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Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming.

Founded by Bill Rasmussen
Bill Rasmussen
Bill Rasmussen is the co-founder and first president and CEO of ESPN.-Early career:After success in the advertising business, Rasmussen’s career in the media began at WTTT radio in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1962. In 1965, he moved to WWLP-TV, Springfield, where he spent eight years as Sports...

, his son Scott Rasmussen
Scott Rasmussen
Scott W. Rasmussen is the founder and president of Rasmussen Reports. He is an American political analyst, author, speaker, and public opinion pollster...

 and Aetna
Aetna
Aetna, Inc. is an American health insurance company, providing a range of traditional and consumer directed health care insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmaceutical, dental, behavioral health, group life, long-term care, and disability plans, and medical management...

 insurance agent
Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents, also known as insurance sales agents or "producers", typically sell a variety of insurance and financial products, including property insurance and casualty insurance, life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance.Property and...

 Ed Eagan, it launched on September 7, 1979, under the direction of Chet Simmons
Chet Simmons
Chester Robert "Chet" Simmons was an American sports executive, working at three different television networks sports divisions before becoming the first Commissioner of the United States Football League in 1982.Born in New York City on July 11, 1928, Simmons...

, the network's President and CEO (and later the United States Football League
United States Football League
The United States Football League was an American football league which was in active operation from 1983 to 1987. It played a spring/summer schedule in its first three seasons and a traditional autumn/winter schedule was set to commence before league operations ceased.The USFL was conceived in...

's first commissioner). The Getty Oil Company
Getty Oil
Getty Oil is an oil company founded by J. Paul Getty. It was at its height during the 1960s. In 1971, the Getty Realty division was formed to manage the real estate needs of Getty stations. The division was later spun off, but now owns the rights to the Getty brand...

 provided funding to begin the new venture via executive
Executive
Executive may refer to:* Executive , branch of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy* Executive , monthly news magazine established in 1999...

 Stuart Evey. George Bodenheimer
George Bodenheimer
George Bodenheimer is the current president of ESPN Inc. and of ABC's sports division, known since 2006 as ESPN on ABC. He has been president of ESPN since November 19, 1998 and of the former ABC Sports since March 3, 2003...

 is ESPN's current president, a position he has held since November 19, 1998. Since March 2003, Bodenheimer has also headed ABC Sports, which was operationally folded into ESPN in 2006.

ESPN's signature telecast, SportsCenter
SportsCenter
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...

, debuted with the network and aired its 30,000th episode on February 11, 2007. ESPN broadcasts primarily from its studios in Bristol, Connecticut
Bristol, Connecticut
Bristol is a suburban city located in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States southwest of Hartford. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 61,353. Bristol is primarily known as the home of ESPN, whose central studios are in the city. Bristol is also home to...

. The network also operates offices in Miami; New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

; Seattle; Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

; and Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

;. The Los Angeles office, from which the late-night edition of SportsCenter is now broadcast, opened at L.A. Live in early 2009.

While ESPN is one of the most successful sports networks, it has not been free from criticism. This criticism includes accusations of biased coverage, conflict of interest, and controversies with individual broadcasters and analysts.

High definition


ESPN launched its 720p
720p
720p is the shorthand name for 1280x720, a category of High-definition television video modes having a resolution of 1080 or 720p and a progressive scan...

 high-definition
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

 simulcast
Simulcast
Simulcast, shorthand for "simultaneous broadcast", refers to programs or events broadcast across more than one medium, or more than one service on the same medium, at the same time. For example, Absolute Radio is simulcast on both AM and on satellite radio, and the BBC's Prom concerts are often...

, originally branded as ESPNHD, on March 20, 2003. All Bristol and L.A. Live studio shows, along with most live events on ESPN, are produced in high definition. ESPN is one of the few networks with an all-digital infrastructure. Shows that are recorded elsewhere − such as Jim Rome Is Burning
Jim Rome is Burning
Jim Rome Is Burning, originally titled Rome Is Burning and often abbreviated as JRIB, is a sports conversation and opinion show hosted by Jim Rome. Debuting on May 6, 2003 as Rome Is Burning, it was originally a once a week show in primetime at 7:00 PM ET on Tuesday nights on ESPN...

 (Los Angeles) are presented in a standard definition, 4:3 format with stylized pillarboxes. Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn began airing in HD on September 27, 2010.

ESPN and all of ABC and Disney's cable networks use the 720p
720p
720p is the shorthand name for 1280x720, a category of High-definition television video modes having a resolution of 1080 or 720p and a progressive scan...

 HD line standard because ABC executives proposed a progressive scan
Progressive scan
Progressive scanning is a way of displaying, storing, or transmitting moving images in which all the lines of each frame are drawn in sequence...

 signal that resolves fluid and high speed motion in sports better, particularly during slow motion replays.

