June has emerged as one of the most prolific months on the sports calendar. With a strong collection of championship events and noteworthy specials, it’s particularly significant for ESPN this year.
Consider this sampling of June ESPN offerings – The NBA Finals, Wimbledon, UEFA Euros, NCAA Women’s College World Series, NCAA College World Series, MLB, WNBA, X Games, MLS, NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the NBA Draft and the unprecedented five-part documentary “O.J.: Made in America.”
“It’s hard to imagine a month of sports programming more exceptional and diverse than this one this year,” said ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus. “It’s college and pro. It’s global. It’s women’s and men’s. It’s champions being crowned. It’s groundbreaking series and much more.”
Acquiring rights to such a wide range of top content is the first piece of the complex ESPN programming puzzle. Maximizing the events and specials, some of which can be regularly impacted by inclement weather, is an ongoing, daily effort across ESPN’s entities.
“Strategic scheduling across all our networks is something the programming team does every day, which is an elaborate juggling process guided by unique conditions for each property, contractual procedures and ever-changing circumstances,” said ESPN Vice President, Programming Content Strategy and Scheduling John Papa.
Papa noted key elements to the scheduling success are ESPN’s reach and adaptability.
“This month is filled with several major events and series that fall across multiple days and weeks, which adds to the complexities,” he said. “Then you factor in weather considerations and unknown series lengths like ‘best-of’ scenarios. Throughout the month, fans benefit from the flexibility ESPN gains by having multiple linear outlets with wide national reach, in addition to our WatchESPN and ESPN3 platforms that help super-serve them.”
In the end, June will be an historic month in the sports world, and for fans and ESPN.
Below is a snapshot of some June 2016 ESPN programming highlights:
- NBA Finals: exclusive coverage of the title rematch between the Warriors and Cavs
- UEFA Euros: 45 June matches (out of 51 total)
- Wimbledon: June kicks off the first four days of ESPN’s start-to-finish coverage.
- “O.J.: Made in America”: five-part documentary, presented in two-hour episodes
- NCAA Baseball (College World Series): up to 153 games from the NCAA Championship (punctuated by the 17-game College World Series)
- NCAA Women’s College World Series: 15 games (the entire Women’s College World Series)
- X Games: 21 live hours from Austin
- MLB: 14 June telecasts, including Monday, Wednesday and Sunday games
- WNBA: four game telecasts in June
- MLS: three June matches
- NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships: more than 40 hours over four days
- NBA Draft: exclusive, live coverage from Brooklyn, N.Y.