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Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport...

The thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat...

The human drama of athletic competition...

This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!
—Jim McKay's intro to Wide World Of Sports

ABC's Wide World Of Sports was a sports anthology series that ran from 1961 to 1998. Originally tapped to be a filler for the 1961 summer season, it became an unexpected hit, spawning multiple imitators and several notable spin-offs. The goal of the show was to showcase sports from around the globe. It originally ran for ninety minutes on Saturday afternoons, and featured two or three sports per show. These included many types not normally seen on American television, such as hurling, rodeo, curling, jai-alai, firefighter's competitions, surfing, logger sports, demolition derby and badminton. NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup racing was a Wide World of Sports staple until the late 1980s. Traditional Olympic sports such as figure skating, skiing, gymnastics, and track and field competitions were also regular features of the show. The broadcast was hosted for most of its history by Jim McKay.

Wide World of Sports helped to put ABC Sports (and its producer, Roone Arledge) on the map in the '60s, paving the way for the network's later success in such ventures as Monday Night Football. The show's popularity led to other networks rolling out similarly-formatted programs, including CBS's Sports Spectacular and NBC's Sportsworld. None of the imitations ever achieved Wide World's ratings or iconic status, however.

In the late '90s, the rise of ESPN--which was established by ABC essentially as 24-hour Wide World--and other cable outlets removed much of Wide World's appeal, leading to its eventual cancellation in 1998. The brand occasionally shows back up for special broadcasts (as was the case for the 2008 Belmont Stakes, which used the Wide World title as a tribute to the recently deceased Jim McKay). In February 2010, Disney and ESPN opened the Wide World Of Sports Complex at Disney World, a multi-sport complex for both amateur sports and special events.

Has nothing to do with the Nine Network's branding of its sports coverage.

Wide World Of Sports contained examples of:

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