The Best Play category began with the top plays of the past sporting year matched up head-to-head in a Round of 16, which fans voted for online. On July 6, the polls closed and the Best Plays were narrowed down to eight remaining contenders. The polls are now open for fans to vote for the Round of 8.
On Wednesday, at the beginning of the live countdown show, the Round of 8 will be further narrowed down to four finalists. Voting will then re-open and fans will be able to vote throughout the live ESPY Awards show for the Best Play winner who will be announced at the end of the evening.
The Round of 8 includes Whitecaps FC striker Eric Hassli vs. 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin, Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Tim Thomas vs. NFL Pro-Bowler DeSean Jackson, Oklahoma State University’s football squad vs. Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, and Anaheim Ducks star Bobby Ryan vs. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Voting for the Round of 8 closes before the show, and Round of 4 voting will open during the ESPY Awards show on July 13.
Fans can vote now for Eric Hassli in the Round of 8 by visiting espn.go.com/espys. Votes will determine if Hassli becomes one of the four finalists for this year’s Best Play award. Visit the same link on July 13 during the ESPY Awards show, which begins at 6 p.m. PT, to vote for the top overall play amongst the four finalists. Follow the latest on Hassli’s ESPY journey on facebook.com/whitecapsfc and twitter.com/whitecapsfc.
"I am looking forward to attending the ESPYS and am grateful for all the support I have received from fans," said Eric Hassli, Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker. "To be nominated for the Best Play award, alongside star athletes from the NHL, NBA, NFL and EPL is very exciting."
"This nomination is an honour for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and is a great way to raise awareness for the sport as well as for MLS," said Bob Lenarduzzi, Vancouver Whitecaps FC president. "The ESPYS are essentially the Oscars for sports, and this is the first ever Best Play nomination for MLS, so we are encouraging all fans to vote for Eric Hassli’s spectacular goal".
The ESPY Awards were started by ESPN in 1993 and have given sports fans from around the world the opportunity to vote online in categories such as Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, Best Coach/Manager and Team of the Year, among others. Since 2004, ESPN personalities such as sportswriters, broadcasters and executives now also partake in the vote. ESPY Award winners are then selected through an online fan balloting system conducted from candidates selected by the ESPY Select Nominating Committee.