|Format||Sports news program|
|Created by||John A. Walsh|
|Presented by||See SportsCenter Anchors and Reporters|
|Theme music composer||Annie Roboff|
|Opening theme||"SportsCenter Theme"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||50,000+|
|Location(s)||Bristol, Connecticut (daytime and evening editions)
Los Angeles, California (overnight editions)
|Running time||60 to 120 minutes depending on content|
|Original channel||ESPN, ESPNEWS|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),
|Original run||September 7, 1979– present|
SportsCenter is a daily sports news television program and the flagship program of American cable and satellite television network ESPN since the network's launch on September 7, 1979. Originally broadcast only daily, SportsCenter is now shown up to twelve times a day, replaying the day's scores and highlights from major sporting events, along with commentary, previews and feature stories. The show has aired more than 50,000 unique episodes, more than any other program on American television, and is shot in ESPN's high definition studio facilities in Bristol, Connecticut and Los Angeles, California.
SportsCenter normally airs live on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, as well as at 6 p.m. (typically 60 or 90 minutes), 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET (typically 60 minutes each). The 1 a.m. edition is often repeated at 2 a.m. ET and again from 5-9 a.m. ET.
On Sundays, an hour-long episode airs at 8 a.m. ET and another edition of varying length airs at 10 a.m. ET; the 11 p.m. ET edition airs for 90 minutes on Sundays and is repeated through the night. In the event of live sports coverage on the network, the show is occasionally delayed or moved to another ESPN channel. The show also is known to start early and run long, if the preceding game ends ahead of schedule or if breaking news warrants. The 1 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter has been broadcast live from Los Angeles since 2013, and repeats throughout the night.
The early evening edition of SportsCenter at 6 PM ET averaged 665,000 viewers through 6/30/13, an 8% decline from 2012.
The prime time 11 PM ET SportsCenter averaged 870,000 viewers through 6/30, down 21% from 2012.
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (July 2012)|
SportsCenter was conceived and created by executive editor John A. Walsh.
George Grande introduced the country to ESPN when he co-anchored the first episode of SportsCenter on September 7, 1979. Co-anchoring was Lee Leonard, a longtime New York broadcaster. According to Entertainment Weekly, Leonard said as the show opened: "If you're a fan, what you will see in the next minutes, hours, and days to follow may convince you that you've gone to sports heaven." Grande spent ten more years with ESPN and SportsCenter until 1989. Another early addition to the show was Chris Berman, who joined ESPN a month after its debut and became a fixture of SportsCenter until the early 1990s, when his main efforts became focused on the network's NFL coverage and Baseball Tonight; however, Berman remains a part of the program including occasionally hosting. Bob Ley also began anchoring early in the show's history and still regularly appears on the Sunday morning SportsCenter, in addition to hosting Outside the Lines.
In 1988, the format was changed by Walsh from individual sports or leagues to "newspaper style." As a result, the program began to air stories based on their importance regardless of the sport.
Early graphics and music included various kinds of sports balls flying outward, featuring a rapid-fire electronic audio track that was a version of "Pulstar", by Vangelis. By the early 1990s, the first of several theme songs to incorporate ESPN's trademark six-note fanfare (often referred to as sounding in the manner of "duh-nuh-nuh, duh-nuh-nuh") was in use. The current theme music was composed by Annie Roboff, who also co-wrote Faith Hill's 1998 hit "This Kiss".
The 11 p.m. anchor team of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann achieved great popularity during the late 1980s and the 1990s (interrupted by Olbermann's brief move to ESPN's spin-off channel ESPN2 at that channel's launch). After Olbermann left ESPN in 1997, Kenny Mayne became Patrick's co-host; when Patrick moved to the 6:00 p.m. edition, Rich Eisen and Stuart Scott became the primary anchor team.
In 2001, Toronto-based Bell Globemedia and ESPN (which received a minority stake) jointly acquired the Canadian sports network TSN. As part of its shift to ESPN-influenced branding, it renamed its own sports news program SportsDesk to SportsCentre – using the same introductions and theme music as the ESPN version, except with its title rendered using Canadian spelling.
