- ESPN on ABC
ESPN on ABC is the brand used for sports programming on the ABC television network. On
September 2, 2006, the former ABC Sports division was fully integrated into ESPN, which, like ABC, is controlled by The Walt Disney Company. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=2545817 ESPN - 'ESPN on ABC' to debut during college football season - ESPN ] ] Programming on ABC currently has the ESPN logo in the digital on-screen graphicdisplaying the game score, and use the ESPN BottomLine and " SportsCenter" In-Game Updates. The change was made to better orient ESPN viewers with the programming on ABC. The ABC logo is used on the watermark-like digital on-screen graphic in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, and is also used for promotions so that viewers will know to tune into the broadcast network and not cable ESPN. [ [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/richard_deitsch/08/10/media.circus/ SI.com - Writers - Richard Deitsch: ABC Sports to become 'ESPN on ABC' - Thursday August 10, 2006 8:01PM ] ] Despite its name it is not a simulcastof ESPN on the ABC network.
Like its longtime competitors
CBS Sportsand NBC Sports, ABC Sports was originally just the sports division of a major American network, ABC. The seeds of its eventual integration with ESPN occurred when ABC bought majority control of ESPN in 1984. A year later, Capital Cities Communicationsbought ABC. Although some ESPN sportscasters such as John Saundersand Dick Vitalebegan to also appear on ABC Sports telecasts, ESPN and ABC Sports continued to operate separately.
Under the Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Companybought Capital Cities/ABC in 1996, Disney started to slowly integrate ESPN and ABC Sports. ESPN personalities like Chris Berman, Mike Tirico, and Brad Nesslerworked on ABC Sports programs. In 1998, ESPN adopted ABC Sports' " Monday Night Football" graphics and music for its "Sunday Night Football" broadcasts. During that same year, ESPN signed a five year deal to televise National Hockey League(NHL) games, whereby the cable network essentially bought time on ABC to air selected NHL games. This was noted in copyright beds at the conclusion of the telecasts, i.e. "The Preceding Program has been paid for by ESPN, Inc." ESPN then signed a similar television rights contract in 2002 so it could produce and broadcast National Basketball Association(NBA) games on ABC. Major League Soccertelecasts have a similar arrangement.
Between 2000-2002, many ABC Sports programs utilized graphics almost identical to those of ESPN. One notable exception was "Monday Night Football", which switched to different graphics as part of then-new producer
Don Ohlmeyer's attempt to provide some new vigor into those telecasts. From 2002 to 2005, ABC changed graphics each fall, while ESPN's basically remained consistent.
Meanwhile, Disney continued to consolidate the corporate structure of ESPN and ABC Sports.
Steve Bornsteinwas given the title as president of "both" ESPN and ABC Sports in 1996. The sales, marketing, and production departments of both divisions were eventually merged. Thus, ESPN uses some union production crews for its coverage (as the networks normally do), whereas non-union personnel is quite common in cable sports broadcasting.
The end of ABC Sports
It was announced in 2006 that ABC Sports would be totally integrated into ESPN, using ESPN graphics, music, and production. The brand integration does not directly affect whether ESPN (the cable channel) or ABC carries a particular event, as in most cases this is governed by contracts with the applicable league or organization. Perhaps confusingly, this means that some events, such as the British Open, will be broadcast with ESPN branding during ABC coverage, even though another channel (in this case TNT) owns the cable rights.
The last live sporting event televised by ABC Sports was the United States Championship Game in the Little League World Series on Saturday,
August 26, 2006 (ABC was slated to carry the Little League World Series Championship Game on Sunday, August 27, but the game was postponed to Monday August 28due to rain, subsequently airing on ESPN2).
However, ABC used its own graphics (with the ABC logo), to cover the final round of the
Scripps National Spelling Bee, similar to the older-styled ESPN graphics but with a yellow base. In 2008 however, it used the newer yellow and red ESPN graphics which had been used on other recent telecasts.
The beginning of ESPN on ABC
The changeover took effect to coincide with the start of the college football season, with the NBA, IndyCar Series, and NASCAR coverage eventually following suit.
