american television and radio sports net

ESPN ( in the first place an initialism for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network ) [ 1 ] is an american english external basic cable television sports groove owned by ESPN Inc., owned jointly by The Walt Disney Company ( 80 % ) and Hearst Communications ( 20 % ). The company was founded in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen along with his son Scott Rasmussen and Ed Eagan. ESPN broadcasts primarily from studio facilities located in Bristol, Connecticut. The network besides operates offices and accessory studios in Miami, New York City, Las Vegas, Seattle, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. James Pitaro presently serves as chair of ESPN, a position he has held since March 5, 2018, following the resignation of John Skipper on December 18, 2017. [ 2 ] While ESPN is one of the most successful sports networks, there has been criticism of ESPN. This includes accusations of bias coverage, [ 3 ] conflict of interest, and controversies with individual broadcasters and analysts.

As of November 2021, ESPN reaches approximately 76 million television households in the United States—a drop of 24 % from closely a ten ago. [ 4 ] In addition to the flagship channel and its seven refer channels in the United States, ESPN broadcasts in more than 200 countries. [ 5 ] It operates regional channels in Australia, Brazil, Latin America, and the United Kingdom. In Canada, it owns a 20 % interest in The Sports Network ( TSN ) and its five sister networks .


Bill Rasmussen came up with the concept of ESPN in May 1978, after he was fired from his caper with the World Hockey Association ‘s New England Whalers. One of the first steps in Bill and his son Scott ‘s ( who had besides been let go by the Whalers ) process was finding land to build the channel ‘s broadcast facilities. The Rasmussens first rented office space in Plainville, Connecticut. however, the plan to base ESPN there was put on hold because of a local ordinance prohibiting buildings from bearing rooftop satellite dishes. available farming area was promptly found in Bristol, Connecticut ( where the impart remains headquartered to this day ), with fund to buy the place provided by Getty Oil, which purchased 85 % of the party from Bill Rasmussen on February 22, 1979, in an attempt to diversify the caller ‘s holdings. This helped the credibility of the fledgling company ; however, there were calm many doubters to the viability of their sports channel concept. Another event that helped build ESPN ‘s credibility was securing an advertise agreement with Anheuser-Busch in the leap of 1979 ; the company invested $ 1 million to be the “ exclusive beer advertised on the network. ” [ 6 ] [ 7 ]
ESPN ‘s first logo, used from 1979 to 1985 ESPN launched on September 7, 1979, beginning with the first telecast of what would become the channel ‘s flagship program, SportsCenter. Taped in front man of a little live audience inside the Bristol studios, it was broadcast to 1.4 million cable subscribers throughout the United States. [ 6 ] ESPN ‘s future big break came when the channel acquired the rights to broadcast coverage of the early on rounds of the NCAA Men ‘s division I Basketball Tournament. It first aired the NCAA tournament in March 1980, creating the modern day television event known as “ March Madness. ” The channel ‘s tournament coverage besides launched the broadcasting career of Dick Vitale, who at the time he joined ESPN, had merely been fired as head coach of the Detroit Pistons. In April of that year, ESPN created another made-for-TV spectacle, when it began televising the NFL Draft. It provided accomplished coverage of the event that allowed cub players from the college ranks to begin their professional careers in movement of a national television receiver hearing in ways they were not able to previously. besides in April 1980, specifically on April 10th, ESPN began broadcasting Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, marking the beginning of professional packing shows on that distribution channel. [ 8 ] The display lasted 16 years, and ESPN has since shown boxing live intermittently with early shows including ESPN Friday Night Fights and others. For a period during the 1980s, the network had boxing tournaments, crowning champions in unlike boxing system of weights divisions as “ ESPN champions ”. The adjacent major stepping stone for ESPN came over the course of a couple of months in 1984. During this time menstruation, the american Broadcasting