December 12, 2000
New Zealand Announced as Host Country for Eco-Challenge 2001
- The World’s Premier Expedition Race Heads to Land that Pioneered Multi-sport Competition -
In a combined announcement in Los Angeles, Wellington and New York City, Mark Burnett, founder and Executive Producer of
Eco-Challenge; Jim Anderton, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Gordon Beck, SVP Sports and Production at USA
Network stated today that Eco-Challenge 2001 would take place in New Zealand, the country that pioneered multi-sport
competitions over a decade ago.
Seventy-five, four-person, international teams will converge on New Zealand’s South Island in October, 2001. They will
traverse 400 kilometers of New Zealand’s breathtaking terrain using only non-motorized forms of transportation such as
mountaineering, horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, fixed ropes and pack rafting.
Known for it’s rugged Southern Alps, the South Island is home to the most winning team in Eco-Challenge history as well
as the most experienced group of adventure athletes anywhere. Kiwis have dominated multi-sport competitions worldwide
and many make outdoor adventuring part of their everyday lifestyle.
Eco-Challenge is the world’s premier Expedition Race™, attracting the best expedition athletes from around the world.
Each year it is held in a different remote region of the world. Previous Eco-Challenge races have taken place in Utah,
New England, British Columbia, Australia, Morocco, Argentina, and Malaysian Borneo. New Zealand will mark the 8th annual
“We’ve been looking at New Zealand as a potential site since 1998. This October, an Eco-Challenge survey team scouted
the area and were extremely impressed by the diversity of the terrain and the support of government, the tourism
industry and private sector,” Mark Burnett, Founder and Executive Producer of Eco-Challenge, stated. “We are excited
that New Zealand will be our host for the 2001 event as it is truly a mecca of adventure.”
The Eco-Challenge is being supported by Industry New Zealand with assistance from Tourism New Zealand. Tourism New
Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said the organization welcomed the opportunity to profile New Zealand in the US,
which is one of New Zealand’s key tourism markets.
Gordon Beck, SVP Sports and Production of USA Network stated, “New Zealand provides a perfect environment for the
ultimate challenge to competitors from around the world. As in each Eco-Challenge, the terrain becomes a key character
in the drama of team dynamics and individual self-discovery that USA Network explores in its coverage. For seasoned
adventure racers and novices alike, New Zealand’s dramatic and expansive terrain will test their abilities to push
themselves beyond their limits, physically, mentally and emotionally.” USA Network will air Eco-Challenge Borneo, a
six-hour series from April 1-5 2001 from 8:00 - 9:00 PM ET/PT, with a highlight special on April 10, 10:00-11:00PM
Internationally, Eco-Challenge New Zealand will receive widespread distribution from Columbia TriStar International
Television (CTIT). CTIT will manage the licensing of the sports event to broadcasters overseas. Additionally, the sports
event will air on AXN, CTIT's action and adventure-branded basic cable channel throughout Asia and Latin America, with
targeted feeds in Spain and Israel. AXN is presently seen in 15 countries, reaching over 15 million households.
"We are pleased to continue to offer this highly anticipated sports event to our clients and advertisers," commented
Peter Iacono, Executive Vice President, Sales for CTIT, "and look forward to building on its global appeal."
Discovery Channel Canada is Canada’s top-rated network for viewer satisfaction and will continue to distribute
Eco-Challenge to Canadian viewers, as it has since 1996. Its entertaining and award-winning programs explore the
fascinating worlds of nature, science and technology and adventure. As a producer and broadcaster of documentary
programming, Discovery Channel Canada is internationally recognized for innovation and quality in all areas of the
"Eco-Challenge continues to be one of Discovery Channel's highest-rated and most-anticipated programs, year after year"
said Meg Pinto, Discovery Channel's Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Sales. "Eco-Challenge 2001 presents our
audience with the opportunity not only to witness Canadian and international elite athletes competing, but also to
marvel at New Zealand's spectacular mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, and snaking glaciers."
The Eco-Challenge name and logo are registered trademarks of J. Mark Burnett and may not be reproduced. Eco-Challenge®,
The Expedition Race™, Expedition Racing™ and Expedition Competition™ and all associated logos and service marks are all
trademarks or registered trademarks of J. Mark Burnett in the United States and/or other countries.
USA Network, owned and operated by USA Cable, a division of USA Networks, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:USAI) Entertainment unit, is
cable television’s leading provider of original series and feature movies, sports events, off-net television shows and
blockbuster theatrical films. USA Network is available in 78% of all U.S. homes, and is seen in more than 80 million
U.S. homes. The USA Network Web site is located at www.usanetwork.com.
For more information on Eco-Challenge, please visit our website at www.ecochallenge.com.
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