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 Thursday, May 4
ESPN.com's "Industry Firsts"
 ESPN.com has been the trailblazer in Internet sports since its launch in April 1995 as ESPNET SportsZone. In addition to delivering immediate sports information, ESPN.com has pioneered new applications using breakthrough technology, thus enabling sports fans to enhance and extend their experience of sports. The following are a few examples of the "industry firsts" that can still be found on ESPN.com and ESPN Internet Group properties.

ESPN GameCast, the only application of its kind on the Internet, creates a powerful union of the extensive databases available on ESPN.com with the unpredictable action and excitement of live sporting events.

Fans around the world can follow their favorite teams play-by-play or pitch-by-pitch surrounded by statistics, player profiles, match-up analysis, summaries and more. GameCast is offered on ESPN.com for every Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association game. RaceCast is available on NASCAR Online.

ESPN.com was the first major sports site to offer fantasy games for football, basketball, baseball and hockey, with LIVE Drafts, Head-2-Head scoring systems, superior game play and FREE transactions throughout the entire season. The franchise fee for a team is $29.95. ESPN.com also offers a host of free games, including the largest online tournament, the NCAA“ Men's Tournament Challenge Presented By Pizza Hut and Courtyard by Marriott. This year's Tournament Challenge attracted more than 570,000 players. Other free games include Baseball Challenge, The NASCAR Championship Challenge and Pigskin Pick'em.

ESPN.com NHL Rules! presents the first opportunity ever to interact with on-air analysts and athletes during a game. While the action occurs on the ice, ESPN's on-air hosts answer ESPN.com user questions pertaining to the game and its rules and players. NHL Rules! also provides fans with an extensive glossary of NHL terms, rules and penalty explanations for a better understanding of the sport. NHL Rules! premiered during the Colorado-Chicago game on January 9, 2000, and attracted more than 10,000 questions in less than three hours. ESPN.com and NHL.com took the feature one step further at the NHL All-Star Game on February 6, 2000, when NHL Rules! also chatted with NHL players while play was in progress. On March 14, NHL Rules! attracted some 16,000 user questions.

As part of its X Games and Winter X Games coverage, ESPN.com offers the X Games Raw Webcast and the 360-degree live Webcam, as well as a live televised chat room crawl on late-night ESPN X Games telecasts. X Games Raw allows fans to view the action from ESPN's live feeds coming into its broadcast center from Mount Snow, Vermont. The unique footage, accompanied by X Games music, give an up-close-and-personal window on the extreme-sports world.

ESPN.com offers the most impressive array of in-depth Java features to display statistical information catering to the hardcore fan.
  • MLB Hit Charts: This interactive database lets you plot the complete hitting records of every major league player. For example, fans can see where every Ken Griffey Jr. hit landed within the last eight seasons against right handers.
  • NFL Depth Charts: NFL Depth Charts list the top two players by name at every position for each team. The charts are updated regularly showing who's slated for action, who's hurting, and who's riding the pine. NFL Depth Charts now reside within NFL.com's GameDay Live coverage.
  • Batter vs. Pitcher: This Java applet gives fans information previously only available to managers. Pit any pitcher against any hitter in any ballpark such as Sammy Sosa hitting against Greg Maddux in Wrigley Field.
  • DraftTracker: With so much movement in such a short period of time at the NFL and NBA Drafts, it can be hard to keep on top of it all. DraftTracker is a real-time application allowing fans to see who went where, when and why.
  • Sortable Stats: The most comprehensive source of player performance information. Fans can rank players overall or by position, in numerous statistical categories - both basic and arcane.
  • MedalTracker: First introduced in the 1996 Summer Olympics, ESPN.com's MedalTracker allows Olympic fans to take stock of the precious medal distribution and sort by country, by sport, by medal and by athlete.

    Fans can now get an inside look to teams' playbooks with ESPN.com's Coach's Edge. In this behind-the-scenes feature, key plays are diagramed and executed through animated Shockwave with play-by-play and expert analysis. The feature debuted on ESPN.com for the 2000 NCAA March Madness and can also be found on NBA.com.

    For fast and easy access to the top stories of the day, ESPN.com introduced these tabs to allow fans to view the day's top stories by sport or event, directly from the site's front page.

    One of the essential components of a sports fan's day is knowing the latest scores - at any given moment. ESPN.com brought this to fans first through the debut of ScorePost in February 1996, allowing fans to get continuously updated scores delivered to their desktop. The next phase of real-time scores was introduced with ScoreTracker. ScoreTracker is a Java-based scoreboard automatically updating every time the score changes. Every score is linked to detailed coverage of the game, providing the whole story when the action starts to heat up.