On December 25th, 2006, ESPN on ABC hosted the
Los Angeles Lakersvs. the Miami Heatfor the third year in a row. This was the NBA's first broadcast on ABC since the integration with ESPN.
Despite the rebranding, ABC Sports appears to still legally exist;
George Bodenheimer's official title has remained "president, ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports". [ [http://www.abcmedianet.com/web/progcal/dispDNR.aspx?id=050107_01 ABC press release] , May 1, 2007] In addition, ABC itself maintains the copyright over many of the ESPN-branded broadcasts, if they are not contractually assigned to the applicable league or organizer. [For instance, the copyright disclaimers at the end of ABC's college footballbroadcasts read "©xxxx American Broadcasting Companies, Inc."] This appears to be a minor technicality stemming from ESPN being technically a joint ventureof Disney (80%) and Hearst Corporation(20%), even though it is operated as a Disney subsidiary. It is not known if Hearst derives any direct revenue from ABC broadcasts.
From 1968 to 1997, ABC Sports programs ended with the line "This has been a presentation of ABC Sports - Recognized around the world as the leader in sports television."
*When ABC was airing the
Saturday morning cartoonseries " Laff-A-Lympics" between 1976 and 1979, commentators Snagglepussand Mildew Wolfwere drawn to be wearing the then-traditional yellow jackets of ABC Sports commentators.
*In recent years, at the end of games, the ABC Sports logo would appear on-screen.
Programs throughout the years
"See also ESPN significant programming rights".
NBA on ABC" (1965–1973; 2002–present)
**First pick of ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10 matchups
Saturday Night Football" (2006–present)
**Rose Bowl (1989–present),
Capital One Bowl
**Select ACC, Big 12 and Pac-10 games
Little League World Series(1963–present)
NASCAR(1961, 1971, 1975–1976, 1979–1982, 1984–2000, 2007–present)
*World Cup Soccer (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014)
*Major League Soccer (1996–present)
Belmont Stakes(1986–2000, 2006–present)
*"Russell Athletic ESPN Arena Football" (1998–2002, 2007–present)
The Open Championship, Senior British Open Championship, Women's British Open(through 2009)
Scripps National Spelling Bee(2006–present)
Monday Night Football" (1970–2005)
Super Bowls XIX, XXII, XXV, XXIX, XXXIV, XXXVII, and XL
**Wildcard Saturday NFL playoff games 1990–2005
**Thursday Night NFL Kickoff game 2003–2005
Pro Bowl1975–1987, 1995–2003
Sugar Bowl(1954–1958; 1971–2006)
*Orange Bowl (1999–2006)
ABC Game of the Week" (1953–1954, 1960–1965)
Monday Night Baseball" (1976–1988, telecasts moved to Thursday for 1989)
**1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, and
1989 World Series
*"Baseball Night in America" (1994–1995)
1995 World Series(Games 1, 4, & 5)
The NHL on ABC" (1992–1994, 1999–2004)
Champ Car World Series(1983–2001, 2007)
Formula Oneracing (2001–2002)
Winter Olympic Games(1964, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988)
Summer Olympic Games(1968, 1972, 1976, 1984)
*U.S. Open (early 1960s–1994)
American Football League(1960–1964)
PGA Championship(until 1990, now on CBSand TNT)
LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship(1991–2005)
PGA Tour(through 1978, 1999–2006)
*"Wide World of Sports" (1961–1996 as a series, blanket title circa 1996–2006)
Pro Bowlers Tour" (1962–1997)
North American Soccer League(1979–1981)
World League of American Football(1991–1992 as "ABC's World League")
Edgar J. Scherick
Quotes about the demise of ABC Sports
* [http://www.abcsports.com ABC Sports Website]
* [http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/spotlight_columnists/article/0,2777,DRMN_23962_4950218,00.html Saunders: ABC's demise signals end of an era]
* [http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/stories/MYSA090106.watch.EN.593f991c.html What to Watch: Rest in peace, ABC Sports]
* [http://members.fortunecity.com/tvnetworks/abc/ The Evolution of ABC]
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