ESPN logo since 1985
|Launched||September 7, 1979|
|Owned by||ESPN Inc.
(The Walt Disney Company, 80%
Hearst Corporation, 20%)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
|Slogan||The Worldwide Leader In Sports|
|Headquarters||Bristol, Connecticut, United States|
ESPN on ABC
209-1 (alternate feed; HD/SD)
|Dish Network||140 (HD/SD)
145, 147 and 148 (alternate feeds)
|Time Warner Cable||300 (HD/SD)|
|Available on other cable providers||Check local listings for channels|
|AT&T U-Verse||1602 (HD)
|Verizon FiOS||570 (HD)
|WatchESPN||Watch live (U.S. cable internet subscribers only)|
ESPN (originally an initialism for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) is a U.S.-based global cable and satellite television channel, that is owned as a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which operates the network, through its 80% ownership interest) and Hearst Corporation (which holds a 20% interest). The channel focuses on sports-related programming including live and recorded event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming.
ESPN broadcasts primarily from studios located in Bristol, Connecticut. The network also operates offices in Miami; New York City; Seattle; Charlotte; and Los Angeles. John Skipper is ESPN's current president, a position he has held since January 1, 2012. While ESPN is one of the most successful sports networks, it has been subject to criticism, which includes accusations of biased coverage, conflict of interest, and controversies with individual broadcasters and analysts.
Founded by Bill Rasmussen, his son Scott Rasmussen and Aetna insurance agent Ed Eagan, ESPN launched on September 7, 1979 in Connecticut, under the direction of Chet Simmons, the network's President and CEO (later the United States Football League's first commissioner). The Getty Oil Company provided funding to begin the new venture via executive Stuart Evey.
ESPN's signature telecast, SportsCenter, debuted with the network and aired its 50,000th episode on September 13, 2012. In early 2009, ESPN opened an office and studio facility in Los Angeles located at L.A. Live, from which the late night edition of SportsCenter is now broadcast. SportsCenter's iconic theme (DaDaDa, DaDaDa) was written by John Colby, a Grammy winning composer, producer and music director.
ESPN launched its high definition simulcast feed, originally branded as ESPNHD, on March 20, 2001. All studio shows based in Bristol and at L.A. Live, along with most live event telecasts, are broadcast by ESPN in high definition. ESPN is one of the few networks with an all-digital infrastructure. Footage from non-HD sources is presented in 4:3 standard definition with stylized pillarboxing. Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn began airing in HD on September 27, 2010, with the relocation of the production of both shows to the building housing the ABC News Washington bureau.
ESPN, as with Disney/ABC's other broadcast and cable networks, uses the 720p HD resolution format because ABC executives proposed a progressive scan signal that resolves fluid and high-speed motion in sports better, particularly during slow-motion replays.
In 2011, ESPNHD began to downplay its distinct promotion logo in preparation for a shift of its standard definition feed from a 4:3 full-screen to a letterboxed format, which occurred on June 1 of that year.
Alongside its live sports broadcasts, ESPN also airs a variety of sports highlight, talk, and documentary styled shows. These include:
- SportsCenter: The flagship program of ESPN, a daily sports news program delivering the latest sports news and highlights
- Around the Horn: Competitive debating between four sports writers across the country
- Baseball Tonight: A daily recap of the day's Major League Baseball stories that airs throughout the baseball season
- College GameDay (basketball): Weekly college basketball show airing from the Saturday Primetime game of the week site
- College GameDay (football): Weekly college football preview show airing from the site of a major college football game
- E:60: An investigative journalism newsmagazine show focusing on American and international sports
- Mike and Mike: A simulcast of ESPN Radio's morning show, focusing on current sports stories
- Monday Night Countdown: Weekly recap show aired on Monday evenings during the NFL season, also serves as the pre-game show for Monday Night Football
- Outside the Lines: Talk and debate show that examines critical sports issues on and off the field of play
- Pardon the Interruption: Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon debate an array of sports topics
- SportsNation: Poll-driven show based on audience participation, including material generated or suggested by viewers
- Sunday NFL Countdown: Weekly preview show that airs on Sunday mornings during the NFL season
- John Skipper: President, ESPN, Inc.
- Sean Bratches: Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing
- Christine Driessen: Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Ed Durso: Executive Vice President, Administration
- Charles Pagano: Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
- Norby Williamson: Executive Vice President, Programming
- Russell Wolff: Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International
- John Wildhack: Executive Vice President, Production
- John Kosner: Executive Vice President, Digital and Print Media
- John A. Walsh: Executive Vice President and Executive Editor
ESPN has received accusations of biased coverage, conflicts of interest, and controversies with individual broadcasters and analysts.
- The Total Sports Network (1979–1985)
- The Number One Sports Network (1985–1991)
- All Sports, All the Time (1991–1994)
- America's No. 1 Sports Network (1994–1998)
- The Worldwide Leader in Sports (1998–present)
A wide variety of national sports networks, as well as networks dedicated to a single sport, have surfaced in recent years.
National sports networks
- Geography lesson: Breaking down the bias in ESPN's coverage, ESPN.com, August 15, 2008.
- Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In – Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- ESPN Yakkers Go HD Next Week TVPredictions.com September 20, 2010.
- "The HD Experience" (PDF). ESPN. Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
- James, Meg (23 November 2011). "John Skipper is promoted to ESPN president". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "SEAN R. H. BRATCHES Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
- "CHRISTINE F. DRIESSEN Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
- "EDWIN M. DURSO Executive Vice President, Administration". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
- "CHUCK PAGANO Executive Vice President, Technology". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
- "NORBY WILLIAMSON Executive Vice President, Studio and Remote Production". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
- "RUSSELL WOLFF Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
- Miller, James Andrew; Tom Shales (2011). Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-04300-7.