September 11, 2001
On September 11, 2001, ESPN interrupted regular programming at 11:05 a.m. Eastern Time to cover the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon, and the aborted related hijacking-turned-plane crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania through a simulcast of sister network ABC's news coverage. ESPN considered shelving that night's editions of SportsCenter, and management debated the topic for about an hour. Finally, a half-hour version was broadcast which reported on the impact the attacks had on the sports world, announcing the cancellations of major U.S. sporting events that had been announced up to that time.
SportsCenter began broadcasting in high definition on June 7, 2004. Along with the conversion, came a new set designed by Walt Disney Imagineering (situated in a studio at ESPN's new "Digital Center"), and a new graphics package entitled "Revolution" that was designed by Troika Design Group. During that summer, ESPN celebrated its 25th anniversary, by counting down the top 100 moments of the past 25 years. The program showed the countdown every day starting May 31, 2004, until the #1 moment, the United States men's national ice hockey team's victory over the USSR during the 1980 Winter Olympics, was aired on September 7, 2004.
During the summer of 2005, SportsCenter premiered a segment called "50 States in 50 Days", where a different SportsCenter anchor traveled to a different state each day to discover the sports, sports history, and athletes of the state.
On April 4, 2006, SportsCenter began to show highlights of Major League Baseball games in progress, the permission to do such was previously exclusive to another ESPN program, Baseball Tonight; the in-progress highlights are shown in the "Baseball Tonight Extra" segment. Prior to that date, video footage from MLB games was not shown on any SportsCenter broadcasts until the games were completed.
On February 11, 2007, after the NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns, SportsCenter aired its 30,000th broadcast, which was anchored by Steve Levy and Stuart Scott. In that milestone show, Bob Ley recapped events (and bloopers) from the first 10,000 shows, Chris Berman did the same during the middle 10,000, as did Dan Patrick during the remaining 10,000. ESPN also debuted the SportsCenter Minute, a one-minute SportsCenter update that is streamed exclusively on ESPN.com.
On May 6, 2007, another major change to SportsCenter was introduced on that night's 11 p.m. Eastern Time edition, with the debut of a "rundown" graphic appearing on the right third of the screen. This feature originally appeared only during reruns of the overnight show on Monday through Saturdays and on the main Sunday night telecast; on ESPNHD, it filled the right pillarbox where the ESPNHD logo would usually appear during standard definition footage.
The 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter moved up one hour to 5 p.m. ET on May 28, 2007, and was, for the first time ever, expanded to three hours. During that edition, ESPN aired live coverage of Roger Clemens's second start for the New York Yankees' minor league club in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The 11 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on August 7, 2007, which was anchored by John Buccigross and Cindy Brunson, showed live coverage of Barry Bonds's 756th career home run, which broke the old MLB record set by Hank Aaron (ESPN was carrying the game live on ESPN2).
2008 daytime expansion
On August 11, 2008, during the opening week of the Beijing Olympic Games, SportsCenter began airing live from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. The original plan was to start the live block at 6 a.m.; however, the network decided to scale it back before the expansion came to pass.
Former NBC Sports reporter and anchor of CBS's The Early Show Hannah Storm joined that year ESPN to host the 9 a.m. to noon block. The new format included two teams of two anchors in three-hour shifts:
- 9 a.m. - Noon ET: Kevin Negandhi (originally Josh Elliott) and Hannah Storm
- Noon - 3 p.m. ET: Jay Crawford (originally Robert Flores, then John Buccigross) and Chris McKendry
This change also included a new SportsCenter.com website to promote more interaction with viewers. The SportsCenter.com site was launched on August 11, 2008. To promote these changes, ESPN held a casting of their employees to see who would be on almost 25 live and unscripted commercials a day. Steve Braband, an International Programmer, won, and was seen about every half-hour (excluding from 2 to 5 p.m. ET) on ESPN. Additionally, the website steveislive.com was launched, featuring Braband's daily appearance schedule, blog, and video clips of past appearances and audition footage.
Starting with the 9 a.m.-noon ET edition (which was anchored by Hannah Storm and Sage Steele), SportsCenter debuted a new graphics package on April 6, 2009, with the "rundown" graphic (shown during the daytime editions) moved to the left side of the screen. A new BottomLine was also unveiled that day on four of the five ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic and ESPNU), although it was quickly removed and reverted to the old BottomLine design (which had been in use since April 2003) due to an equipment failure (however, this ticker was operational for the 2009 NFL Draft and the 2009 NBA Draft). The problem was later fixed and the new BottomLine returned on July 8.