Company ( ABC ) purchased 100 % of ESPN from the Rasmussens and Getty Oil. [ 6 ] Under Getty ownership, the duct was unable to compete for the television receiver rights to major sports events contracts as its majority corporate rear would not provide the financing, leading ESPN to lose out for broadcast deals with the National Hockey League ( to USA Network ) and NCAA Division I college football ( to TBS ). For years, the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball refused to consider cable as a think of of broadcasting some of their games. [ 9 ] however, with the back of ABC, ESPN ‘s ability to compete for major sports contracts greatly increased, and gave it credibility within the sports broadcast medium industry. late that year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma ( 1984 ) that the NCAA could no farseeing monopolize the rights to negotiate the contracts for college football games, allowing each individual school to negotiate broadcast deals of their choice. ESPN took full advantage and began to broadcast a big count of NCAA football games, creating an opportunity for fans to be able to view multiple games each weekend ( rather of just one ), the same consider that the NCAA had previously negotiated with TBS. [ 9 ] ESPN ‘s breakthrough here and now occurred in 1987, when it secured a abridge with the NFL to broadcast eight games during that class ‘s even season – all of which aired on Sunday nights, marking the first broadcasts of Sunday NFL primetime games. ESPN ‘s Sunday Night Football games would become the highest-rated NFL telecasts for the adjacent 17 years ( before losing the rights to NBC in 2006 ). [ 10 ] The distribution channel ‘s decision to broadcast NFL games on Sunday evenings actually resulted in a decline in viewership for the day games shown on the major broadcast networks, marking the first time that ESPN had been a legitimate rival to NBC and CBS, which had long dominated the sports television market. In 1992, ESPN launched ESPN Radio, a national sports speak radio network providing analysis and comment programs ( including shows such as Mike and Mike in the Morning and The Herd ) a well as audio play-by-play of sporting events ( including some simulcasted with the ESPN television channel ). [ 6 ] On October 10, 1993, ESPN2 – a junior-grade groove that originally was programmed with a separate batting order of recess sports popular with males 18–49 years old ( with snowboard and the World Series of Poker as its headliners ) angstrom well american samoa serving as an overflow channel for ESPN – launched on cable systems reaching to 10 million subscribers. [ 6 ] It became the fastest growing cable channel in the U.S. during the 1990s, finally expanding its national pass to 75 million subscribers. [ 6 ] ownership of ABC, and in effect control of ESPN, was acquired by Capital Cities Communications in 1985. [ 11 ] ESPN ‘s rear caller renamed themselves as Capital Cities/ABC Inc. Capital Cities/ABC Inc. was then acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 1996 [ 12 ] and was re-branded as Walt Disney Television. On April 26, 2017, approximately 100 ESPN employees were notified that their positions with the sports network had been terminated, among them athletes-turned-analysts Trent Dilfer and Danny Kanell, and noted journalists like NFL beat reporter Ed Werder and Major League Baseball adept Jayson Stark. [ 13 ] The layoffs came as ESPN continued to shed viewers, more than 10 million over a period of respective years, while paying boastful money for the circulate rights to such properties as the NFL, NBA and College Football Playoff. [ 14 ] Further cost-cutting measures taken include moving the studio apartment operations of ESPNU to Bristol from Charlotte, North Carolina, [ 15 ] reducing its longtime MLB studio apartment picture Baseball Tonight to Sundays as a lead to the primetime crippled and adding the MLB Network -produced Intentional Talk to ESPN2 ‘s daily lineup. [ 16 ] On April 12, 2018, ESPN began a supplementary extraordinary pour service known as ESPN+. [ 17 ] After having final carry national-televised NHL games in 2004, ESPN and ABC agreed on a seven-year contract ( agreed on March 10, 2021 ) to televise games, and will besides air some games on ESPN+ and Hulu. The contract besides states that both ESPN and ABC will air four of the seven Stanley Cup Finals. All other nationally televised games will air on TBS and TNT under a separate distribute the league struck with Turner Sports the following month. [ 18 ]


