|Starring||See SportsCenter Anchors and Reporters|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||31,731|
|Running time||60 to 90 minutes depending on content|
|Original channel||ESPN, ESPNEWS|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),|
|Original run||September 7, 1979 (1979-09-07) – present|
SportsCenter is a daily sports news television show, and the flagship program of American cable network ESPN since the network launched on September 7, 1979. Originally broadcast only daily, SportsCenter is now shown up to twelve times a day, replaying the day's scores and highlights from major sporting events, along with commentary, previews and feature stories. The show has proven highly durable, having been aired more times than any other program in American television, with more than 30,000 unique episodes. It celebrated its 35,000th show in 2009. The show is taped in ESPN's HDTV studio facilities in Bristol, Connecticut and Los Angeles, California.
SportsCenter normally airs live on weekdays from 9 AM ET to 3 ET, as well as at 6 ET (typically 60 or 90 minutes), 11 ET and 1 AM ET (typically 60 minutes each). The 1 AM ET edition is repeated at 2 AM ET and again from 5-9 AM ET.
Saturday viewers on average are around 15 million. On Sundays it is more around 20 million. an hour-long episode airs at 8 AM ET and another edition of varying length airs at 10 AM ET; the 11 ET edition airs for 90 minutes on Sundays and is repeated through the night. In the event of live sports coverage on the network, the show is occasionally delayed or moved to another ESPN channel. The show also is known to start early and run long, if the preceding game ends ahead of schedule or if breaking news warrants. The 1 AM ET (10 PT) edition of SportsCenter now airs live from Los Angeles and repeats throughout the night.
SportsCenter was conceived and created by executive editor John A. Walsh. George Grande introduced the country to ESPN when he co-anchored the first episode of SportsCenter on September 7, 1979. His co-anchor was Lee Leonard, a longtime New York broadcaster. According to Entertainment Weekly, Leonard spoke these words as the show opened: "If you're a fan, what you will see in the next minutes, hours, and days to follow may convince you that you've gone to sports heaven." Grande spent ten more years with ESPN and SportsCenter until 1989. Another early addition to the show was Chris Berman, who joined ESPN a month after its debut and became a fixture at SportsCenter until the early '90s, when his main efforts became focused on the network's NFL coverage and Baseball Tonight; however, Berman remains a frequent contributor to the Sunday night 11 p.m. edition. Bob Ley also began anchoring early in the show's history and still regularly appears on the Sunday morning SportsCenter in addition to hosting Outside the Lines.
In 1988, the format was changed by executive editor John Walsh from individual sports or leagues to "newspaper style." Thus, it aired stories based on their importance regardless of the sport.
Early graphics and music included various kinds of sports balls flying outward, featuring a rapid-fire electronic audio track that was a version of "Pulstar", by Vangelis. By the early 1990s, the first of several theme songs to incorporate ESPN's trademark "duh-nuh-nuh, duh-nuh-nuh" fanfare was in use. The current theme music was composed by Annie Roboff, who also co-wrote Faith Hill's 1998 hit "This Kiss".
The 11 p.m. anchor team of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann achieved great popularity in the late '80s and the '90s (interrupted by Olbermann's brief move to ESPN2 at that channel's launch). After Olbermann left ESPN in 1997, Kenny Mayne became Patrick's co-host; when Patrick moved to the 6:00 p.m. edition, Rich Eisen and Stuart Scott became the top anchor team.
During the summer of 2001, after ESPN acquired a share of Canadian sports network TSN, its own sports news program SportsDesk was re-branded as SportsCentre, using similar intros, and the title rendered using Canadian spelling.
On September 11, 2001, ESPN interrupted regular programming at 11:05 a.m. Eastern Time to cover the immediate aftermath of the attacks on America through a simulcast of sister network ABC. The network considered not airing SportsCenter that night, and debated the topic for about an hour. Finally, a half-hour version aired which reported on the impact the attacks had on the sports world, announcing the cancellations of major U.S. sporting events that had been announced up to that time.
SportsCenter began broadcasting in High definition on June 7, 2004. Along with the conversion came a new set designed by Walt Disney Imagineering (situated in a studio at ESPN's new "Digital Center"), and a new graphics package entitled "Revolution" designed by Troika Design Group. During that summer, ESPN celebrated its 25th anniversary, by counting down the top 100 moments of the past 25 years. They showed the countdown every day starting May 31, 2004, until the #1 moment, the United States men's national ice hockey team's victory over the USSR during the 1980 Winter Olympics, was aired on September 7, 2004.
Over the summer of 2005, SportsCenter premiered a segment called "50 States in 50 Days", where a different SportsCenter anchor traveled to a different state every day to discover the sports, sports history, and athletes of the state.
On April 4, 2006, SportsCenter started showing highlights of Major League Baseball games in progress, which were previously an exclusive to another program, Baseball Tonight. This is seen in the Baseball Tonight Extra segment. Prior to that date, highlights of the aforementioned Major League Baseball games weren't shown on SportsCenter until the games were completed.
On February 11, 2007, after the NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns, the 30,000th SportsCenter show aired. In that milestone show, Bob Ley recapped the events (and not-so-great moments) during the first 10,000 shows, Chris Berman did the same during the middle 10,000, as did Dan Patrick during the remaining 10,000. Steve Levy and Stuart Scott were the anchors on that 30,000th show. They also began broadcasting SportsCenter Minute, which is a web-streaming one-minute SportsCenter update seen exclusively on ESPN.com.
The 11 p.m. Eastern Time edition on May 6, 2007 saw another major change, as SportsCenter introduced a "rundown" graphic across the right side of the screen. This feature appears only during reruns of the overnight show Monday through Saturday and on the main Sunday night program; on ESPNHD, it fills the right pillarbox where the ESPNHD logo would usually appear during standard definition footage.
