The ESPN Awards show created by ESPN and bearing ESPN’s name will no longer be televised by ESPN.
ESPN announced this week that that 22 years after its inception (seriously, the ESPYs have been around longer than Marcus Mariota has been alive) the ESPYs would be moved to network primetime and air on Disney relative ABC.
Here’s the news from a network press release:
The ABC Television Network and ESPN announced The 2015 ESPYS Presented by Capital One will move to ABC and broadcast live on Wednesday, July 15, from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. The celebration of the best moments from the year in sports kicks off with SportsCenter at The ESPYS and The ESPYS Countdown Show Presented by Capital One airing from 6-7 p.m. ET and 7-8 p.m. ET, respectively, on ESPN prior to the start of the awards. The ESPYS are executive produced by Maura Mandt and MaggieVision Productions.
The award show gathers top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The ESPYS raise more than $1 million annually for The V Foundation, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano to promote cancer research.
“Our goal with The ESPYS each year is to celebrate the year in sports while showcasing inspiring human stories through our three pillar awards – the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and the Pat Tillman Award for Service,” said Connor Schell, vice president, ESPN Films and Original Entertainment, who oversees The ESPYS. “We are thrilled to broadcast this year’s ESPYS on ABC.”
“The ESPYS attracts celebrities from the movie, television, sport and music industries. This is an opportunity to celebrate the playmakers and share in the emotional connection they have with their favorite sports on the network that is their home away from home,” said Robert Mills, Senior Vice President, Alternative Series, Specials & Late Night Programming, ABC Entertainment. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the show than to offer it a larger landscape for more people to participate in the celebration.”
Networks just looooove awards shows, so I don’t know if this means that the ESPYs are now going to be mentioned in the same breath as the Oscars or Daytime Emmys or if ABC is just that desperate for primetime programming in the summer. There is a bit of a manufactured feel about the whole thing with celebrities and athletes coming together for awards that are by its essence, manufactured. No athlete grows up dreaming of winning an ESPY. (Or do they…) Perhaps that’s why ESPN has been wise to shift the focus more towards honoring the impactful and inspirational related to sports. (Michael Sam, Robin Roberts, Stuart Scott, etc.)
To further add to the irony, ESPN has basically gobbled up many of the live sporting events that had aired on ABC in the past. In return, ABC gets an awards show. I’m not sure how much sports fans really care about the ESPYs deep down, but it does take place on the one day of the year when literally nothing else in the world of sports is happening on the day after the MLB All-Star Game.
The ESPYs have delivered some poignant moments that have broken through and really impacted viewers. The late Stuart Scott’s emotional speech last year was reminiscent of the great Jim Valvano. Hopefully the ESPYs can provide more of those moments that go beyond the manufactured celebrity buzz in the future.