ESPN History

Learn more about SportsCenter history with timeline, trivia

Editor’s Note: As SportsCenter approaches its 50,000th episode (expected to be Thursday, Sept. 13), Front Row will present content related to the show and the milestone. Today, a timeline of important dates in SportsCenter’s history and facts you may not know.

SportsCenter Timeline

Sept. 7, 1979 — ESPN launches and the first program aired is the flagship show, SportsCenter, hosted by George Grande and Lee Leonard.

Feb. 6, 1981SportsCenter anchor Rhonda Glenn joins ESPN and becomes first full-time woman sportscaster for a national TV network.

Jan. 1982SportsCenter provides on-site reports from the Super Bowl for the first time.

Dec. 2, 1988 — The 10,000th episode of SportsCenter airs.

Oct. 10, 1995This is SportsCenter, the irreverent, behind-the-scenes, on-air promotional campaign, begins. Roger Clemens, Grant Hill and Micheal Andretti were among the first athletes to visit Bristol to participate in the critically acclaimed campaign.

May 17, 1998 — The 20,000th episode of SportsCenter airs.

Jan. 2000 — The first international edition of SportsCenter, reaching 2.4 million homes in Brazil, launches in Portuguese.

Aug. 25, 2002 — The 25,000th episode of SportsCenter airs.

Sept. 12-17, 2004SportsCenter: Salute the Troops, with segments on all editions live from Camp Arifjan Army base in Kuwait, looks at how sports serve as a welcome “touch of home” for U.S. troops abroad.

Jul. 17, 2005SportsCenter Across America — 50 States in 50 Days — begins at Fenway Park (Yankees at Red Sox), ending Sept. 5 in Washington, D.C.

Feb. 11, 2007 — The 30,000th episode of SportsCenter airs.

Aug. 11, 2008SportsCenter debuts live weekday morning editions, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET.

April 6, 2009 — ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center debuts as the new home of the weekday 1 a.m. ET (10 p.m. PT) SportsCenter.

Sept. 13, 2012SportsCenter set to air its 50,000th edition.

2014SportsCenter expected move to its new home in Digital Center 2’s Studio X.

SportsCenter by the Numbers

50 — Average seconds of a SportsCenter highlight

Approximately 50 people work on SC show, on average, per show.

The day SportsCenter debuted: Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning were 3, Brian Urlacher was 1, and neither Williams sister, Venus nor Serena, was born.

The first score reported on SportsCenter was Chris Evert Lloyd defeating Billie Jean King 6-1, 6-0 in the 1979 US Open women’s semifinals.

Among the shows that aired the evening of SportsCenter’s first show at 7 p.m. were ABC’s Evening News with Frank Reynolds, The Dating Game, The Odd Couple, Over Easy with Hugh Downs and The Brady Bunch (the episode where Carol’s nephew Oliver comes to stay with the Bradys).

74-seat highlight screening area and 53 editing suites in the digital center support SportsCenter’s daily editions.

3 hard cameras, 1 jib camera and 1 steadicam are used in airing an episode of SportsCenter.

18 million people tune to SportsCenter each day across the ESPN TV networks.

148 million people tune to SportsCenter each month across the ESPN TV networks.

Social media numbers as of 9.4.12:

SportsCenter‘s Twitter account, @SportsCenter, has 3,884,985 followers

SportsCenter‘s Facebook page has 6,084,781Likes

SportsCenter videos contribute to the 248,615,336 million video views on ESPN’s YouTube page.

Compiled by Dan Quinn and Hannah Worster.

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