SportsCenter to air live in mornings starting Aug. 11; Storm joins ESPN
Starting Aug. 11 -- the opening week of the Beijing Olympic Games -- SportsCenter will begin airing live from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. ET on weekdays.
Disney Sports Complex Rebranded by ESPN
Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. is being rebranded with the ESPN brand.
Plans are still in the development stage, but initial concepts call for incorporating ESPN elements throughout the 220-acre complex, which is a leading venue for amateur and professional sports.
"Our involvement in the Disney sports complex will provide greater opportunities for us to connect directly with athletes, coaches and fans in a highly immersive way," George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports, and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks said. "Our involvement also provides us with a unique and exciting new media platform that will enable our advertisers and sponsors to reach new customers and bring their products and services to life.''
Nearly two million athletes, coaches and spectators come through the complex each year.
In addition, former CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm is joining ESPN to host the 9 a.m. to noon block of the new live morning SportsCenter. Storm is an award-winning newscaster who has worked for CNN, NBC and CBS in her 19-year career.
The new nine-hour block of SportsCenter will feature three teams of two anchors with one update anchor in three-hour shifts. Shows will usually reset each hour with SportsCenter Right Now updates every 20 minutes each hour.
SportsCenter has been re-airing on tape in the mornings since 1996.
Also, a new SportsCenter.com will debut. Some content for the morning SportsCenters will be generated through fan interactivity from the new Web site.
And a continuous Bottom Line will air during the SportsCenters, giving viewers the latest news and scores -- even during commercials.
"These live SportsCenters will answer fans' call for greater immediacy and interactivity," Norby Williamson, executive vice president of production, said. "Going live will allow us to put a fresh perspective on the previous night's games and cover breaking news during the day, all within the traditional SportsCenter approach, which focuses on highlights, scores and news."
Storm comes to ESPN from CBS, where she was a host on the Early Show. She has covered many national and international news events during her career and is known as a skilled interviewer.
She said she is excited to return to her sports roots with ESPN.
"I am passionate about sports and really excited to return to my roots. ESPN is changing the sports broadcasting game again with the introduction of the new SportsCenter a.m. and I'm thrilled to be a part of the team," she said.