In 2011, ESPNHD began to downplay its distinct logo in promotion in preparation for a shift of its standard definition feed to letterbox
Letterbox
Letterboxing is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes above and below it; these mattes are part of the image...

ed widescreen, which occurred on June 1, 2011.

ESPN 3D



On January 5, 2010, ESPN announced that it would launch a new 3D television
3D television
A 3D television is a television set that employs techniques of 3D presentation, such as stereoscopic capture, multi-view capture, or 2D-plus-depth, and a 3D display – a special viewing device to project a television program into a realistic three-dimensional field.- History :In the late-1890's,...

 channel, ESPN 3D. The network launched on June 11, 2010, with coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

. During its first year, ESPN projected that it would air around 100 events in 3D within its first year, including the Summer X Games and the 2011 BCS National Championship Game
2011 BCS National Championship Game
The 2011 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game was the final college football game to determine the national champion of the 2010 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision season. The finale of the 2010-2011 Bowl Championship Series was played at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the host...

.

Originally, ESPN 3D only aired simulcasts of 3D events from other ESPN channels, but on February 14, 2011, the network switched to a 24 hour format with repeat airings of past 3D events.

Programming


Alongside its live sports broadcasts, ESPN also airs a variety of sports highlight, talk, and documentary styled shows. These include:
  • SportsCenter
    SportsCenter
    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...

     – The flagship program of ESPN, a daily sports news program delivering the latest sports news and highlights
  • Around the Horn
    Around the Horn
    Around the Horn is a daily, half-hour sports roundtable on ESPN filmed in Washington, D.C. It airs at 5:00 pm ET, as part of a sports talk hour with Pardon the Interruption. The show is currently hosted by Tony Reali.-History:Around the Horn premiered on November 4, 2002, hosted by Max Kellerman...

     – Competitive debating between four sports writers across the country, moderated by Tony Reali
    Tony Reali
    Anthony Joseph Paul "Tony" Reali is an American sports personality and television host, and the current host of Around the Horn on ESPN...

  • Baseball Tonight
    Baseball Tonight
    Baseball Tonight is a program that airs on ESPN. The show, which recapitulates the day's Major League Baseball action, has been on the air since 1990.-Air times:...

     – A daily recap of the day's Major League Baseball action that airs throughout the baseball season.
  • College GameDay
    College GameDay (basketball)
    College GameDay is an ESPN program that covers college basketball and is a spin-off of the successful college football version. Since debuting on January 22, 2005, it airs on ESPN Saturdays in the college basketball season at 11am ET and 8pm ET at a different game site each week...

     (Basketball) – Weekly college basketball show airing from the Saturday Primetime
    Saturday Primetime
    Saturday Primetime is an American television program that appears every Saturday during the college basketball regular season. It is the ESPN game of the week as part of College GameDay. Started in 2005, the game is featured wherever Rece Davis, Hubert Davis, Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas are for the...

     game of the week site.
  • College GameDay (Football) – Weekly college football preview show airing from the site of a major college football game.
  • E:60
    E:60
    E:60 is a weekly investigative journalism newsmagazine show. It premiered on ESPN on October 16, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. PT. The show is one hour long....

     – An investigative journalism newsmagazine show focusing on American and international sports.
  • Jim Rome is Burning
    Jim Rome is Burning
    Jim Rome Is Burning, originally titled Rome Is Burning and often abbreviated as JRIB, is a sports conversation and opinion show hosted by Jim Rome. Debuting on May 6, 2003 as Rome Is Burning, it was originally a once a week show in primetime at 7:00 PM ET on Tuesday nights on ESPN...

     – A sports talk show hosted by radio personality Jim Rome
    Jim Rome
    Jim Rome is an American sports radio talk show host syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications....

  • Monday Night Countdown
    Monday Night Countdown
    Monday Night Countdown, which debuted in 1993 on ESPN, is a television program featuring analysis and news on that night's NFL match to be broadcast on ESPN...

     – Weekly recap show aired on Monday evenings during the NFL season, also serves as the pre-game show for Monday Night Football
    Monday Night Football
    Monday Night Football is a live broadcast of the National Football League on ESPN. From to it aired on ABC. Monday Night Football was, along with Hallmark Hall of Fame, and the Walt Disney anthology television series, one of the longest running prime time commercial network television series...

  • Outside the Lines
    Outside the Lines
    Outside the Lines, or also referred to as OTL, is an American television program on ESPN that looks "outside the lines" and examines critical issues in American sports on and off the field of play....

     – Talk and debate show that examines critical sports issues on and off the field of play
  • Pardon the Interruption
    Pardon the Interruption
    Pardon the Interruption is a sports television show that airs weekdays on various ESPN TV channels, TSN, ESPN America, XM, and Sirius satellite radio services, and as a downloadable podcast. It is hosted by Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, who discuss, and frequently argue over, the top stories...

