Infobox Television | show_name=SportsCenter

format = Sports
runtime = varies; usually 60 or 90 minutes
picture_format = 480i (SDTV), 720p (HDTV)
starring = "Various anchors (see below)"
country = United States
shot in = Bristol, Connecticut
network = ESPN (1979-)
first_aired = 7 September 1979
last_aired = Present
num_episodes = 30,166 thru 6 August 2007
website =
imdb_id = 0136668
tv_com_id = 7455

"SportsCenter" is a daily sports news television show, and the flagship program of American cable network ESPN since the network launched on September 7, 1979. Originally airing once per day, "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. Due to its durability, it has been shown more times than any other show in American television, with over 30,000 unique episodes. It celebrated its 30,000th show on February 11, 2007. The show is taped in ESPN's HDTV studio facilities in Bristol, Connecticut.

Air times

"SportsCenter" normally airs live on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., as well as at 6:00 p.m. (typically 90 minutes), 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. (typically 60 minutes each), ET. The 1:00 a.m. edition is repeated at 2:00 a.m. and again from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Saturday viewers see a new episode from 10:00 a.m. to noon, along with the evening airings as above. On Sundays, a half-hour episode airs at 9:00 a.m. and another edition of varying length airs at 10:30 a.m.; the 11:00 p.m. 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.


tandard definition era

George Grande introduced the country to ESPN when he co-anchored the first ever "SportsCenter" on September 7, 1979. His fellow anchor was Lee Leonard, a longtime New York broadcaster. According to Entertainment Weekly, Leonard spoke these words as the show opened: "If you're a fan, what you will see in the next few minutes, hours, and days to follow may convince you that you've gone to sports heaven." (Entertainment Weekly, 8 September 2000, p. 94) 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 it was on the air, and became a fixture at SportsCenter until the early '90s, when his main efforts became focused on the network's NFL coverage and "Baseball Tonight"; however, Berman remains a frequent contributor to the Sunday night 11 p.m. edition. 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".

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 "duh-nuh-nuh, duh-nuh-nuh" fanfare was in use. The current theme music was composed by Annie Roboff, a composer who also co-wrote Faith Hill's 1998 hit "This Kiss." [cite web |url= |title= Official Annie Roboff Home Page|accessdate=2007-06-19 |last=Roboff |first=Annie ]

Throughout the 1990s, SportsCenter's set saw many changes (see below). In 1994, ESPN began the "This is SportsCenter" ad campaign to promote their show. [ [ This is SportsCenter] ]

The 11 p.m. anchor team of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann achieved great popularity in the late '80s and the '90s (interrupted by Olbermann's brief move to 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 top anchor team.

During the summer of 2001, after ESPN, Inc. acquired a share of Canadian sports network TSN, that network's sports news program, "SportsDesk", was re-branded as "SportsCentre" (using Canadian spelling).

eptember 11, 2001 and The show that nearly wasn'tanchor|911

On September 11, 2001, ESPN interrupted regular programming at 11:05 a.m. Eastern Time to cover the immediate aftermath of the attacks on America through a simulcast of ABC News. The network considered not airing "SportsCenter" that night, and debated the topic for about an hour. Finally, a half-hour version aired 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. ["Sports Illustrated", Sep. 24, 2001]

High definition era

High definition broadcasting started on June 7, 2004, and on the same day began broadcasting the show from studios inside the network's brand-new Digital Center, debuting a new set designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and featuring a robust graphics package entitled "Revolution" designed by Troika Design Group. During that summer, ESPN celebrated their 25th anniverary, ESPN25, by counting down the top 100 moments of the past 25 years. They showed the countdown every day starting May 31, 2004, until the #1 moment, the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team's victory over the USSR during the 1980 Winter Olympics, was aired on September 7, 2004.

"SportsCenter" premiered a segment called "50 States in 50 Days", during the summer of 2005, where a different "SportsCenter" anchor traveled to a different state every day to discover the sports, sports history, and athletes of the state. [ 50 States in 50 Days] ]

On April 4, 2006, "SportsCenter" started showing highlights of Major League Baseball games in progress, which were previously an exclusive to another program, "Baseball Tonight". This is seen in the Baseball Tonight Extra segment. Prior to that date, highlights of the aforementioned Major League Baseball games weren't shown on "SportsCenter" until the games went final (as shown on the ticker at the bottom of the screen, known as the "BottomLine").