Alongside its live sports broadcasts, ESPN besides airs a kind of sports highlight, talk, and documentary-styled shows. These include :
many of ESPN ‘s objective programs ( such as 30 for 30 and Nine for IX ) are produced by ESPN Films, a film division created in March 2008 as a restructure of ESPN Original Entertainment, a program division that was originally formed in 2001. 30 for 30 started airing in 2009 and continues airing to this day. Each sequence is through the eyes of a well known film maker and has featured some of the biggest directors in Hollywood. [ 19 ] The 30 for 30 film O.J.: Made in America won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2017, the beginning such academy award for ESPN. [ 20 ] Ultimate Fighting Championship signed a 5-year contract with ESPN starting 2019 [ 21 ] on ESPN and ESPN+ which estimate every quarter 2 event on UFC on ESPN and 6 events on UFC Fight Night on ESPN+. [ 22 ] In March 2019, ESPN announced a new betting-themed day by day broadcast, Daily Wager, hosted by the network ‘s gambling analyst Doug Kezirian. [ 23 ] The program was ESPN ‘s first regularly scheduled program entirely dedicated to gaming-related contentedness. On May 14, 2019, ESPN announced a batch with casino hustler Caesars Entertainment to establish an ESPN-branded studio at The LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to produce betting-themed content. [ 24 ] In research of a modern strategic direction that will reduce the impact of covid on business in 2021 The Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek during Q4 FY21 Earnings Conference with investor told that the party ready to expand gambling meaning ESPN department : “ We ‘re besides moving towards a greater presence in on-line sports bet, and given our reaching scale, we have the likely to collaborator with third-parties in this quad in a very meaningful room ”. [ 25 ] [ 26 ] [ 27 ]


  • James Pitaro – President of ESPN, Co-chair, Disney Media Networks [28]
  • Sean Bratches – Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing[29]
  • Christine Driessen – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer[30]
  • Ed Durso – Executive Vice President, Administration[31]
  • Aaron LaBerge – Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer[32]
  • Norby Williamson – Executive Vice President, Programming[33]
  • Russell Wolff – Executive Vice President and managing director, ESPN+[34]

associate channels.


Since September 2006, ESPN has been integrated with the sports division of baby broadcast network ABC, with sports events televised on that network airing under the banner ESPN on ABC ; [ 35 ] much of ABC ‘s sports coverage since the rebranding has become increasingly express to secondary coverage of sporting events whose broadcast rights are held by ESPN ( such as NBA games, NHL games, and the X Games and its relate qualify events ) deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as a limited array of event coverage not broadcast on ESPN ( most notably, the NBA Finals ) .


ESPN2 was launched on October 1, 1993. It carried a broad mix of event coverage from conventional sports—including car racing, college basketball and NHL hockey—to extreme sports —such as BMX, skateboarding and motocross. [ 36 ] The “ ESPN BottomLine “, a watch displaying sports newsworthiness and scores during all programming that is now used by all of ESPN ‘s networks, originated on ESPN2 in 1995. [ 37 ] In the late 1990s, ESPN2 was gradually reformatted to serve as a secondary exit for ESPN ‘s mainstream sports programming. [ 38 ]

ESPN Classic.

ESPN Classic is a subscription television receiver net that launched in 1995 as classic Sports Network, founded by Brian Bedol and Steve Greenberg. ESPN Inc. purchased Classic Sports Network in 1997 for $ 175 million, [ 39 ] rebranding the channel to its current name the stick to year. The duct broadcasts luminary archive sporting events ( primitively including events from past decades, but now focusing chiefly on events from the 1990s and belated ), sports documentaries and sports-themed movies .


