Live Sports in Abundance on ESPN Networks

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Live Sports in Abundance on ESPN Networks

ESPN’s networks will soon be brimming with options for sports-starved fans.  In the days and weeks to come, more leagues and events will return to the schedule.  Here’s a summary of what’s underway and what’s coming. 

Already Underway

  • Since May 5, ESPN and ESPN2 have aired six live Korea Baseball Organization games per week in the early morning hours. Fans can have breakfast with baseball and South Korea’s most popular sports league for the rest of the 2020 season.
  • Since May 9, ESPN and ESPN+ have been airing live UFC events, including four during July on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island and two scheduled for August in Las Vegas, a UFC Fight Night on Saturday, Aug. 1, and UFC 252 on Saturday, Aug. 15.
  • Top Rank boxing returned to ESPN and ESPN+ on June 9 through the end of July from the Las Vegas MGM Grand; two fights in the U.K. will be televised Tuesday, Aug. 11, and Tuesday, Sept. 1.
  • In June, ESPN2 had live coverage of the Bassmaster Elite Series in Alabama, and two events are in the offing from New York state:  St. Lawrence River (July 23-26) and Lake Champlain (July 30 – August 2).
  • On July 8, ESPN televised the first of 28 MLS is Back Tournament Live coverage continues through the championship game August 11.
  • The Formula One season got underway on ESPN and ESPN2 this month with two races in Austria and one in Hungary. The next event is in Great Britain on August 2.
  • World TeamTennis launched its 45th season – competed entirely at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia – July 12 on ESPN2. ESPN networks have a schedule of 25 live matches.
  • The 20th season of Major League Lacrosse began on ESPN networks on July 18. MLL doubleheaders this week will lead into the semifinals July 25 and the championship July 26.

About to Start

  • ESPN will open the Major League Baseball season with a bang – seven games in three days. An ESPN exclusive blockbuster Opening Night doubleheader on Thursday, July 23, starts when the New York Yankees and their new ace, Gerrit Cole, visit the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting their rival, the San Francisco Giants.  The next day, July 24, ESPN will have a tripleheader – Atlanta Braves at N.Y. Mets, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics.  A special Sunday Night Baseball doubleheader will follow on July 26 as the Mets host the Braves and the Dodgers host the Giants. ESPN networks will continue with an extensive schedule of games, including exclusive Sunday Night Baseball, throughout the abbreviated 2020 season.

 

  • ESPN’s WNBA schedule of 24 games across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will open on Saturday, July 25, with a doubleheader featuring No. 1 draft pick Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty vs. legend Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm at noon ET on ESPN, followed by Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks vs. Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury at 3 p.m. on ABC. Opening weekend continues on Sunday, July 26, with another doubleheader featuring Connecticut Sun vs. Minnesota Lynx at noon, on ESPN, and Chicago Sky vs. Las Vegas Aces at 3 p.m., on ABC.

 

  • ESPNand ABC will combine to televise 20 live NBA seeding games from Walt Disney World Resort starting with a doubleheader on ESPN on Friday, July 31:  Boston Celtics and Jayson Tatum take on the first place Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo followed by the Houston Rockets and James Harden in battle the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic. The opening stretch has 10 live game telecasts in ESPN’s first four days of the season resuming. As part of its seeding games slate, ESPN will carry three critical NBA games on Friday, August 14, the last night of the regular season before the NBA Playoffs begin.  ESPN and ABC will again carry an extensive schedule of playoff games.

 

And Not Long Thereafter…

  • ESPN and ESPN+ will air four days of live play in the PGA Championship, golf’s first major of 2020, August 6-9 from Harding Park in San Francisco in the first year of an 11-year deal between ESPN and the PGA of America.

 

  • The tennis tours will resume by gathering in New York for two events at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the Western & Southern Open (usually played in Cincinnati) the week of August 17 and the US Open beginning Monday, Aug. 31. ESPN networks will have extensive coverage of both, including exclusive first-ball-to-last-ball coverage of tennis’ second Major of the year with daily marathon telecasts, culminating with the Women’s Championship on Saturday, September 12, and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, September 13.  In addition, all matches will be streaming live on the ESPN App via ESPN+ and ESPN3.

 

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Dave Nagle

It was 33 years at ESPN for me as of November 2019 (the only job I’ve ever had) after joining merely to help with the America’s Cup for three months at a robust $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals and Indy 500; Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, in addition to overseeing the Fan Relations, Archives and ESPNPressRoom.com, my main areas are tennis, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including ESPN’s history and growth.
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