On February 11, 2007, after the NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns, the 30,000th "SportsCenter" show aired. In that milestone show, Bob Ley recapped the events (and not-so-great moments) during the first 10,000 shows, Chris Berman did the same during the middle 10,000, as did Dan Patrick during the remaining 10,000. Steve Levy and Stuart Scott were the anchors on that 30,000th show. They also began broadcasting "SportsCenter Minute", which is a web-streaming one-minute "SportsCenter" update seen exclusively on

The 11 p.m. Eastern Time edition on May 6, 2007 saw another major change, as "SportsCenter" introduced a "rundown" graphic across the right side of the screen. This feature appears only during reruns of the overnight show Monday through Saturday and on the main Sunday night program, and on ESPNHD, fills the right pillarbox where the ESPNHD logo would usually appear during standard definition footage.

The 6 p.m. ET edition of "SportsCenter" moved up to 5 p.m. ET on May 28, 2007, and -- for the first time ever -- it was extended to three hours. In that episode, ESPN aired live coverage of Roger Clemens' second start for the New York Yankees' minor league club in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The 11pm ET edition of "SportsCenter" on August 7, 2007, which was anchored by John Buccigross and Cindy Brunson, showed live coverage of Barry Bonds' 756th career home run, which broke the old MLB record set by Hank Aaron.

2008 daytime expansion

On August 11, 2008, during the opening week of the Beijing Olympic Games, "SportsCenter" began airing live from 9am to 3pm ET. The original plan was to start the live block at 6am; however, the network decided to scale it back to start at 9am.

Former NBC Sports and "CBS Early Show" anchor Hannah Storm has joined ESPN to host the 9am to noon block. [ [ ESPN whittles down 'SportsCenter' in daytime ] ] The new format now includes two teams of two anchors in three-hour shifts:
*9am - Noon ET: Josh Elliott, Hannah Storm (Mon-Thurs) or Sage Steele (Fri)
*Noon - 3pm ET: Robert Flores, Chris McKendry

Storm will also co-anchor the Sunday morning edition with Bob Ley, replacing McKendry. Steele will provide updates every 20 minutes from 6 am until noon, Mondays through Thursdays. [cite news|publisher=USA Today|date=2008-06-20|title=Karolyi to keep Costas Company|url=]

This change also includes a new Web site to promote more interaction with viewers. [cite news||date=2008-05-13|title=SportsCenter to air live in mornings starting Aug. 11; Storm joins ESPN|url=] The site was launched 8/11/08.

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 can be seem about every half-hour (excluding from 1 to 4 CST) on ESPN. Additionally, the website "" was opened, with Steve's daily appearance schedule, blog, and video clips of past appearances and audition footage.

"SportsCenter" sets

Anchors and reporters

For the numerous different anchors and reporters that make up "SportsCenter", see "List of SportsCenter anchors and reporters".


For the numerous different segments that make up "SportsCenter", see "List of SportsCenter segments and specials".

ESPN Radio

ESPN Radio also has "ESPN Radio SportsCenter" with radio highlights airing three times an hour on the ESPN Radio network.

Conditions to showing highlights

Some sports leagues and organizations, including the NBA, NHL and college sports conferences, allow for brief highlights to be shown while the game is in progress. Major League Baseball allows them only as part of the "Baseball Tonight" mini-programs, as mentioned above. The NFL does not allow in-progress highlights 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 holding the 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, so he could join John Madden and key production personnel for the new "NBC Sunday Night Football". [Associated Press report, Jan. 18, 2006]

In addition, there are many anecdotal reports of various TV networks (such as CBS Sports and NBC Sports) that will not release highlights of certain sporting events to ESPN unless its name is labeled across the screen for the entire length of the highlight (Courtesy NBC Sports, etc). (In some cases, the same stipulation is made to competing programs like "FSN Final Score", but not in all.)

pin offs

*"BassCenter" (2003–2006)
*ScoreCenter on ESPN MobileTV (2007-present)
*"SportsCenterU" (2006–present)
*"X Center" (2005–present)
*"FavreCenter" (2008) (named by anchors for the extensive Brett Favre Coverage in July and August)

ee also

* 50 States in 50 Days
* This is SportsCenter
* List of SportsCenter anchors and reporters
* List of SportsCenter segments and specials
* ESPNEWS (a 24-hour sports news network from ESPN)
* ESPN360 (an interactive home for sports fans)
* "SportsCenter Asia" (the Asian version of "SportsCenter")
* "SportsCentre" (the Canadian version of "SportsCenter")



External links

* [ Official SportsCenter show page]
* [ Official ESPN site]
* [ SportsCenter Video on ESPN Video Archive]
* [ Sportscenter in Brazil]
* [ SportsCenter Altar] — a comprehensive fan site

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