The 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter moved up to 5 p.m. ET on May 28, 2007, and was, for the first time ever, extended to three hours. In that episode, ESPN aired live coverage of Roger Clemens's second start for the New York Yankees' minor league club in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The 11 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on August 7, 2007, which was anchored by John Buccigross and Cindy Brunson, showed live coverage of Barry Bonds's 756th career home run, which broke the old MLB record set by Hank Aaron. (ESPN was carrying the game live on ESPN2.)
On August 11, 2008, during the opening week of the Beijing Olympic Games, SportsCenter began airing live from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. The original plan was to start the live block at 6 a.m.; however, the network decided to scale it back before the expansion came to pass.
This change also includes a new SportsCenter.com Web site to promote more interaction with viewers. The SportsCenter.com site was launched 8/11/08.
To promote these changes, ESPN held a casting of their employees to see who would be on almost 25 live and unscripted commercials a day. Steve Braband, an International Programmer, won, and can be seen about every half-hour (excluding from 1 to 4 CST) on ESPN. Additionally, the website steveislive.com was opened, with Steve's daily appearance schedule, blog, and video clips of past appearances and audition footage.
Starting with the 9 a.m.-noon ET edition (which was anchored by Hannah Storm and Sage Steele), SportsCenter debuted a new graphics package on April 6, 2009, with the "rundown" graphic (shown during the daytime editions) moved to the left side of the screen. A new BottomLine was also released that day on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic and ESPNU, but it was quickly removed and reverted back to the old BottomLine (which had been used since April 2003) due to an equipment failure (however, this ticker was successful for the 2009 NFL Draft and the 2009 NBA Draft). The problem was later fixed and the new BottomLine returned on July 8.
April 6, 2009 also saw the launch of West Coast production of SportsCenter for the first time. The 1 a.m. ET (10 PT) edition of SportsCenter now airs live from ESPN's production facilities in the newly constructed L.A. Live complex just across from the Staples Center. The set is virtually identical to the main facilities in Bristol and will, for the time being, be produced as just another edition of the show. Neil Everett and Stan Verrett are the primary anchors for the Los Angeles-produced editions of this series.
The 2009 U.S. Open Golf Championship, which was repeatedly delayed due to weather, aired on both NBC and ESPN. Portions of ESPN's broadcast, including the early parts of the Monday final round, were presented as SportsCenter, specifically "SportsCenter at the U.S. Open" which is similar to segments within the show with nightly highlights and analysis that originate from the event locations, much like "SportsCenter at the Super Bowl" and "SportsCenter at the World Series", etc.
In August 2009, Robert Flores, co-anchor of the noon-3pm ET SportsCenter, was replaced in that capacity with John Buccigross. A completely redesigned sportscenter.com Web site was launched 2009-11-16.
On March 1, 2010, European ESPN channel ESPN America began airing a special European edition of SportsCenter, anchored by Michael Kim. The 30-minute program runs five days a week from 7am GMT, with an updated show at 10.30pm GMT.
By late 2010, the "rundown" graphic was seen on all SportsCenter editions.
By mid-2011, shortly after ESPN and ESPN2 both switched to a 16:9 letterbox format (in compliance with the #10 AFD code), SportsCenter began showing the entire high-definition footage and standard-definition footage (with the ESPN logo on both pillarboxes). That required the 16:9 letterbox image to be shrunk in order for it to happen, with the "rundown" graphic seen on the left side of the screen. As of July 21, 2011, ESPNEWS still broadcasts SportsCenter in a 4:3 standard-definition format.
The following weekday schedule is used:
- 9am-noon ET: Kevin Neghandi and Hannah Storm
- Noon-3pm ET: John Buccigross and Chris McKendry
- 3pm-6pm ET: various(ESPNEWS)
- 6pm-7pm ET: Jay Harris and a cohost (and 7pm-8pm on ESPNEWS)
- 8pm-11pm ET: various (ESPNEWS)
- 11pm-12am ET: Scott Van Pelt or Steve Levy or John Anderson
- 1am-2am ET: Neil Everett, Stan Verett (Los Angeles)
Further information: List of SportsCenter anchors and reporters== Segments== Further information: List of SportsCenter segments and specials== ESPN Radio== ESPN Radio also has ESPN Radio SportsCenter with radio highlights airing three times an hour on the ESPN Radio network.
Some sports leagues and organizations, including the NBA, NHL and college sports conferences, allow for brief highlights to be shown while the game is in progress. Major League Baseball allows them only as part of the Baseball Tonight mini-programs, as mentioned above. The NFL does not allow in-progress highlights at all outside of its own live game broadcasts.
ESPN is traditionally unable to air highlights of Olympic Games events until after the events have aired on tape-delay on the broadcast network holding the rights. ESPN began to show more Olympics highlights on-air and online beginning with the 2006 Winter Olympics; they received these extended rights from NBC as part of the deal that saw ABC release Al Michaels from his contract, so he could join John Madden and key production personnel for the new NBC Sunday Night Football. (This same deal gave back the Walt Disney produced Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoons that were originally distributed by Universal.) 
In addition, there are many anecdotal reports of various TV networks (such as CBS Sports and NBC Sports) that will not release highlights of certain sporting events to ESPN unless its name is labeled across the screen for the entire length of the highlight (Courtesy NBC Sports, etc.). (In some cases, the same stipulation is made to competing programs like FSN's Final Score, but not in all.)
As of 2007, ESPN no longer displays the actual name of the NASCAR Nationwide Series or Sprint Cup Series race during highlights of such (Example: the "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" was re-dubbed the "Brickyard 400 pres. by Golden Corral") unless the title sponsor of the race is paid for to the network. A similar stipulation also applies to the network's Izod IndyCar Series coverage.