The 2020 ESPYS Presented by Capital One will have a different format from previous years, but the two-hour special airing this Sunday, June 21, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN2 will be a star-studded event that reflects the uniqueness of the present time. Hosted by three superstar athletes – three-time WNBA Champion Sue Bird, two-time World Cup Champion and Olympic medalist Megan Rapinoe, and Super Bowl Champion quarterback Russell Wilson – the show will not only celebrate the year in sports but will highlight inspiring stories of service, perseverance, and courage in the face of this unprecedented health crisis. The 2020 ESPYS will also look forward to the return of sports, and showcase athlete activism as the sports world issues a call to action to address racial injustice in America.
Many elements of the show will remain consistent – celebrating the best of the year in sports, showcasing the comedy chops of top athletes and celebrity fans, and telling the kind of inspirational, heart-swelling stories that can only come from the world of sports. Some highlights include:
- Tom Brady honors high school and college Senior athletes, including Sabrina Ionescu and Cassius Winston
- Kansas City comedians join a call with Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to celebrate the Chiefs’ incredible season.
- Keegan-Michael Key gathers iconic Olympic heroes for a once in a lifetime moment.
- A powerful segment from various athletes addressing the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Peyton Manning pays tribute to an ESPYS icon who was dedicated to the show for decades.
- A series of “Athletes United” segments will run throughout the show, highlighting inspirational stories of athletes and coaches helping their communities and connecting with fans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A love letter to Kobe Bryant from the people of Los Angeles, featuring a performance by Snoop Dogg.
Rob King, Senior Vice President and Editor-at-Large, ESPN Content, stated: “The ESPYS have long provided a platform for athletes to speak truth to power. As we face a world in which advocates and allies are boldly addressing our nation’s continued path toward racial justice and equity, both in and out of the sports community, we’re proud to present a collection of stories and moments dedicated to this critical time.”
“While this is an extraordinary time to be producing an awards show, The ESPYS has always strived to meet the moment — to tackle the issues and stories most relevant and meaningful to our athletes and their fans. This year will be no exception,” said Jeff Smith of MaggieVision Productions, who is the executive producer of The ESPYS. “There will still be sports highlights and comic relief, but this year’s show will be more focused than ever on elevating the voices of athletes and shining a light on the inspiring work they do, on the field and off.”
Special guest appearances by (in alphabetical order):
Jose Andres, Halle Berry, Simone Biles, Tom Brady, Sterling K. Brown, Joe Burrow, Kyle Busch, Swin Cash, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Ciara, Kim Clavel, Mark Cuban, Stephen Curry, Elena Delle Donne, Gabby Douglas, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Julie Ertz, Zach Ertz, Mike Eruzione, Allyson Felix, Missy Franklin, Channing Frye, Heidi Gardner, Pau Gasol, Shaquem Griffin, Lewis Hamilton, Derrick Henry, Derek Hough, Julianne Hough, Sabrina Ionescu, Malcolm Jenkins, Derek Jeter, Cam Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Travis Kelce, Steve Kerr, Keegan-Michael Key, Chloe Kim, David Koechner, Brooks Koepka, Ryan Lochte, Chris Long, Greg Louganis, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry, John Lutz, Patrick Mahomes, Peyton Manning, Simone Manuel, Matthew McConaughey, Tatyana McFadden, Donovan Mitchell, Tracy Morgan, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Katelyn Ohashi, Apolo Ohno, Alexander Ovechkin, Corey Peters, Roman Reigns, Mary Lou Retton, Diallo Riddle, Rob Riggle, Robin Roberts, Kendrick Sampson, Kyle Shanahan, Mikaela Shiffrin, J.K. Simmons, Snoop Dogg, Juan Soto, Mark Spitz, Breanna Stewart, Eric Stonestreet, Ryan Tannehill, Dara Torres, Mike Trout, Lindsey Vonn, Taquarius Wair, Derek Watt, JJ Watt, TJ Watt, Shaun White, Trae Young, Ryan Zimmerman and the 2019 Spelling Bee Octochamps (Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Abhijay Kodali, Shruthika Padhy, Rohan Raja, Christopher Serrao, Sohum Sukhatankar, Saketh Sundar).
Prior to The 2020 ESPYS, The ESPY Countdown will air on ESPN and ESPN2 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. ET, hosted by Hannah Storm. The show will preview several awards that will be presented and will also take a look back at some “Best of ESPYS” moments from past years. Additionally, The ESPY Countdown will showcase important social causes highlighted through various award presentations over the years. Show highlights include an original essay on the return of sports by ESPN’s Wright Thompson, a senior tribute from SportsCenter’s Scott Van Pelt, and an essay from Marie Tillman on Pat Tillman’s dedication to service.
On digital, The ESPYS Pre-show will stream on the ESPN App, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube from 8-9 p.m. ET, hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth and Elle Duncan. The show will discuss athlete’s activism in today’s changing social climate and feature interviews with Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian nominee, Nelson Cruz, WNBA champion and Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud, and Pat Tillman Award recipient, Kim Clavel. The show will also highlight some of the year’s most memorable sports and viral moments.
Capital One returns as presenting sponsor, featuring Best of ESPYS, Can’t-Stop-Watching Moments as well as other great sports moments. Associated sponsors include Gatorade, celebrating student athletes, MassMutual as presenting sponsor of the Pat Tillman Award for Service, and Saint Archer Gold for Athletes United, a fun look at what athletes have been doing at home over the recent months. The ESPYS will also feature the first-ever SeeHer Greatest Female Performances celebrated by AT&T to advance the SeeHer in Sports movement, raising the visibility of women’s sports and inspiring the next generation of female athletes. As the event’s official technology partner, Cisco Webex will be used by athletes in their homes to capture multiple interviews and storylines within the show. Additionally, Webex will sponsor this year’s honorary ESPYS recognizing outstanding high school athletes. ABC’s owned television stations will utilize their technology to feature the athletes in their homes on lifestyle digital network, Localish, this week leading up to The ESPYS. ESPN Radio will select and announce the winners on Friday, June 19.
The 2020 ESPYS will include the Sports Humanitarian Awards, sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb, with several key awards including the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award presented by Anthem Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award presented by Dove Men+Care, among others.
The ESPYS help to raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at the first ESPYS back in 1993. ESPN has helped raise close to $116 million for the V Foundation over the past 27 years. The ESPYS are co-produced by MaggieVision Productions.