ESPNews is a subscription television network that was launched on November 1, 1996, originally focusing entirely on sports news, highlights and imperativeness conferences. Since August 2010, the network has gradually incorporated encores of ESPN ‘s diverse sports debate and entertainment shows and video recording simulcasts of ESPN Radio shows, in addition to sports newsworthiness programming ( which since the 2013 cancellation of Highlight Express, [ 40 ] consists chiefly of extra runs of SportsCenter ) ; ESPNews besides serves as an flood feed due to programming conflicts caused by sporting events on the other ESPN networks .

ESPN Deportes.

ESPN Deportes ( spanish pronunciation : [ˈen deˈpoɾtes ], “ ESPN Sports ” ) is a subscription television receiver network that was primitively launched in July 2001 to provide spanish simulcasts of certain Major League Baseball telecasts from ESPN. It became a 24-hour sports channel in January 2004 .


ESPNU is a subscription television network that launched on March 4, 2005, and focuses on college athletics including basketball, football, baseball, college naiant, and methamphetamine field hockey.

Longhorn Network.

The Longhorn Network is a subscription television receiver network that was launched on August 26, 2011, focusing on events from the Texas Longhorns varsity sports teams of the University of Texas at Austin. [ 41 ] It features events from the 20 sports sanctioned by the Texas Longhorns athletics department, along with original program ( including historical, academic and cultural message ) .

SEC Network.

SEC Network is a subscription television network that launched on August 14, 2014, focusing on the coverage of sporting events sanctioned by the Southeastern Conference. Created as a consequence of a 20-year air partnership between the two entities, the net is a joint venture between the league and ESPN Inc. ( which operates the network ). [ 42 ] [ 43 ]

ACC Network.

Launching on August 22, 2019, the ACC Network is a subscription television receiver network which focuses on the sporting events of the Atlantic Coast Conference as region of a stream agreement extending to the 2036–37 academician term as a joint venture of network hustler ESPN Inc. and the ACC. [ 44 ]

early services.


ESPN launched its high definition simulcast feed, originally branded as ESPNHD, on March 30, 2003 with a circulate of the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels ( then the Anaheim Angels ). [ 45 ] All studio apartment shows based in Bristol and at L. A. Live, along with most alive consequence telecasts on ESPN, are broadcast in high definition. ESPN is one of the few television networks with an all-digital infrastructure. Archived non-HD program is presented in 4:3 standard definition with stylize pillarboxing. Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn began airing in HD on September 27, 2010, with the resettlement of the production of both shows into the facility house the Washington, D.C. chest of drawers for ABC News. [ 46 ] ESPN, as with Disney/ABC ‘s other television networks, broadcasts HD programming in the 720p resolution format ; this is due to the fact that ABC executives had proposed a progressive scan signal that resolves fluid and high-speed apparent motion in sports well, particularly during slow-motion replays. [ 47 ] The network ‘s Digital Center itself natively holds 2160p UHD/4K operations and equipment. [ 48 ] [ 49 ] In 2011, ESPNHD began to downplay its distinct promotional logo in planning for the conversion of its standard definition feed from a 4:3 full-screen to a letterboxed format ( via the application of the AFD # 10 display masthead ), which occurred on June 1 of that class .
WatchESPN was a web site for desktop computers, american samoa well as an application for smartphones and tablet computers that allows subscribers of participating pay-TV providers to watch live streams of programming from ESPN and its sister networks ( with the exception of ESPN Classic ), including most sporting events, on computers, mobile devices, Apple TV, Roku and Xbox Live via their television Everywhere login provided by their cable supplier. The servicing in the first place launched on October 25, 2010, as ESPN Networks, a pour service which provided a live stream of ESPN exclusive to Time Warner Cable subscribers. [ 50 ] ESPN3, an on-line streaming service providing live streams and replays of global sports events that launched in 2005 as a separate web site, [ 51 ] was incorporated into the WatchESPN platform on August 31, 2011. [ 52 ] Likewise, ESPN+ was launched in April 2018 as an addition subscription for $ 4.99 per calendar month. [ 53 ] On June 1, 2019, WatchESPN was discontinued with the military service ‘s full fusion into the ESPN app .
ESPN Regional Television ( once branded as ESPN Plus ) is the net ‘s syndication arm, which produces collegiate sporting events for free-to-air television receiver stations throughout the United States ( chiefly those affiliated with networks such as The CW and MyNetworkTV or mugwump stations ). ESPN Plus syndicates college football and basketball games from the American Athletic Conference, Big 12 Conference, [ 54 ] Mid-American Conference, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Sun Belt Conference and the Western Athletic Conference .

