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ESPN’s SportsCenter to Visit 2005 Little League Baseball World Series

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (June 27, 2005) – As part of ESPN’s “SportsCenter Across America: 50-states-in-50-days” summer tour, the 59th Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa., will host SportsCenter on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

The 50-States-in-50-Days initiative will begin on Sunday, July 17 in Boston when the World Champion Red Sox play the New York Yankees. For the next 49 days each U.S. state will host SportsCenter at a site and sporting event unique to its state. The 2005 Little League Baseball World Series, Aug. 19-28, will represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“The Little League World Series has had a productive working relationship with the ESPN family of networks for several years,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “For ESPN to select Williamsport, home of the Little League Baseball World Series, as the prime sporting event for the state of Pennsylvania, is representative of the respect and tradition Little League has established in the United States, and around the world.”

In 2005, ESPN and ESPN2 will televise 29 of 32 Little League Baseball World Series games, and will carry all eight of the U.S. Regional Championship finals in the Little League Baseball division. The U.S. regional finals have been televised by ESPN2 every year since 1997.

The two semifinal games of the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore., will be televised in August on ESPN2, with the championship game airing on ESPN. The championship games of the Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, Mich., and the Big League Softball World Series in Kalamazoo, Mich., will each air on ESPN2, bringing the total number of Little League games televised nationally this August to 42.

Each “SportsCenter Across America” segment will originate from a mobile SportsCenter set with an anchor and live audience. The daily segments will include event action, historical notes, factoids and vignettes about each state’s contribution to the national sports scene. At the Little League Baseball World Series, a stage will be built on the second tier beyond the left field wall at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. The show will air live at 6 p.m., and via tape at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

SportsCenter debuted on the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) on Sept. 7, 1979, and on a monthly basis is viewed by as many as 88 million people. As ESPN’s first show, SportsCenter is the longest-running sports news show on television, airing its 25,000th show on Aug. 25, 2002. It remains television’s only nightly, one-hour sports news program.

Other baseball/softball events and locations on the “SportsCenter Across America” tour include: July 18, Manchester, N.H. - Akron Aeros vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats Eastern League baseball game; July 20, Dyersville, Iowa – “Field of Dreams” built for 1988 Kevin Costner movie; Aug. 2, St. Louis, Mo. – Florida Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals; Aug. 9, Atlanta, Ga. – San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves; Aug 16, Winsooki, Vt. – Tri-City Valley Cats vs. Vermont Expos New York-Penn League baseball game; Aug. 19, Wilmington, Del. – Lynchburg Hillcats vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks Carolina League baseball game; Aug. 22, Chicago – Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs; Aug. 24, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. – Armed Forces women’s softball; Aug. 29, Salt Lake City, Utah – Colorado Springs Sky Sox vs. Salt Lake Stingers Pacific Coast League baseball game.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.