SportsCenter

#SCMediaDay provides journalists a look at Digital Center 2, SportsCenter’s future home

ESPN’s #SCMediaDay on Thursday provided a group of journalists access to the new home of SportsCenter, Digital Center 2 or DC-2.

The day provided a peek at the network’s future plans from the heart of the 194,000-square- foot media center. The journalists toured the 9,700-square-foot studios devoted specifically to the new SportsCenter, which is slated for an on-air debut in late June.

ESPN executives, production and technology employees welcomed questions about rotating cameras, protruding monitors, elevating stages and other elements that will help present sports news and information like never before.

The full immersion DC-2 experience might take some getting used to, but it is engrossing – and practical.

“It is overwhelming. This building is a pretty big statement about where we are and what we think of in terms of our place with fans and in the world of sports and sports media,” ESPN President John Skipper said while addressing journalists in Studio Z, one of the facility’s five production spaces.

On average, SportsCenter presents 17 hours of live sports news a day. DC-2 will be able to provide fans a variety of different looks at that show to help keep them engaged.

“Our goal in this facility is to inject more personality into [SportsCenter],” Skipper said. “Part of the difference will be the personality of the anchors, part of the difference will be just what’s happening in the day. But we’ll probably try to establish slightly different missions for the different SportsCenters so that you don’t feel like you’re looking at the same thing.”

Steve Levy and Stuart Scott, the veteran anchor tandem slated to kick off the next phase SportsCenter, still are learning the DC-2 ropes weeks into rehearsals. The possibilities of the “future-proof” facility – as Skipper referred to it – seem endless.

“I’m thinking that, a la “Star Trek,” we’re going to have an anchor here in the studio who’s going to ‘dissolve,’” Scott said, motioning from his left to his far right, “and appear over there, in real time. Not because of special effects, but because we’ll have the capability to do that.”

Both he and Levy stressed that despite the bells, whistles and new paint job, SportsCenter will emphasize what it always has: sports news and information. The difference will be in the more engaging ways that information is packaged.

“I think you’ll see more information than you’re used to,” Levy said of the revamped show. “Instead of just a blank screen or a SportsCenter logo or a team logo, there will be actual graphics and information supporting what we’re saying at the same time. That’s something we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

#SCMediaDay provided access to everyone from Senior Vice President, SportsCenter & News/Information Rob King to Senior Vice President, Content & Information Technology Kevin Stolworthy to SportsCenter anchor Jaymee Sire and myriad others.

The varying perspectives helped, said Tom Butts, Editor-In-Chief, TVTechnology.

“I figured that I’d just be interested in the technology side of things,” said Butts of his first visit to ESPN. “It was interesting to hear other angles that I don’t normally experience, such as the programming side and meeting the SportsCenter anchors. There was some aspects of the technology from some of the nontechnical people, and I found that interesting.”

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