ESPN Solidifies Network’s April Prime-Time Programming

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ESPN Solidifies Network’s April Prime-Time Programming


  • Encore Presentations of Classic NFL (Mondays), MLB (Tuesdays), NBA (Wednesdays), and College Football Games (Thursdays)
  • “The Last Dance” Debuts, WNBA and NFL Drafts Add Signature Events
  • Special Masters Programming and Disney Sports Movies Set to Air

ESPN’s prime-time schedule has been solidified through April, as the network’s previously announced sport-specific theme nights and additional signature programming — such as “The Last Dance” documentary series, WNBA and NFL Drafts, and Masters encore presentation – will continue to provide fans the best available content and a respite during this unprecedented time.

Encore presentations of classic NFL (Mondays), MLB (Tuesdays), NBA (Wednesdays), and College Football (Thursdays) games began last week and will continue through the end of April. Each programming block begins at 7 p.m. ET with either the encore presentation, or one hour of shoulder programming leading into the memorable game, such as Peyton Places on Mondays and CFB 150’s The American Game on Thursdays. Also part of the weekly slate, Disney sports movies have aired and will continue on select Friday evenings.

ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming Burke Magnus elaborated on the sport-specific themed programming strategy via ESPN Front Row (April 6):

“What we are attempting to do is to provide a spinal column of sorts for the ESPN schedule in a horizontal fashion, meaning Monday through Sunday. We want a typical week to have a reliable set of themed programming that attaches to particular leagues or sports and gives fans a structure by which they can rely on for top archival content. Where we landed was pretty simple – Monday night tied to Monday Night Football; Wednesday is one of our traditional NBA nights; Thursday has long been a college football night for us; while Friday night at the movies… sounded right. You add a terrific MLB block on Tuesday and The Last Dance on upcoming Sundays and you quickly have the makings of a strong lineup of memorable sports moments that can help address the desires of fans who miss those sports.

Masters Encore Presentations This Week; NFL and WNBA Drafts, “The Last Dance” Debuts All Coming This Month
ESPN will deviate from theme nights when signature events arise on the traditional sports calendar, such as the Masters on Wednesday, April 8 in the afternoon and Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10 in primetime. Then, later this month, the WNBA (April 17) and NFL Drafts (April 23 and 24 in primetime; April 25 during the day) will air live on ESPN. In the middle of the two marquee events, “The Last Dance” — the highly anticipated 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls — will debut (Sunday, April 19) and continue on Sunday nights for five consecutive weeks.

Please note: Programming on other ESPN networks, including ESPN2, will continue to be announced throughout the month. Please continue to visit @ESPNPR and ESPN Press Room

“There is simply no appropriate comparison to what we are all currently going through – both at ESPN and those who consume ESPN,” Magnus also told ESPN Front Row.  “As a result, we rely on our strong relationship with sports fans and look to build upon that every day through creative, distinctive programming. We are focused on working hard day-to-day to bring fans the very best sports content available in these unprecedented times.”

ESPN’s April Prime-time Programming Overview

Week of April 5:

Date Theme Programming Network
Mon, Apr 6 Monday Night Classics Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

September 25, 2006

Steve Gleason’s blocked punt returned for a touchdown in the first quarter keyed a 23-3 Saints win over the rival Falcons the night the Louisiana Superdome reopened a year after Hurricane Katrina.

Tue, Apr 7 MLB Encores California Angels at Baltimore Orioles

September 6, 1995

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. sets the consecutive games played streak at 2,131.

Wed, Apr 8 NBA Wednesdays 2013 NBA Finals Game 6:
San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat
Bang! Ray Allen’s clutch three-pointer sends the Heat vs. Spurs series to Game 7.2013 NBA Finals Game 7:
Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs
LeBron, D-Wade and the Heat overcome the Spurs to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Thu, Apr 9 Masters* 1997 Masters Final Round

Tiger Woods’ First Win at Masters

Fri, Apr 10 Masters* 2005 Masters Final Round

Tiger Woods’ Fourth Win at Augusta



Week of April 12:

Date Theme Programming Network
Sun, Apr 12 TBD TBD ESPN
Mon, Apr 13 Monday Night Classics Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

October 5, 2009Brett Favre played his first game against the Packers, throwing three touchdowns in a 30-23 Vikings win. The NFC North matchup is the most-viewed MNF game of the ESPN era with 21.8 million viewers.
Tue, Apr 14 MLB Encores World Series Game 1: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Dodgers

October 15, 1988

Kirk Gibson creates one of MLB’s most legendary moments as his pinch-hit walk-off home run gives the Dodgers a Game 1 victory.

Wed, Apr 15 NBA Wednesdays 2009 NBA Finals Game 5:
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic
Kobe wins his fourth NBA Championship as the Lakers defeat the Magic.2010 NBA Finals Game 7:
Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe evens the score with Pierce, Garnett and Allen by leading the Lakers to a Game 7 victory to win the NBA Championship.
Thu, Apr 16 College Football Classics No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 2 Ohio State
The 113th meeting between the schools had major College Football Playoff implications and would take multiple overtimes to decide a winner
Fri, Apr 17 WNBA Draft Complete presentation ESPN


Week of April 19

Date Theme Programming Network
Sun, Apr 19 “The Last Dance” Debut of Episode 1 and 2 ESPN
Mon, Apr 20 Monday Night Classics Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots

November 7, 2005

Previously 0-7 in Foxboro, Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes for the Colts in his first road win against Tom Brady and the Patriots in a 40-21 victory.

Tue, Apr 21 MLB Encores New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners in ALDS Game 5

October 8, 1995

“The Double” – Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. scores from first base on fellow Hall-of-Famer Edgar Martinez’s double in the bottom of the 11th inning that clinched the series for Seattle.

Wed, Apr 22 NBA Wednesdays 2008 NBA Finals Game 4:

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers

“Celtic Pride” was on display as the Cs pull off a tremendous comeback victory.

2008 NBA Finals Game 6:

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers

The Celtics restore Boston’s championship lineage by defeating their rival Lakers.

Thu, Apr 23 NFL Draft Round 1 ESPN
Fri, Apr 24 NFL Draft Rounds 2 and 3 ESPN


Week of April 26

Date Theme Programming Network
Sun, Apr 26 “The Last Dance” Debut of Episodes 3 and 4 ESPN
Mon, Apr 27 Monday Night Classics Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills

October 8, 2007

The Cowboys scored nine points in the final 20 seconds in an improbable 25-24 win in Buffalo despite six turnovers from Tony Romo

Tue, Apr 28 MLB Encores Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees in ALCS Game 7

October 16, 2003

Aaron Boone’s 11th inning walk-off home run sends the Yankees to the World Series while eliminating their rival Red Sox.

Wed, Apr 29 NBA Wednesdays 2004 NBA Finals Game 5:

Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers

The Pistons complete an impressive 5-game series win over the Lakers in Shaq’s final game with the purple and gold.

2014 NBA Finals Game 5: 

San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat

The Spurs defeat the Heat in LeBron James’ final game with Miami.

Thu, Apr 30 College Football Classics 2002 – No. 9 Florida State vs. No. 1 Miami

Wide Left I: Hurricanes trailed by 13 points in the fourth quarter, before taking a 28-27 lead with a minute to play. The Seminoles would miss a game-winning field goal in the final seconds, securing the win for their in-state rivals


Programming is subject to change


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner


Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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