With the swing of a bat, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort officially opened 15 years ago today. It was an Atlanta Braves spring training game under the lights against the Cincinnati Reds that featured the likes of superstar Deion Sanders, Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and former All-Star Fred “Crime Dog’’ McGriff.
Were you there?
Back then, the place was called Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. But over the last decade and a half, the venue has undergone extraordinary growth, including being re-imagined with the ESPN brand, and today stands as the leading multi-sports venue in the nation for youth and pro athletes.
In all, more than 200,000 athletes, coaches and fans visit the 270-acre complex each year to compete in more than 350 different events, which over the years have included Tampa Bay Bucs training camp, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Major League Baseball Draft, the World Cheerleading Championships and the Pop Warner Super Bowl.
To mark today’s 15th anniversary, here’s my unofficial look at some of the most memorable moments in the sports complex’s history:
See the posts below for another look at just a few of the past events held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:
- Stars of NFL Gridiron Show Off Their Arms at the Walt Disney World Resort
- Kick It with MLS Stars at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic
- First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates Second Anniversary of ‘Let’s Move!,’ Disney Magic of Healthy Living at ESPN Wide World of Sports