monday, June 21 from 7-8 p.m. ET on ESPN), online fan voting at ESPN.com will commence for all 34 categories, including 17 individual (sport-specific) awards and 17 cross-cutter awards (pit athletes from different sports against each other). Polls will close July 9 and the winners will be announced on the telecast.

Last year, fan voting was introduced on a limited basis for the first time. Specifically, winners in the 17 individual sport categories were determined by on-line voting. More than five million votes were registered during a 17-day period prior to the ESPY Awards. The cross-cutter winners in 2003 were voted by the ESPY Academy, an industry-wide panel consisting of legendary athletes and coaches as well as nationally recognized print and broadcast journalists. For the Best Play category, fan voting took place throughout the day of the show and continued during the telecast.

"Turning the ESPY Awards over to the fans is completely in line with ESPN's Season of the Fan celebration," Semiao said. "The tremendous response to last year's limited on-line voting plus the potential to develop a more direct connection between athletes and fans led us to this exciting next step. It will create an even more meaningful and distinctive evening for award winners and viewers alike."

There is one minor change to the categories for 2004; Best Action Sports Athlete has been divided to create Best Female Action Sports Athlete and Best Male Action Sports Athlete. The complete list follows:

2004 ESPY AWARDS CATEGORIES

Cross-cutter categories:
Best Female Athlete
Best Male Athlete
Best Team
Best Coach
Best Comeback Athlete
Best Breakthrough Athlete
Best Game
Best Record-Breaking Performance
Best Sports Movie
Best Male College Athlete
Best Female College Athlete
Best Moment
Best Male Action Sports Athlete
Best Female Action Sports Athlete
Best Disabled Athlete
Best Outdoors Sports Athlete
Best Play

Individual categories:
Best MLB Player
Best NBA Player
Best WNBA Player
Best Bowler
Best Boxer
Best Driver
Best NFL Player
Best Male Golfer
Best Female Golfer
Best NHL Player
Best Jockey
Best Male Soccer Player
Best Female Soccer Player
Best Male Tennis Player
Best Female Tennis Player
Best Male Track and Field Athlete
Best Female Track and Field Athlete

In addition, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented annually to individuals whose contributions transcend sports. The ESPY Awards are committed to the advancement of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, established by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano and announced at the inaugural ESPY Awards in 1993.




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