A day after Fox spent a good portion of its upfront presentation on sports, it was ESPN’s turn on Tuesday. And while the Worldwide Leader came into its upfront limping after the layoff of some 100 anchors, reporters and writers, ESPN forged ahead with its presentation putting its best foot forward.
That included pulling out its stars like Mike Greenberg (officially announcing his morning show), Scott Van Pelt, Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Hannah Storm, Kirk Herbstreit, Kenny Mayne, Rece Davis, Suzy Kolber, Jemele Hill and others. And tapping its power in the world of sports and music by bringing in Serena Williams, Joel Embiid, Paul Pierce and Kelly Rowland, formerly of Destiny’s Child.
The whole upfront presentation was to let advertisers know that ESPN was still around and that it was not going anywhere.
However, it was also to inform ad buyers of a new daytime lineup that would not be dependent on SportsCenter as in the past. Instead, the marketers got wind of a new era for the sports news program as it would only occupy a three-hour block in the early morning on ESPN2 and would not appear until the Michael Smith-Jemele Hill 6 p.m. ET edition on ESPN. But there would be updates throughout the day on both TV and digital.
Here’s what the new daytime lineup on ESPN/ESPN2 looks like starting on January 2, 2018:
ESPN didn’t break ground during its upfront presentation, but it did give advertisers a sense that it was business as usual, providing viewers with personality-driven shows and the events that the network hopes will attract eyeballs so advertisers will be happy in the 2017-18 television season.