SportsCenter has been the flagship show of ESPN since the network launched more than 35 years ago. In the last several years, SportsCenter has rapidly evolved. The show has always continued to change and grow since its beginning days, but with the shift to digital and the ever-changing value and importance of sports highlights, it seems that SportsCenter’s evolution has gone into overdrive.
On the television side, we’ve seen SportsCenter go 24/7 on ESPNEWS, we’ve seen Scott Van Pelt and Jemele Hill and Michael Smith get their own personality driven shows, and ESPN try to turn SportsCenter:AM into a morning show. And in recent times, SportsCenter has moved more and more away from highlights towards an analyst and interview driven format.
What’s SportsCenter’s next evolution? Going social.
Today ESPN announced that its flagship program would be coming to SnapChat this week with two daily shows at 5 PM/AM ET on weekdays and one at 5 AM on weekends. In a format that fits the platform, the shows are only going to be just 3-5 minutes in length. And they’ll offer users a mix of news, highlights, and commentary.
ESPN will also be making a splash with new hire Katie Nolan hosting the debut episode. Cassidy Hubbarth, Elle Duncan, Cy Amundson, and Jason Fitz are listed by ESPN as other hosts that will work in a rotation for the SnapChat episodes of SportsCenter.
Here are more details via ESPN:
ESPN is launching a new SportsCenter show on Snapchat. The show will debut today at 5 p.m. ET, and tomorrow will begin its regular schedule with new shows available twice a day at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, and once at 5 a.m. on weekends. SportsCenter on Snapchat, the first ever daily sports show on the platform, will be three to five minutes in length and will include a mix of the latest sports news, highlights and commentary.
SportsCenter on Snapchat will be hosted by a dynamic roster of ESPN talent, each with his or her own unique point of view, providing diverse perspectives and personality to every show. Today’s first show will be hosted by Emmy-winning sports personality Katie Nolan, who recently joined ESPN. Other hosts for SportsCenter on Snapchat include Elle Duncan, Cassidy Hubbarth, Jason Fitz and Cy Amundson.
“SportsCenter on Snapchat provides a creative new format and platform for our flagship franchise to continue to evolve,” said Connor Schell, ESPN executive vice president, content. “Katie, Elle, Cassidy, Jason and Cy collectively bring a new style, energy and substance that I believe will connect with Snapchat’s audience in a real way. I’m thrilled to bring this level of talent and personality to a new and innovative daily touchpoint for ESPN.”
“The original SportsCenter defined and changed the way people watched sports,” said Sean Mills, Head of Original Content for Snap Inc. “Today the enormous changes resulting from technology, especially mobile, are having a huge impact on how sports fans follow their favorite players and teams, not to mention fundamentally changing the conversations around sports. There’s a huge opportunity to reimagine SportsCenter for this new medium — and we’re thrilled about the team and talent ESPN has assembled to do it.”
SportsCenter on SnapChat achieves a few important things for ESPN. First, it keeps ESPN’s most valuable show relevant by bringing it to fans in a new short format that’s very easy to digest on social media. Second, it reaches new people (mainly younger fans) on a new platform that definitely aren’t sitting down for an hour to watch an entire episode of SportsCenter. Third, it showcases Katie Nolan and others at ESPN that could very well be the future of the company.
Much has been made of how a cable giant like ESPN will cope in the coming years with the ongoing shift to digital. With the popularity of SnapChat and the ever-evolving status of SportsCenter, this seems like a brilliant idea.