I guess the wrong word to use is hype, but ESPN is using the “excitement” surrounding Barack Obama’s Inauguration, and airing something that they are calling “Breaking Barriers”. Not only that, but they also plan on airing Obama’s swearing in as President, live on Sports Center. Via ESPN….

ESPN will commemorate and cover Barack Obama’s inauguration Tuesday, January 20, with a 10-hour marathon, Breaking Barriers, starting at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN Classic that will feature ground-breaking African-American athletes such as Arthur Ashe, Jack Johnson and Eddie Robinson. ESPN Classic will also present seven hours of Breaking Barriers on Monday, January 19, Martin Luther King Day, with programs devoted to Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and other ground-breaking black athletes.

In addition, SportsCenter will present live coverage of President-elect Obama’s swearing-in ceremony starting at 11:30 a.m. with Jeremy Schaap reporting from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Schaap will also provide reaction from athletes in attendance.

ESPN’s inauguration coverage will include “Realizing The Dream” vignettes on Tuesday, January 20, in which sports figures talk about what Barack Obama and his election means to them. The vignettes will air within ESPN studio programming – including SportsCenter – and across platforms (ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile Properties, etc.). Sports figures participating in the vignettes include Magic Johnson, Tom Jackson, Paul Pierce and Craig Robinson, the Oregon State head basketball coach and brother-in-law of Obama.

The ESPN Classic stuff seems like a good enough idea, but I really don’t see what the point in airing the ceremony is. It’s definitely a momentous occasion, but not one that needs to be covered by the “Worldwide Leader in Sports”. Here’s the schedule of shows in case you want to check them out….

Breaking Barriers Schedule on ESPN Classic, Tuesday, Jan. 20

1975 Wimbledon Finals: Arthur Ashe vs. Jimmy Connors (1-3pm)
Jack Johnson documentary (3-4pm)
SportsCentury: Bill Russell (4-5pm)
National Championship: Texas Western vs. Kentucky (5-6pm)
Third and a Mile: History of the Black Quarterback (6-7pm)
Eddie Robinson’s 400th Victory (7-9:30pm)
SportsCentury: Ernie Davis (9:30-10:30pm)
10:30-11 p.m. SportsCentury: Willie Jeffries

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