ESPN Looks for ESPY Boost

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For years, ESPN’s award show, the ESPYs, went up against the opening night of USA’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. And, in a dog-eat-statue contest, USA won paws down. In 2001, ESPN bowed out of the competition, moving the awards to another night. But ratings continued to dive.

Now ESPN is hoping a hat trick of fan-based voting, pumped-up highlight reels and a Sunday run will boost the July 18 show.

Red-carpet interviews and backstage footage will be added in post-production. Says an ESPN rep: “People are as interested in who wins as seeing the athletes out of their uniforms.” Just promise to keep the clothes on the Raiders’ defensive line.

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