ESPN+ Original Series Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media, Executive Produced by Stephen A. Smith, Now Available to Stream on ESPN+


ESPN+ Original Series Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media, Executive Produced by Stephen A. Smith, Now Available to Stream on ESPN+

The three-part series, produced by Religion of Sports and Mr. SAS Productions, dives into the past, present and future of sports debate

Trailer: Watch Here

ESPN today premiered the new three-part ESPN+ Original Series, Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media. Now available to stream on ESPN+, the series delves into the evolution of sports talk debate programming across seven decades–from Howard Cosell to Stephen A. Smith to Cam’Ron–and explores how sports discourse arrived at this moment, why it’s here now, and where it’s going next. 

“We’re diving deep into the heart of the game, breaking down barriers and showcasing the evolution of sports discourse,” says Executive Producer Stephen A. Smith. “From the legends who paved the way to the current Kings and Queens of the mic, we’re bringing you a front-row seat to the passion and intensity that fuel debates in today’s generation of sports. So buckle up! Here we come.”

Religion of Sports’ Gotham Chopra, who serves as an Executive Producer on the series stated, “We’re thrilled to partner with Stephen A. Smith, a pioneer and undisputed legend in the world of sports talk, on this entertaining and fascinating series. Highlighting both the evolution of sports media and a wide range of beloved personalities, we know that fans of sports, media, and passionate debate are going to love it.”

Featured within the series are various sports personalities including: Troy Aikman, Mina Kimes, Molly Qerim, Shannon Sharpe, Michael Wilbon, Hannah Storm, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo, Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Cari Champion, and Cam’Ron, among many others who’ve shaped the sports debate industry over the years.

Episode 1: It Was Written: Journey into the world of sports discourse with Stephen A Smith, the charismatic frontman of ESPN’s First Take, as he takes center stage in dissecting the current landscape of sports media. We dive into the historical roots of sports debate, tracing its origins from print journalism to on-camera personalities like Howard Cosell, and eventually evolving into the debate format that’s present today.

Episode 2: Hot Takes + Cold Pizza: Explore the surge in sports debate shows where the spotlight is on personalities who push the boundaries, with opinions and fiery takes that put athletes under the microscope.

Episode 3: Success + Successors: As the sports media landscape continues to evolve, personalities like Shannon Sharpe and Cam’Ron are blazing a trail for the future by building their own platforms and launching personal media brands.

Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media is produced by Religion of Sports (Man In The Arena and upcoming In The Arena: Serena Williams) and Mr. SAS Productions in association with ESPN+. The series is executive produced by Stephen A. Smith, Erik Parker, and Religion of Sports’ Gotham Chopra, Ameeth Sankaran, and Victor Buhler.


Media Contacts:
Garrett Cowan – [email protected]
Jay Jay Nesheim – [email protected]

Garrett Cowan

Based in New York City, Garrett Cowan is a Communications Manager at ESPN overseeing publicity for ESPN Originals, ESPN Films/30 for 30, the ESPYS, and espnW.
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