The Importance Of The ‘Wow’ Factor


In the photo above, SportsEvents’ Christy Raley is pictured at left with Disney Sports’ Darrell Fry and Raquel Giorgio.

By Christy Raley, SportsEvents Magazine,

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with Disney Sports’ Darrell Fry, sports media director, and Raquel Giorgio, sports media manager.

During our meeting, we toured the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility at Disney World. It was an experience I will not forget.

Right away, I felt the wow factor. The Wide World of Sports facility combines two of the world’s most recognized and respected brands into a complex that hosts more than 350 events and 350,000+ athletes from more than 70 countries each year.

What makes this complex so unique is the focus on providing outstanding hospitality and personal attention to participants and their families.

For example, from the moment teams arrive at the complex, coaches and players drop off their sports equipment at the front entrance to have it delivered promptly to their field or venue.

While I was there, an Amateur Athletics Union (AAU) gymnastics competition was in progress. I noticed professional photographers strategically positioned throughout the arena. Disney provides this service during competition so the parents can enjoy their child’s game or competition to the fullest. At the end of the day, parents could purchase their child’s photos. A really special touch!

There’s also an ESPN Production Center on site that houses an Innovation Lab where new on-air products are tested on some of the athletes playing at the complex. How cool would it be for a child athlete to say they were a part of a new product launched on ESPN TV?

Every part of this 230-acre complex is designed to give parents, coaches and athletes their “I’m going to Disney World” wow factor moment.

To me, every child deserves to have this feeling at some point in their life, and for those fortunate enough to play in this complex, I guarantee they will leave with a feeling they will never forget, regardless of whether they won or lost their games.

Thanks again to the Disney Sports Public Relations team for taking the time to visit with us and giving me a “behind-the-scenes” look at this incredible facility.

I can’t wait to come back and take in a game!

For more information on Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, log on to, ESPN Wide World of Sports on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter at @DisneySports.