SportsCenter fans, rejoice. Those who decry SportsCenter as perpetuating everything wrong with the world of athletics, anti-rejoice. Because your world is about to get yet more SportsCentery.
ESPN put out a release today announcing their flagship program is expanding its reach with seven additional hours every weekday on ESPNEWS. Starting August 30, the program will air on the network Monday-Friday from 3-6 and 7-11 p.m.
According to an ESPN release, the new SportsCenter hours (especially the shows from 3-6) will feature "an increased emphasis on integrated elements to and from ESPN.com." Among them:
"...television segments incorporating ESPN’s local.com sites (ESPNBoston.com, ESPNNewYork.com, ESPNLosAngeles.com, ESPNChicago.com and ESPNDallas.com); interactive polls; fan videos and photos; social media content from fans and athletes; and viewer Q&As with ESPN commentators."
We have to say, this sounds like a smart idea. If you're going to expand an already very expansive franchise, you might as well spice up the formula a bit. ESPN's much-publicized efforts to provide more local content seem a natural fit for more TV time, and of course, an increased emphasis on social media is pretty much par for the course in any current media initiative.
We asked ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz if the move had anything to do with dissatisfaction with current ESPNEWS programming, or whether it was strictly seen as a chance to expand SportsCenter's horizons. He said it was the latter, calling it a "benefit for fans, for SportsCenter, for ESPNEWS, and for advertisers."
Time will tell if it's all of these things, but being ESPN's meal ticket, it's obviously got a nice head start. And no matter what happens, we'll give the network credit for trying something new. A much wiser Decision, if you will.