A graphic for the 44th Sports Emmys. A graphic for the 44th Sports Emmys. (TheEmmys.tv.)

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 44th annual Sports Emmy® Awards Tuesday, and there are some interesting notes there. Unsurprisingly, when the nominations are broken down by network group, ESPN is once again on top; that’s been the case every year since 2013, when NBC earned more nominations than them. But there’s some notable movement beyond that.

Last year, ESPN led all network groups with 62 nominations, followed by CBS Sports (33), NBC Sports (30), Fox Sports (26), Turner Sports (24), NFL Network (23), and HBO (18). This year, the top 10 totals are ESPN (59), NBC (38), Fox (33), CBS (29), Turner (26), NFL Network (15), HBO (13), Amazon (8), Netflix (8), and YouTube (8). So that’s a big jump for NBC in particular. And while a lot of that is about their coverage of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics last February (that received 10 nominations, tied with NFLN’s NFL 360 for the most for any program), they also had Summer Olympics coverage (the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, actually held in the summer of 2021) last year. So it’s not just “no Olympics” to “Olympics.”

In terms of individual programs, beyond those 10 nominations for NBC Winter Olympics coverage and NFL 360, the next five most-nominated programs were 2022 NCAA Tournament coverage from CBS and Turner (eight nominations), 2022 FIFA World Cup coverage from Fox (seven nominations), ESPN’s SportsCenter (six nominations), Fox’s Super Bowl LVII coverage (six nominations), and ESPN’s E:60 (five nominations). So a lot of this is about big events, as is often the case. But it is notable to see some ESPN studio coverage and news magazine features get this much attention.

It’s interesting how many of the trends from our analysis of these nominations from 2015-19 still seem to be continuing. As mentioned above, ESPN has been a consistent presence at the top. But  CBS and Fox have grown their nominations significantly since 2015 (18 for CBS including Showtime then, 26 for Fox then), and NBC has continued as a force as well. Meanwhile, NFL Network has grown significantly since eight nominations in 2015 and 10 in 2019. We’ll see who comes away with this year’s awards wins at the May 22 ceremony, which will also see Bryant Gumbel receive a lifetime achievement award.

[The Emmys]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.