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ESPN’s new SportsCenter set lives up to the massive hype

If you haven’t heard, ESPN debuted their new SportsCenter set from their brand new digital center on Sunday night following the Rangers-Angels game. Some felt that the incredible amount of hype was unwarranted and another example of ESPN making themselves the story as opposed to the actual sports, but once we all saw the nuts and bolts of the new set, some of that criticism softened.

The new SportsCenter features new fonts, new colors, and a general new feel surrounding the show. For instance, check out these screencaps from the CJZero of Steve Levy and Stuart Scott at the opening of the show.

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The set itself is much cleaner, much sleeker. And yet, it appears louder due to the presence of the massive video screen behind the anchors. I actually think the presence of those screens makes the anchors seem less prominent than the highlights, which has been a complaint we’ve had in the past.

CJ also noted that the graphics package seems very “flat”, which I’d agree with to an extent.

I think the term I’d use is “sterile”. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there really does seem to be a lack of charm here. It’s a very no frills approach. I do like the change in color scheme from the darker shades of reds (and black) that we’ve seen over the years to a more monochromatic style.

Side by side, the two sets are vastly different. Check out one of the above screencaps next to this pic tweeted out by ESPN’s Chris Hassel.

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When put together like that, you really see how much red overpowered the old set. Yikes.

The new display for tweets is also a huge upgrade over what SportsCenter used to do, which was essentially just throwing them on the screen mixed into their usual graphic package.

If you’re going to emphasize tweets from athletes and viewers, making the presentation cleaner is definitely a good thing.

Not everyone was a fan of the new set, though. One Twitter account that took exception? Fox Sports Live, of course.

The hype surrounding the new SportsCenter set was another example of ESPN making itself the story. But in this case, it was actually warranted. The launch of the new digital center (and as a result, the new SportsCenter set) is a huge turning point in how ESPN will bring viewers content. As the days and weeks move on, we’ll see more and more of the new set, and it will become less of a tired talking point and more of something to marvel at and appreciate.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and a contributing author at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is stuck somewhere between tolerating and hating Pittsburgh and Philadelphia sports.

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