Collaboration, innovation and adaptation drive SportsCenter

Exterior view of DC-2. (Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)

Entering into the third week of launch for the Scott Van Pelt-hosted midnight ET SportsCenter and the second week of a new ad campaign focusing on SC@Night, now’s a good time to share some of the SC evolutions and advancements currently underway for our flagship show.

SportsCenter has always prided itself on not standing still, and as technology and fans’ viewing and consumption habits continue to evolve, SportsCenter is well-positioned to innovate and adapt.

Just think about the last 18 months:
• We moved into Digital Center 2 and revamped the Los Angeles Production Center studios.
• We decided to take the show “On The Road.”
• We rebranded the 6 p.m. show “Coast to Coast” (and made good on that promise).
• We introduced new cross-platform performers such as “Fan Correspondent” Reese Waters, Sarina “Now” Morales, Daily Fantasy guru Cynthia Frelund and reporter Will Reeve, who reminds us “Why We Love Sports.”
• We redoubled our commitment to long-form storytelling by creating “Friday Movie Night” and opening greater show windows for “SC Featured,” Outside the Lines and E:60.
• We revitalized our Enhanced Content Unit, creating a wealth of high-quality, short-form content.
• We expanded our weekend morning blocks.
• We got Scott and his team off and running.
• And we’ve begun planning for a new weekday 7 a.m. SportsCenter, beginning in February.

Beginning Oct. 5, SportsCenter will take on a new approach from 1:30-6 p.m. each Monday through Friday. (The 7-11 p.m. SC on ESPNEWS will continue to focus on in-game updates and highlights leading into the SC@Night block from 11 p.m.-2 a.m.)

From a television standpoint, SportsCenter will continue to appear each afternoon, producing regular news updates throughout the daypart. And SportsCenter will always be poised to break into network coverage when news developments warrant.

The real headline, however, is that SportsCenter now has an exciting opportunity to direct greater focus, creativity and leadership in the creation of unique new content for our digital platforms and products.

Thanks to the leadership of Executive Vice President, Programming & Production, John Wildhack and Executive Vice President, ESPN Digital & Print Media, John Kosner, and the hard work and collaborative spirit of a whole host of folks across Studio Production, Digital and Print Media and Technology, SportsCenter content has been a critical point of differentiation for our digital video business for some time.

We approach Oct. 5 asking ourselves how we can accelerate SportsCenter’s impact on the growth of WatchESPN. . . How SportsCenter can produce content that wins in a digital space that is mobile, social and personal. . . How SportsCenter can feel more interactive. . . And how SportsCenter can better use all of the real-time fan data at our disposal to strategically produce elements, segments and features that fans will enjoy, share and remember.

I’m happy to report that a stellar cross-platform team has been meeting with me for some time to work on key logistics necessary as we set out to reimagine the 1:30-6 p.m. work hours. Across the board, we’re confident that come Oct. 5, SportsCenter will engage, surprise and delight fans with digital-first content that lives and thrives on ESPN’s digital and social platforms.

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