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America Supports You: ESPN Sponsors E-Cards

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2005 – Walk into almost any U.S. military dining facility in the Middle East, and chances are ESPN will be playing somewhere.

Now TeamESPN is repaying servicemembers' loyalty and has joined with many other companies, organizations and individuals as part of a Defense Department program called America Supports You.

"We saw this as an opportunity we had to let military people know just how much we appreciate what they are doing," said Paul Melvin, a spokesman for the all-sports network.

The company has consistently supported American servicemembers. ESPN sponsored "Jocks to GIs," a program that paired athletes and servicemembers as e-mail pals. The network also sent thousands of copies of "ESPN: The Magazine" to deployed servicemembers.

On the broadcast side, ESPN's popular show "SportsCenter" set up shop in Kuwait and broadcast from the area. Thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watched the live shows.

The pairing with America Supports You is a natural to the Bristol, Conn.-based company, Melvin said. "While it's a way for ESPN to show its appreciation, it's also a chance for our fans to show their appreciation to men and women deployed overseas," he said.

America Supports You is a DoD program that connects citizens and servicemembers. Fans on ESPN.com will be able to send a sports-themed "E-Card" to a friend or family member serving in the armed forces, or post a general message of support that will appear on the America Supports You site on the World Wide Web.

ESPN.com is one of the world's leading sports sites. It averages 15 million "unique users" per month, Melvin said.

Melvin said he doesn't know how or if the partnership will expand. "We have no specific plans," he said. "But TeamESPN is always looking for ways to add to the site."

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