ESPN Tweaks 'SportsCenter' on Digital, TV

Adds 'Right Now' updates, sets 'personality-driven' TV anchor lineup
Mayne and Steele web.jpg

ESPN said it is adding more digital updates pegged to its SportsCenter brand and has signed anchors for the flagship news-update shows to new deals.

Updates on TV and digital, including those during halftime of primetime events on ESPN TV networks, will be branded SportsCenter Right Now. 

SportsCenter seeks to serve sports fans with singular talent, exceptional news coverage and unprecedented accessibility,” Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News, said in a release. “We plan to be essential when fans awaken, exhaustive whenever fans need a highlight, score or news update, and entertaining pre-game, in-game and postgame. As our audience and its needs change, we change to serve those fans and meet their needs. We always have, and we always will."

The new SportsCenter updates will start in August and run several times an hour on and in the new home-screen video player on the ESPN App.

"Content will be produced specifically for the digital platforms, with the content topics determined by the use of real-time analytics to ensure that the updates are centered on the questions and conversations in which sports fans are most passionately engaged," ESPN said.

Updates also will be worked into live telecasts of primetime games on ESPN and ABC during halftime of ESPN’s Monday Night Football, the NBA Finals on ABC and ABC Saturday Night Football.

Following the launches of SportsCenter With Scott Van Pelt (midnight ET) in 2015 and SC6 with Michael and Jemele (6 p.m. ET with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill) this year, SportsCenter will continue a drive to be associated with specific anchors with some lineup changes.

Said ESPN: "Longtime SportsCenter anchors Steve Levy, Kenny Mayne, John Anderson and John Buccigross have signed new deals to continue with ESPN and will be the hosts of the 11 p.m. ET SportsCenter. For the first time in nearly a decade, Mayne will anchor from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios on a recurring basis beginning June 5. Two of the four will host most weeknight editions of the program as well as some weekends, and the new deals assure the creative core of SportsCenter’s signature postgame experience will remain intact for years to come. Also returning to Bristol will be Sage Steele, who has signed a new, multiyear deal and beginning in late August will anchor SportsCenter:AM from 7-10 a.m. ET Monday-Thursday. Steele also will continue to lead SportsCenter on the Road coverage from major events such as the Super Bowl, the Masters, the NBA Finals, Veterans Day and more.

"SportsCenter:AM will now be seven days a week, with Kevin Negandhi, Jay Harris, Randy Scott, Elle Duncan and Matt Barrie joining Steele as anchors. The Friday-Sunday shows will focus on the big sports action of the weekend and will identify fun, offbeat locations for weekend SportsCenter on the Road programs. Neil Everett and Stan Verrett will continue to anchor the 1 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, which originates from ESPN’s Los Angeles studios and re-airs during the overnight hours, with Mayne and others filling in as needed. As part of a new deal to remain with ESPN, Hannah Storm, currently the host of the 10 a.m. ET SportsCenter, will have a new, prominent role, including hosting prime-time specials and providing high impact journalistic pieces to key properties such as E:60 and SportsCenter."

SportsCenter will continue to air on ESPNEWS from 7-11 p.m. on most weeknights. For the remainder of 2017, it also will continue to air on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., including SportsCenter Coast to Coast. More details, including additional anchor assignments, will be announced at a later time, ESPN said.