     – Tony Kornheiser
    Tony Kornheiser
    Anthony Irwin "Tony" Kornheiser is an American sportswriter and former columnist for The Washington Post, as well as a radio and television talk show host...

     and Michael Wilbon
    Michael Wilbon
    Michael Ray Wilbon is a former sportswriter and columnist for the Washington Post and current ESPN commentator. He serves as an analyst for ESPN and co-hosts Pardon the Interruption on ESPN with former Post writer Tony Kornheiser, and has been doing so since 2001.-Career:Wilbon began working for...

     debate a fast-paced array of sports topics
  • Sunday NFL Countdown
    Sunday NFL Countdown
    NFL GameDay redirects here. For the video games series, see NFL GameDay Sunday NFL Countdown is a pregame show of all the NFL action for that week. The official name is Sunday NFL Countdown presented by IBM. The show airs on ESPN, ESPN HD, TSN and TSN HD from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time every...

     – Weekly preview show that airs on Sunday mornings during the NFL season.
  • SportsNation
    SportsNation
    SportsNation is a feature section on ESPN.com, labeled "Where America's Sports Fans Meet".- Programming :Daily features include "The Show", which consisted of "The Morning Quickie with Dan Shanoff" until September 2006. Depending on the sports in season, there will be two to three shows on that sport...

     - Michelle Beadle
    Michelle Beadle
    Michelle Denise Beadle is a sports reporter and host for ESPN. She is the co-host of SportsNation on ESPN2 with Colin Cowherd, and Winners Bracket on ABC with Marcellus Wiley....

     and Colin Cowherd
    Colin Cowherd
    Colin Murray Cowherd is an American sports radio personality. He is currently the host of The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. He is also the co-host of the television show SportsNation on ESPN2.-Career:...

     debate various sports topics through different segments.

Executives

  • George Bodenheimer
    George Bodenheimer
    George Bodenheimer is the current president of ESPN Inc. and of ABC's sports division, known since 2006 as ESPN on ABC. He has been president of ESPN since November 19, 1998 and of the former ABC Sports since March 3, 2003...

    : President, ESPN, Inc.
  • Sean Bratches: Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing
  • Christine Driessen: Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Ed Durso: Executive Vice President, Administration
  • Charles Pagano: Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
  • John Skipper: Executive Vice President, Content
  • Norby Williamson
    Norby Williamson
    Norby Williamson is the current ESPN Inc. Executive Senior Vice President of Studio and Event Production. Since October 2005, Williamson has overseen all studio shows as well as all live sporting events on the ESPN family of networks. Norby started off his career at ESPN as a production assistant...

    : Executive Vice President, Studio and Remote Production
  • Russell Wolff: Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International

In popular culture


ESPN has become a part of popular culture since its inception. Many movies with a general sports theme will include ESPN announcers and programming into their storylines (such as in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, commonly referred to as simply DodgeBall, is a 2004 American sports comedy film produced by 20th Century Fox and Red Hour Productions, written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and starring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, and Rip Torn...

, which gently lampoons the channel's multiple outlets by referencing the as-yet-nonexistent ESPN8, "The Ocho," a reference to a nickname formerly used for ESPN2, "the Deuce"; the slogan for the network was "If it's almost a sport, you'll find it here!"). In the film The Waterboy
The Waterboy
The Waterboy is a 1998 American comedy film directed by Frank Coraci. It stars Adam Sandler alongside Henry Winkler, Kathy Bates, Jerry Reed, and Fairuza Balk. Lynn Swann, Lawrence Taylor, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Paul Wight, and Rob Schneider have cameos...

, Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler
Adam Richard Sandler is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, musician, and film producer.After becoming a Saturday Night Live cast member, Sandler went on to star in several Hollywood feature films that grossed over $100 million at the box office...

's character Bobby Boucher has his college football accomplishments tracked through several fictional "SportsCenter" newscasts including the "Bourbon Bowl." Also, ESPN.com Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons
Bill Simmons
William J. "Bill" Simmons III is a sports columnist, author, and podcaster. He currently writes columns and hosts podcasts for Grantland.com, which is affiliated with ESPN.com. He is a former writer for ESPN The Magazine and Jimmy Kimmel Live!...

 often joke that he is looking forward to running a future network; SportsCenter anchors appeared as themselves in music videos by Brad Paisley (I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)
I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)
"I'm Gonna Miss Her " is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Brad Paisley. It was released in February 2002 as the third single from his second studio album Part II, the song reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart that year, becoming the third...