April 6, 2009 also saw the launch and expansion of SportsCenter's production to the West Coast. The 1 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter now airs live from ESPN's production facilities in the newly constructed L.A. Live complex just across from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The set is virtually identical to the main facilities in Bristol and would be produced as simply another edition of the program. Neil Everett and Stan Verrett are the primary anchors for the Los Angeles-based editions of SportsCenter.
The 2009 U.S. Open Golf Championship, which was repeatedly delayed due to weather, aired on both NBC and ESPN. Portions of ESPN's broadcast, including the early parts of the Monday final round, were presented as SportsCenter, specifically "SportsCenter at the U.S. Open" which is similar to segments within the show with nightly highlights and analysis that originate from the event locations, much like "SportsCenter at the Super Bowl" and "SportsCenter at the World Series", among others.
In August 2009, Robert Flores, co-anchor of the noon-3pm ET SportsCenter, was replaced on that block with John Buccigross. A completely redesigned sportscenter.com Web site was launched 2009-11-16. On March 1, 2010, European ESPN channel ESPN America began airing a special European edition of SportsCenter, anchored by Michael Kim. The 30-minute program ran five days a week at 6 a.m. UK/7 a.m. CET, with a repeat showing at 10.30 p.m. UK/11.30 p.m. CET.
On August 30, 2010, ESPN began broadcasting an additional seven hours of SportsCenter each weekday for ESPNEWS, airing from 3-6 p.m. and 7-11 p.m. Eastern Time. By late 2010, the "rundown" graphic had expanded to all editions of SportsCenter. On April 22, 2011, Josh Elliott, original and main co-anchor of the 9 a.m.-noon ET block of SportsCenter, left ESPN to become news anchor for ABC's Good Morning America and was replaced on the late morning block of the program by Kevin Negandhi.
By mid-2011, shortly after ESPN and ESPN2 both switched to a 16:9 letterbox format (in compliance with the #10 AFD code) on their primary standard definition feeds, SportsCenter began showing the entire high-definition footage and standard-definition footage (with the ESPN logo on both pillarboxes). That required the letterboxed image to be shrunk in order for it to display in that manner, with the "rundown" graphic continuing to be seen on the left side of the screen.
In April 2012, the European edition of SportsCenter seen on ESPN America expanded from five to seven days a week with a new start time of 8 a.m. UK/9 a.m. CET. At the same time, the localized version that was previously produced was discontinued and was replaced with an edited version of the 2 a.m. ET telecast from Los Angeles, cut to fit a 45-minute time block through the removal of commercial breaks and stories on European sports such as soccer. The program began to be repeated at 8.45 a.m., 4 p.m. and 4.45 p.m. (UK time).
On August 25 of that year, the BottomLine was used to acknowledge the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. It was reportedly only the fifth of six times that an outside news event not involving an athlete was reported on the ticker, alongside the news of the September 11 attacks, the death of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks in 2005, the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2008, the Death of Osama Bin Laden, and the death of former South African president Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013.
On December 3, 2012, Lindsay Czarniak became the main co-anchor of the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. On February 8 and 9, 2013, the 11 p.m. ET editions of SportsCenter on both nights were broadcast from Los Angeles, due to a massive snowstorm in the Northeastern United States (affecting ESPN's headquarters in Bristol). Stan Verrett anchored both editions from the network's Los Angeles studios.
In late March, David Lloyd and Sage Steele, both of whom were previously co-anchors of the weekend morning editions, moved to the 1-3 p.m. ET weekday block. The current daytime format, which was implemented that month, now features three teams of two anchors in two-hour shifts, which consists of the following:
- 9-11 a.m. ET: Hannah Storm and Kevin Neghandi
- 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET: Chris McKendry and Jay Crawford
- 1-3 p.m. ET: David Lloyd and Sage Steele
On June 21, 2013, a large LED high definition monitor, which is seen behind the main anchor desk, was added to the SportsCenter set in the network's main facilities in Bristol.
