With at least nine-and-a-half hours of live presence and coverage of Friday’s day of remembrance for Muhammad Ali, ESPN’s SportsCenter on ESPN (and WatchESPN) will provide the best viewing option for those hoping to see the planned 19-mile procession and the ensuing memorial service.
Beginning with SportsCenter:AM at 7 a.m. ET and continuing through the service’s completion, viewers will get the most comprehensive access to the day’s events, anchored in Louisville by Hannah Storm and Jeremy Schaap outside the KFC Yum! Center, where the memorial service will be held.
“The magnitude of Friday’s procession and memorial service for Muhammad Ali warrants a coverage plan commensurate with the stature of a man known as ‘The Greatest’,” said Vice President and Managing Editor, Newsgathering and Reporting Craig Bengtson. “We have an extensive news group, covering all platforms, that has spent many hours, over many days, collaborating on our week-long content. It’s what we do. And, we take tremendous pride in putting Ali’s life into proper context for fans.”
ESPN’s flagship show will not be the only way to consume how the city of Louisville – and the world – pay homage to “The Greatest.” ESPN Radio’s Russillo & Kanell (1 p.m.-4 p.m., simulcast on ESPNEWS) will also include the Ali memorial service’s eulogies while ESPN Audio will have an uninterrupted stream of the entire service on ESPNRadio.com and in the ESPN App.
Mike & Mike’s 6-10 a.m. show (simulcast on ESPN2) will include Ali discussion with people who knew him, including Dick Ebersol, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jim Lampley. Additionally, ESPN Caribbean will honor the life of Muhammad Ali with a programming block starting at 7 a.m. tomorrow, also including the memorial service.
ESPN is also deploying reporters throughout Louisville – where temperatures are expected to be in the 90s – and across the planned procession route (which starts at 9 a.m.). Marty Smith (Yum! Center), Michael Eaves (9th Street), Josina Anderson (Waterfront Park amphitheatre for memorial viewing), Coley Harvey (funeral home and cemetery) and C.L. Brown (Ali’s childhood home) will provide live, ongoing updates and ESPN will also have a camera in the lead vehicle of the procession as well as a helicopter high above the city. Anchors in Bristol and Los Angeles will also contribute to the coverage, as will boxing analyst Teddy Atlas from Bristol.
Joining Storm and Schaap periodically on set – in addition to guests – will be ESPN The Magazine’s Howard Bryant and Louisville historian/Ali’s high school teacher Mervin Aubespin. Sprinkled throughout the live coverage, the ESPN Features Unit will contribute over 20 original features and vignettes, the majority of which have been produced in the last few days.
As it has since the news of Muhammad Ali’s death was confirmed early Saturday morning, all ESPN entities will continue to provide unmatched coverage of The Champ’s life, including a special edition of ESPN The Magazine with 33 pages devoted to Ali, where the focus will not only be on Ali’s life, but how it helped define the lives of so many others. William Nack, The Mag’s Steve Wulf and The Undefeated’s Derrick Jackson are among the contributors to the issue, which will be on newsstands next week.
*Coverage plans are fluid and subject to change