) and Hootie and the Blowfish (Only Wanna Be With You); and the 1998 TV series Sports Night
Sports Night
Sports Night is an American television series about a fictional sports news show also called Sports Night. It focuses on the friendships, pitfalls, and ethical issues the creative talent of the program face while trying to produce a good show under constant network pressure...

 was based on an ESPN-style network and its titular, SportsCenter-analogue flagship sports results program. Also, Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell
Will Ferrell
John William "Will" Ferrell is an American comedian, impressionist, actor, and writer. Ferrell first established himself in the late 1990s as a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and has subsequently starred in the comedy films Old School, Elf, Anchorman, Talladega...

's character from the film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, or simply Anchorman, is a 2004 American comedy film, directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell. The film, which was also written by Ferrell and McKay, is a tongue-in-cheek take on the culture of the 1970s, particularly the then-new Action News format...

, is fictitiously interviewed for a position on SportsCenter just days before the network's launch in 1979 and fails miserably, then claims that the idea (of a 24 hour sports network) will never become popular, and will be a financial and cultural disaster (claiming it's as ridiculous as a 24-hour cooking network
Food Network
Food Network is a television specialty channel that airs both one-time and recurring programs about food and cooking. Scripps Networks Interactive owns 70 percent of the network, with Tribune Company controlling the remaining 30 percent....

 or an all music channel
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

). This was originally shot as a SportsCenter piece celebrating ESPN's 25th anniversary, and was subsequently included as an extra on the Anchorman DVD.

Many jokes have been made by comedians about fake obscure sports that are shown on ESPN. Dennis Miller
Dennis Miller
Dennis Miller is an American stand-up comedian, political commentator, actor, sports commentator, and television and radio personality. He is known for his critical assessments laced with pop culture references...

 mentioned watching "sumo
Sumo
is a competitive full-contact sport where a wrestler attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where it is practiced professionally...

 rodeo
Rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

," while George Carlin
George Carlin
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums....

 stated that ESPN showed "Australian dick wrestling." One of several Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 sketches poking fun at the network features ESPN2 airing a show called Scottish Soccer Hooligan Weekly, which includes a fake advertisement for "Senior Women's Beach Lacrosse." SNL also parodies ESPN Classic
ESPN Classic
ESPN Classic is a sports channel that features reruns of famous sporting events, sports documentaries, and sports themed movies. Such programs includes biographies of famous sports figures or a rerun of a famous World Series or Super Bowl, often with added commentary on the event...

 with fake archived obscure women's sportscasts from the 1980s such as bowling, weight lifting and curling, with announcers who know nothing about the sport, and instead focus on the sponsors which are always women's hygiene products. In the early years of ESPN, Late Night with David Letterman
Late Night with David Letterman
Late Night with David Letterman is a nightly hour-long comedy talk show on NBC that was created and hosted by David Letterman. It premiered in 1982 as the first incarnation of the Late Night franchise and went off the air in 1993, after Letterman left NBC and moved to Late Show on CBS. Late Night...

 even featured a "Top Ten List" poking fun at some of the obscure sports seen on ESPN at the time. One of the more memorable sports on the list was "Amish Rake Fighting." A recurring skit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon on NBC. The show premiered on March 2, 2009, as the third incarnation of the Late Night franchise originated by David Letterman....

 named Sports Freak-Out! is a parody of SportsCenter
SportsCenter
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...

s overexcited anchors.

A common joke in comedic television and film involves people getting ESP (an abbreviation for Extrasensory Perception, and an irony considering ESPN was initially supposed to be named "ESP") confused with ESPN, often including someone saying something along the lines of "I know these kind of things, I've got ESPN". Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, Inc. is a major American developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games. Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers...

 in the early 1990s used to have a faux sports network logo on their sports games called EASN (Electronic Arts Sports Network), but soon changed to EA Sports
EA Sports
EA Sports is a brand of Electronic Arts that creates and develops sports video games. Formerly a marketing gimmick of Electronic Arts, in which they tried to mimic real-life sports networks by calling themselves "EA Sports Network" with pictures or endorsements of real commentators such as John...

 after ESPN requested that they stop using it. There are at least 22 children named after the network.

Network slogans

  • The Total Sports Network (1979–1985)
  • The Number One Sports Network (1985–1991)
  • All Sports, All the Time (1991–1994)
  • America's No.1 Sports Network (1994–1998)
  • The Worldwide Leader in Sports (1998– )

See also


  • 30 for 30
    30 for 30
    30 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentaries airing on ESPN and its sister networks. The series, which premiered in October 2009 and concluded in December 2010, chronicles 30 stories from the "ESPN era," each of which detail the issues, trends, people, teams, or events that...

  • List of programs broadcast by ESPN
  • List of ESPN personalities
  • Wieden+Kennedy
    Wieden+Kennedy
    Wieden+Kennedy is an independently owned American advertising agency best known for its work for Nike...



External links