Anchors and reporters
As of September 2013, the following anchors appear on the weekday broadcasts of SportsCenter:
- 9-11 a.m. ET: Kevin Negandhi and Hannah Storm or Sara Walsh
- 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET: Jay Crawford and Chris McKendry
- 1-3 p.m. ET: Sage Steele and David Lloyd
- 3-6 p.m. ET: various (ESPNEWS)
- 6-7 p.m. ET: Lindsay Czarniak or Sara Walsh or Linda Cohn and John Anderson or Kevin Connors (and 7pm-8pm on ESPNEWS)
- 8-11 p.m. ET: various (ESPNEWS)
- 11 p.m.-12 a.m. ET: Scott Van Pelt or Steve Levy or Adnan Virk or John Buccigross or Jay Harris
- 1-2 a.m. ET: Neil Everett and Stan Verrett (Los Angeles)
Conditions to showing highlights
Some sports leagues and organizations, including the NBA, NHL and college athletic conferences, allow for brief highlights to be shown while a game is in progress. Major League Baseball allows them only as part of the Baseball Tonight Extra segments seen within the SportsCenter broadcasts. The NFL does not allow highlights of games already in-progress at all, outside of its own live game broadcasts.
ESPN is traditionally unable to air highlights of Olympic Games events until after the events have aired on tape-delay on the broadcast network (or networks if the contracted broadcaster airs various events on related cable television channels) holding the national television rights. ESPN began to show more Olympics highlights on-air and online beginning with the 2006 Winter Olympics; they received these extended rights from NBC as part of the deal that saw ABC release Al Michaels from his contract, in order to join John Madden and key production personnel for the new NBC Sunday Night Football (this same deal gave back the Walt Disney-produced Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoons that were originally distributed by Universal).
In addition, there are many anecdotal reports of various television networks (such as CBS Sports and NBC Sports) that will not release highlights of certain sporting events to ESPN, unless its name is labeled on-screen for the entire length of the highlight (for example, "Courtesy NBC Sports").
As of 2007, ESPN no longer displays the actual name of the NASCAR Nationwide Series or Sprint Cup Series race during highlights of such (for example, the "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" was referred to as the "Brickyard 400 pres. by Golden Corral"), unless the title sponsor of the race is paid for to the network. A similar stipulation also applies to the network's Izod IndyCar Series coverage.
- BassCenter (2003–2006)
- ScoreCenter on ESPN MobileTV (2007–present)
- SportsCenterU (2006–present)
- X Center (2005–present)
- Ome Center (2009–present)
- ESPNews (a 24-hour sports news network from ESPN)
- ESPN3 (an interactive home for sports fans)
- SportsCenter Asia (the Asian version of SportsCenter)
- SportsCentre (the Canadian version of SportsCenter)
- pt:SportsCenter Brasil (the Brazilian version of SportsCenter; the program has recently reached 3,000 broadcasts)
- SportsCenter Australia (the Australian version of SportsCenter)
- Fox Sports Live - a nightly sports news program on Fox Sports 1; direct competitor to SportsCenter
- The 'Lights - a daily sports highlight program on NBCSN, that differs from SportsCenter as it uses voiceovers for presenting highlights in lieu of on-camera anchors
- Jeansonne, John (2002-04-21). "SportsCenter' creator is highlight himself: ESPN visionary Walsh full of incongruity, like show". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- Entertainment Weekly, 8 September 2000, p. 94.
- Roboff, Annie. "Official Annie Roboff Home Page". Archived from the original on 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- This is SportsCenter
- Sports Illustrated, Sep. 24, 2001. This episode also honored all the fallen people that were killed on this day.
- 50 States in 50 Days
- "ESPN whittles down 'SportsCenter' in daytime".[dead link]
- Hiestand, Michael (2008-06-20). "Karolyi to keep Costas Company". USA Today. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "SportsCenter to air live in mornings starting Aug. 11; Storm joins ESPN". ESPN.com. 2008-05-13.
- Plunkett, John (February 8, 2010). "ESPN to launch European edition of SportsCenter". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- Fang's Bites (2010-08-09). "SportsCenter Expands 7 Hours And Airs On ESPNews". Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- Associated Press report, Jan. 18, 2006
- pt:SportsCenter 3000
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: SportsCenter|
- Official site
- Official SportsCenter TV show page
- Official ESPN site
- Sportscenter in Brazil
- SportsCenter Altar–a comprehensive fan site
- SportsCenter at the Internet Movie Database
- SportsCenter at TV.com