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SportsCenter AM Launching February 8th

Jason Barrett

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With a new format designed to serve sports fans as they go about their early morning routine, SportsCenter:AM will launch Monday, Feb. 8, at 7 a.m. ET on ESPN.

Starting earlier than a live SportsCenter ever has on a regular basis, SportsCenter:AM will display a new vision for ESPN’s signature news and information program, with a greater emphasis on highlights and video, and a faster pace and more personality, while understanding the demands and time restrictions of morning viewers.

“We know that from 7-10 a.m., sports fans are on the go,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News. “So this show will be especially attuned to the needs of this audience: delivering a smart, fast-paced, highlights-driven report that’s mindful of the time fans have to consume news as they start their days.”

The three-hour SportsCenter:AM will feature four ESPN personalities, with Jay Harris, Kevin Negandhi and Jaymee Sire anchoring the program joined by contributor Sarina Morales. Morales will be active on social media platforms such as Periscope and Snapchat during the show.

The program will contain three distinct hours, with the first hour focusing on taking a fresh look at highlights from the previous night in sports. The second hour will showcase top plays and moments from the previous night and the third hour will begin the transition to the upcoming day in sports while still featuring highlights. SportsCenter:AM will have a unique look and feel with its own graphics, lighting and colors.

All of ESPN’s daytime SportsCenter editions will have a different appearance beginning Feb. 8. From 7 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., each of the four shows will have a distinct format and identity:

10-11 a.m.Hannah Storm will host an hour program focused on interviews, high-profile guests and news topics. Storm’s “Face to Face” interviews with athletes and newsmakers will be part of the program on a regular basis. Storm and her guests will elevate the conversation, with an evolved look at the previous night’s events and the day’s biggest storylines. Toni Collins will join Storm in the studio for news updates.

11 a.m. – noonChris McKendry and Jay Crawford will continue as hosts of the now one-hour 11 a.m. program, which will provide viewers SportsCenter’s deepest look at the day’s biggest stories. The program will leverage ESPN’s vast analyst, insider and reporter roster to explore major daily storylines, with analysts joining the anchors on the set and reporters adding information from the field. As with the 10 a.m. program, Collins will provide news updates.

Noon – 1:30 p.m.Cari Champion and David Lloyd will host the midday show that will feature a conversational format, reflecting a time of day that demands an evolved discussion of the most compelling events and storylines. The show also will have contributions fromSportsCenter fan correspondent Reese Waters and will include features. The noon show will run 90 minutes.

Also on Feb. 8, Mike & Mike will debut an enhanced studio set. Mike & Mike airs weekdays, 6 – 10 a.m. on ESPN Radio and is simulcast on ESPN2. SportsCenter:AM and Mike & Mike will work closely to share resources.

Credit to ESPN Media Zone who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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