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January 20, 2004

New Section Focuses on Crossover of Sports and Pop Culture

Crossover. Allen Iverson's crossover is legendary. But when it comes to the crossover between sports and entertainment, perhaps hip hop mogul Jay Z - with his ultra-hip sports bar and his own shoe deal - comes to mind. That intersect - between sports and pop-culture - is everywhere today and is the focus of ESPN.com's new section, Page 3. Launched today, Page 3 (http://www.espn.com/page3/index.html) builds on the popularity of elements examining the worlds of both sports and entertainment, which have been previously found on the site's popular Page 2.

With roots in Page 2, the new Page 3 will differentiate itself by focusing exclusively on the two often-overlapping spheres of sports and scene. Page 2 will remain as the place that ESPN.com turns an edgy, humorous eye towards the world of sports. Page 3, incorporating some of the pop-culture-centered elements originally found on Page 2, will also now be on deck to talk to the Cavaliers' Darius Miles about his upcoming movie debut, or to give the low-down on a new CD featuring an athlete as a guest performer. Want to know about Justin Timberlake in the NBAE (Entertainment) League or movie producer Bobby Farrelly's "two frosty-ones" custom goalie helmet at the NHL All-Star Celebrity Challenge? That's Page 3.

"The crossover between celebrity and sport is enormous," said Neal Scarbrough, vice president and editor in chief, ESPN.com. "Actors want to be athletes, athletes want to be actors, and all of them want to be rock stars. We've enjoyed a lot of success with that marriage on Page 2 and in ESPN The Magazine. So with Page 3, we want to give that content its own separate arena, while letting Page 2 continue its edgy, funny, sports-centered personality. Along the way, we think that the non-traditional sports fans will continue to find engaging content and plenty of reasons to come back to ESPN.com."

What's On Page 3
On Page 3, fans can find a wide range of recurring and feature content, including:
  • 10 Burning Questions - In the first week, Ashton Kutcher, James Gandolfini, Darius Miles and Dennis Rodman all sit down to talk with ESPN.com;
  • Page 3 Original Columns - Original columns such as "The 100 Greatest Sports Moments from The Simpsons," "Super Fan Showdown: Jack vs. Spike" and "An Athletes Guide to SNL;"
  • Take Me Out - A regular feature, "Take Me Out" gives fans the best seat at the game - right next to some of their favorite athletes and stars. Whether sitting courtside with Spike or getting Shaq out of his element for a cricket match, "Take Me Out" lets fans live vicariously through and hob-nob with the biggest names at the game;
  • How Good Were They - Actor Charlie Sheen is the first under the microscope in this regular feature, examining how good (or bad) prominent celebrities were as athletes, prior to stardom;
  • Clicker Picker Bracket - Brackets have proven a fan favorite on Page 2, so in its first week, Page 3 will ask fans to decide the outcome of such "clicker" showdowns as OC vs. The West Wing, Real World vs. Celebrity Mole and Alias vs. Law & Order;
  • F2F - "Fan2Fan, Face2Face" - A mutually admiring celebrity and athlete will pair up and each interview the other;
  • Playlist - Want to know why the Cavaliers' Eric Williams thinks Harlem Nights is a must-have DVD? Or what CSI star Gary Dourdan listens to when he's driving? Check "Playlist" to get the low-down on what tunes are packing the iPods and stereos of sports and screen stars.

Page 3 and the Mazda 3
At its launch, Page 3's exclusive advertiser is Mazda, whose advertising is aimed at getting the word out about a "3" of its own: the new Mazda 3.

"ESPN has proven to be a valuable marketing partner for Mazda with successful programs over the last two years," said Eric Johnston, director of marketing, Mazda USA. "Page 3 provides an ideal forum to continue to communicate Mazda's message to our core target audience."

Added Riley McDonough, vice president, advertising sales, ESPN.com, "We are thrilled to be able to offer Mazda the chance to showcase their distinctive new Mazda 3 within our new Page 3 section. The impact of both Page 3 and the Mazda 3 will resonate with our large audience, and we're very proud of this unique advertising opportunity."

Who's Saying What on Page 3
"I wish I could play in the NFL. I'm a football freak. I'd be a middle linebacker -- for my Bears, of course. I want Brian Urlacher's job."
         - Actor Ashton Kutcher, on his fantasy of a career as a football player

"A very loud one."
         - Movie mega-star Bruce Willis, on what kind of soccer dad he is.

"It's fun. I'm glad I chose to do it. At first, I didn't want to. But I'm glad I chose to do it. But movies are it. I ain't no rapper or nothing. I'll leave that for everyone else to do."
         - Cavaliers' forward Darius Miles, on his recent debut as an actor.

"Well, [the Celebrity Mole producers] came to me with this opportunity to go to Mexico and have some fun. I mean, Mexico is a great place to meet new people and, uh, try new things. So they asked if I'd want to go and I was, like, yeah."
         - Dennis Rodman, on why agreed to participate in Celebrity Mole