ESPN’s signature news and information program SportsCenter will give sports fans a new way to start their days with two fast-paced hours of live programming starting in February. SportsCenter AM will air 7-9 a.m. ET.
The initiative was revealed at ESPN’s annual Upfront presentation in New York City, where the network showcases upcoming programming in front of an audience of advertisers and media buyers.
Designed for viewers who are on the move and don’t have much time early in the morning, the new live show will take the popular “SportsCenter Top 10” franchise and turn it into a program with the previous night’s top plays, storylines, quotes, blunders and more. Audience engagement will help select the “SportsCenter Number 1,” the very best play of the previous day.
“You’re going to leave SportsCenter AM knowing the top things that have happened through the course of the evening and what you need from the sports world to start your day,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News. “We realize people are busy at that time of the day so this show will be produced in a way that viewers can watch by listening.
“This is another avenue for ESPN to serve sports fans by matching the format of our program to what viewers are looking for at that particular time of day.”
King said that SportsCenter AM will work closely with ABC’s Good Morning America, which also airs from 7-9 a.m., and Mike & Mike, which airs on ESPN Radio and ESPN2 from 6-10 a.m., to share resources. With the connection, for example, Good Morning America legal analyst Ryan Smith could appear on SportsCenter AM to discuss a news story or ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee could discuss weather affecting a sports event.
“And by focusing on the top plays, we also will be complementary to Mike & Mike,” King said. “They are really about talking and discussing what happened and we’re going to show you what happened. And we’re going to show it to you at full speed.”
In addition to content opportunities across programs, the morning alignment will facilitate ad sales as well, giving ESPN and ABC sales teams the opportunity to sell packages across networks. This will allow advertisers to take advantage of the scale of The Walt Disney Company and reach valuable audiences across multiple demographics, and multiple platforms.