An ESPY Award (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) is an accolade presented by the American cable television network ESPN to recognize individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performance during the calendar year preceding a given annual ceremony. The first ESPYs were awarded in 1993. Because of the ceremony’s rescheduling prior to the 2002 iteration thereof, awards presented in 2002 were for achievement and performances during the seventeen-plus previous months. As the similarly styled Grammy (for music), Emmy (for television), Academy Award (for film), and Tony (for theatre), the ESPYs are hosted by a contemporary celebrity; the style, though, is more relaxed, light, and self-referential than that of many other awards shows, with comedic sketches usually included.
From their inception to 2004, ESPY Award winners were chosen only through voting by fans. Since 2004, sportswriters, broadcasters, sports executives, and sportspersons, collectively experts; or ESPN personalities also vote. Award winners have been selected thereafter exclusively through online fan balloting conducted from amongst candidates selected by the ESPY Select Nominating Committee.
The first seven editions of the ESPYs were held in New York City—in 1993 and 1994 at Madison Square Garden and from 1995 through 1999, at Radio City Music Hall. The awards relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, for two years beginning in 2000, and ultimately settled at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. In 2006, it was announced that the awards would move in 2008 to the Nokia Theatre, to be situated as the West Coast headquarters of ESPN at LA Live, adjacent to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.