ESPN Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day With Annual Veterans Week Initiative

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ESPN Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day With Annual Veterans Week Initiative

Tim Tebow and former New England Patriot, current Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Jake Bequette.

SportsCenter from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, First Take live from Air Force Base in Tucson

Armed Forces Classic from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska

ESPN dedicates a week of multiplatform content November 7-11 as part of its annual America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative. An hour-long SportsCenter special kicks off the content initiative from Fort Campbell Military Base in Kentucky. The special airs on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and First Take is live from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona on Friday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. In addition, the annual Armed Forces Classic will be played from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska that night.

“ESPN is proud to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day and honor our veterans and active military with a week of multiplatform content, volunteer efforts and financial support,” said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of Corporate Citizenship. “We are thrilled to share the stories of these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and recognize all those who served and continue to serve including our own ESPN employees, their families and our fans.”

USAA is the sponsor of ESPN’s week-long Veterans Day activation and many well-known athletes, coaches and celebrities will provide daily “shout outs” to members of the military within ESPN programming. The tributes will appear on SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms.

ESPN’s “American Heroes” week will feature:

SportsCenter anchor Michael Eaves will host the one-hour SportsCenter Special “Salute to the Troops” from Fort Campbell Military Base in Kentucky. Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division, the 5th Special Forces Group and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The SportsCenter special will also include Veterans Day features hosted by a variety of ESPN personalities including Tim Tebow, Kirk Herbstreit, Julie Foudy, Marty Smith and Sal Paolantonio. Together they will share the stories, demonstrate the commitment and show the passion it takes to be a member of the United States military.

Among the features airing on SportsCenter:

  • Heisman Trophy winner & SEC Network College Football Analyst Tim Tebow puts his conditioning to the test in combat PT with the best rangers at Fort Campbell.
  • ABC & ESPN College Football Analyst Kirk Herbstreit speaks with soldiers at Fort Campbell about how a new initiative to train soldiers like athletes is making a difference in the military.
  • ESPN Analyst and U.S. Women’s Soccer Gold Medal Winner Julie Foudy joins a group of female soldiers to talk about the fight for acceptance, equality and inclusion in today’s military.
  • Reporter Marty Smith gets a taste of what some consider the “10 toughest days in the U.S. Army,” the grueling training that makes or breaks candidates for the Air Assault School.
  • Tim Tebow is reunited with Jake Bequette, a former SEC All-Conference Defensive End who sacked Tebow twice in college, a Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots and now, a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, just returning to Fort Campbell following a tour in the Middle East.
  • Reporter Sal Paloantonio is joined by ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro for a special salute to Veterans who work at ESPN.

SportsCenter’s Veterans Day Salute special will air on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

First Take
ESPN’s morning debate show First Take featuring Stephen A. SmithMax Kellerman and host Molly Qerim Rose will be live Friday, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m. from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. The trio will be joined by an audience of military personnel as well as special guests Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette and defensive end Calais Campbell. GetUp! will also feature live segments from the Air Force Base with the First take crew throughout the morning.

Armed Forces Classic
On Friday, Nov. 8, the Armed Forces Classic doubleheader takes place at the Alaska Airlines Center on the University of Alaska campus in Anchorage. Baylor faces Washington at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN, followed by Alaska Anchorage playing Coast Guard Academy at midnight (Nov. 9) on ESPNU. Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas return to call the Armed Forced Classic for the first time since the event took place at Pearl Harbor in 2016. Seth Greenberg will roam the sidelines and conduct interviews with coaches, service members and veterans in attendance. The broadcast will also include various features as well as essays written and voiced by senior writer Wright Thompson. The sense-of-place essays will showcase what life is like at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Bilas’ 94 Feet segment will be conducted with Col. Patricia Csánk, the first female commander of JBER.

SC Featured: “The Return”
The award-winning ESPN SC Featured film “The Return” will air twice during Veterans Week. In the film, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier returns to Vietnam for the first time since he was wounded in combat there 50 years ago. Bleier walks in the same valley where his U.S. Army company was ambushed on August 20, 1969. “The Return” airs Nov. 7 at midnight and Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., both on ESPN2.

College GameDay
On Saturday, Nov. 9, ESPN College GameDay (9 a.m., ESPN) will include various elements honoring Veterans and active military throughout the show.

SEC Nation
SEC Network will celebrate Veterans Week by welcoming veterans and active duty military to its sets in Tuscaloosa, Ala. for LSU at Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 9. Local military groups will be featured on air throughout SEC Nation Presented by Regions Bank from 10 a.m. – noon ET and a special, live edition of Marty & McGee preceding SEC Nation from 9 – 10 a.m.

NFL Live
On Friday, Nov. 8, and Monday, Nov. 11, NFL Live will include military shout outs in honor of Veterans Day.
Alex Scarborough shares the story of a 33-year-old active duty Iraq war vet turned Colorado State football walk-on. Available on Monday, Nov. 11.

In the Gate Podcast
This Veterans Day, ESPN’s thoroughbred racing podcast “In the Gate” will present two military-themed stories highlighting the connection between horse racing and military members. The podcast will be available beginning Sunday, Nov. 4.

ESPN Corporate Citizenship
In recognition of the sacrifices our active military and veterans have made in service, ESPN is committed to supporting Disabled American Vets (DAV). DAV provides free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies.

ESPN is proud to have more than 60 employees mentor veterans through the American Corporate Partners (ACP) program, which connects post 9/11 veterans to business professionals for mentoring, career counseling and networking. ESPN also supports Mission Continues, an organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.

As part of Veterans Week, ESPN will host a speakers panel to celebrate the 100th Celebration of Veterans Day on the set of The View in New York. The panel will be made available to all employees across ESPN, ABC and The Walt Disney Company, as well as the Armed Forces Network.

ESPN is also proud to partner with Team Rubicon, an organization that supports the Team Rubicon Network by fostering the establishment and development of Team Rubicon Country Units and by facilitating the Team Rubicon Network’s provision of effective humanitarian aid in the wake of disasters.

Molly Mita

I am a proud member of the ESPN communications team that is responsible for building publicity for award winning brands including SportsCenter and Outside the Lines. I have spent my last few years working in the NFL at The Detroit Lions and The Baltimore Ravens before heading to NBCUniversal. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work at some of the best organizations in the world but I am most excited for my journey here ESPN.
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