Behind The Scenes

You cannot be serious!: New SportsCenter set seriously debuts Sunday

The date June 22nd already holds special significance for ESPN’s John McEnroe and come this Sunday, June 22, 2014, it will carry some serious weight in the annals of ESPN history.

It was June 22, 1981 when McEnroe uttered (loudly) what one British newspaper referred to as “the most famous four words ever uttered by a tennis player.” In the midst of a dispute over a line call by Wimbledon umpire Edward James, McEnroe proclaimed on that day: “You cannot be serious.”

The phrase became a calling card for McEnroe.

Other firsts from June 22 include:
1847 – Doughnut created
1874 – Game of lawn tennis introduced
1932 – National League approves of players wearing numbers
1934 – John Dillinger is informally named America’s first Public Enemy Number One
1938 – Joe Louis KOs Max Schmeling at 2:04 of 1st round at Yankee Stadium
1970 – President Richard Nixon signs 26th amendment (voting age lowered to 18)
1977 – Walt Disney’s Rescuers released
1981 – Mark David Chapman pleads guilty to killing John Lennon
1991 – Quebec Nordiques pick Eric Lindros No. 1 at NHL entry draft
1994 – U.S. beats Colombia 2-1 in 1994 soccer world cup (first win since 1950)

Also, born on this date include:
1948 – “Pistol” Pete Maravich, NBA, collegiate star (LSU, Hawks, Jazz)
1949 – Meryl Streep, American actress
1949 – Lindsay Wagner, actress (“Bionic Woman”)
1953 – Cyndi Lauper, (“Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” “Time after Time”)
1954 – Freddie Prinze, comedian/actor (“Chico & the Man”)
1962 – Clyde Drexler, NBA Guard (Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers)
1964 – Dan Brown, American author of thriller fiction (“The Da Vinci Code”)
1971 – Kurt Warner, Super Bowl MVP QB

*According to

Now, 33 years later, it’s an apt phrase in trying to encapsulate exactly what ESPN’s new Digital Center 2 (DC-2) – and specifically the new home of SportsCenter – will offer sports fans. With that in mind, Front Row presents “Five Things You Cannot Be Serious About the New SportsCenter Set”:

You cannot be serious. . . SportsCenter debuts its new home on Sunday?

Yes. At 11 p.m. ET (or the conclusion of Sunday Night Baseball) from the 194,000-square-foot DC-2. The building’s infrastructure is future proof and can handle all existing media formats and future industry standards. (Currently 1080p-ready.)

You cannot be serious. . . Steve Levy and Stuart Scott will be the anchors on Sunday?

Yes. Both anchors are 20-plus years veterans of ESPN and both are extremely excited for the first night.

You cannot be serious. . . There are 114 monitors in the SportsCenter studio?

Yes. Including a multi-dimensional display wall comprised of 56 monitors powered by ESPN-built software. The current SportsCenter studio has 15 monitors.

You cannot be serious. . . The SportsCenter studio includes a “Social Media Studio?”

Yes. Located on the studio’s upper balcony, the room is TV-ready and offers a spot where analysts and guests can do live Twitter chats, blogging sessions or other social activations before or after appearing on SportsCenter.

You cannot be serious. . . DC-2 houses five studios?

Yes. Including the SportsCenter space, there are five total studios in DC-2 offering 25,000 square feet of production space. The next largest studio, at 9,000 square feet, will be used for NFL studio programming beginning later this year. Also, the Los Angeles SportsCenter studio will re-launch on the late SportsCenter Monday with a similar look to that of the Bristol, Conn. studio.

For more on some of the people who have been working to get DC-2 and the new SportsCenter set ready for prime time check out this Front Row series, “Faces of DC-2”: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Also, visit ESPN Images Sunday night for a real-time photo stream of SportsCenter’s DC-2 debut.

Dan Quinn contributed to this post

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