ESPN on Snapchat

ESPN distributes versatile content on Snapchat Discover, including a Snapchat-only translation of SportsCenter .
ESPN MVP ( initially known as Mobile ESPN ) was a 2005 try at having ESPN operate a fluid virtual network operator with single fluid message, beginning as a feature telephone, then after ESPN MVP ‘s ending into a Verizon Wireless paid serve. Technologies developed for it have since been transferred to the network ‘s successful mobile strategy in the smartphone era .

International channels.

ESPN owns and operates regional channels in Brazil, Caribbean, Latin America, Netherlands, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Canada, ESPN is a minority owner of The Sports Network ( TSN ) and the French-language Réseau des sports ( RDS ). ESPN besides has a minority stake in J Sports in Japan. In the United Kingdom, BT Group operates the channel BT Sport ESPN .

In popular culture.

ESPN has been a separate of popular culture since its origin. many movies with a cosmopolitan sports theme will include ESPN announcers and programming into their storylines. many jokes have been made by comedians about imposter obscure sports that are shown on ESPN. Dennis Miller mentioned watching “ sumo rodeo, ” while George Carlin stated that ESPN showed “ australian dick writhe. ” One of several Saturday Night Live sketches poking fun at the network features a fabricated ESPN2 program called Scottish Soccer Hooligan Weekly, which includes a fake ad for “ Senior Women ‘s Beach Lacrosse. ” An episodic joke used in comedic television receiver and film involves people getting ESP ( the coarse abbreviation for extrasensory perception, that was coincidentally the working abbreviation for the transmit prior to its launch ) confused with ESPN, frequently including person saying a sentence along the lines of “ I know these kinds of things, I ‘ve got ESPN. ” There are besides at least 22 children that are named after the net. [ 55 ] [ 56 ]


ESPN has been criticized for focusing besides much on men ‘s college and professional sports, and very little on women ‘s sports or other extreme sports. [ 57 ] Baseball, ice ice hockey, and soccer fans have besides criticized ESPN for not giving their respective sports more coverage. [ 58 ] [ 59 ] other criticism has focused on ethnicity in ESPN ‘s change mediated forms, american samoa well as carriage fees and issues regarding the exporting of ESPN content. [ 60 ] Some critics argue that ESPN ‘s success is their ability to provide early enterprise and fact-finding sports newsworthiness while competing with other hard sports-news-producing outlets such as yahoo ! Sports and Fox Sports. [ 61 ] Some scholars have challenged ESPN ‘s journalistic integrity, calling for an expanded standard of professionalism to prevent biased coverage and conflicts of pastime. [ 62 ] On October 8, 2019, Deadspin reported that an internal memo was sent to ESPN employees instructing them to avoid any political discussions regarding the People ‘s Republic of China and Hong Kong in the aftermath of a pinch by Rockets general coach Daryl Morey. [ 63 ]


  • National Hispanic Media Coalition’s “Outstanding Commitment and Outreach to the Latino Community”, 2016[64]

See besides.



  • McGuire, John; Armfield, Greg G.; Earnheardt, Adam C., eds. (2015). The ESPN Effect: The Making of a Sports Media Empire. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-1-4331-2600-0.
  • Miller, James Andrew; Shales, Tom (2011). Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-04300-7.
  • Vogan, Travis (2015). ESPN: The Making of a Sports Media Empire. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-03976-8.
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