Photos via ESPN Images
ESPN has reached a new multi-year agreement with The Heisman Trust to remain the exclusive home of the Heisman Trophy Ceremony. The event’s exclusive home since 1994, ESPN will televise the 86th annual Heisman Trophy Ceremony Presented by Nissan on Tuesday, January 5, at 7 p.m. ET. Plans were announced live this morning on ESPN’s College GameDay.
“Although college football may look and feel a lot different, there is no shortage of incredible talent on the gridiron this year. One thing the pandemic cannot change is the spirt of a true winner and we are eager to again celebrate that winner on the annual Heisman Trophy Ceremony,” stated Mike Comerford, president of the Heisman Trophy Trust. “We are also excited to extend our partnership with ESPN, the leading multinational sports entertainment brand, and look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with them.”
“The Heisman Trophy is one of the most iconic awards in sports and ESPN is honored to have annually presented the Ceremony for nearly three decades,” said Kurt Dargis, director of programming, ESPN. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Heisman Trust in the years ahead as we come together to celebrate college football and one of the sport’s enduring traditions.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Heisman Ceremony will originate from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios for the first time. For the 27th straight year, Chris Fowler will host the one-hour telecast, joined by reporters Tom Rinaldi and Maria Taylor. ESPN analysts and former Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard (1991) and Tim Tebow (2007) will also contribute remotely.
All Heisman finalists will appear via satellite from either their homes or schools. In addition, several Heisman Trophy winners will appear virtually.
The voting deadline this year is Dec. 21. Heisman voting will be based solely on on-field performances during the college football regular season through the conference championship games with the 2020 Heisman Trophy Finalists to be announced during a 30-minute special on Thursday, Dec. 24 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
“So much has changed with college football this year, and a virtual Heisman Trophy Ceremony is different than any Heisman Ceremony we’ve done before,” Fowler said. “What hasn’t changed, however, is that we’re honoring the best player in college football and sharing in this life-changing moment. I’m excited to have so many Heisman winners actively participate in the Ceremony this year, including the opportunity to engage with current NFL stars. Welcoming a new member into this prestigious brotherhood is always meaningful, whether we’re celebrating in person or virtually. I look forward to honoring these exceptional athletes this year, and I know we are all anticipating a return to New York City in the years to come.”