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Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2001

ESPNews slated to sport dot-com look starting in September

July 11, 2001

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Seeking to package more sports news with an online look, ESPN Inc. is revamping its 24-hour sports news television network.

The Walt Disney Co.-owned cable broadcaster will overhaul its ESPNews network Sept. 7, the 22nd anniversary of ESPN's launch.

The changes will replicate many features of the Web site ESPN.com, such as up-to-the-minute sports scores.

"ESPN is committed to serving sports fans, providing them the very best in instantaneous sports news and information," ESPN president George Bodenheimer said. "The new format is the future of sports news and information."

Though the news network won't include any online interactive elements, its redesign reflects the rising influence of the Internet on television sports programming, company officials said.

The most visible change in the reformatted network will be a continuous bottom-line ticker, somewhat like the stock listings on financial-news programs and networks such as CNBC, that will run during national commercial breaks. The ticker will have multiple layered lines and information boxes with sports scores, updates and news stories as they happen.

The expanded ticker also will display a graphic that tells ESPN viewers what upcoming scores, from football games to tennis matches, they can expect on the ticker scroll.

ESPN expects the changes will help boost distribution of the network, which reaches the fewest households of the four networks under the ESPN umbrella.

Launched in 1996, ESPNews has about 23 million subscribers, compared with 82 million for ESPN. The network was designed as an extension of ESPN's SportsCenter show.

If the revamp is successful, similar changes will be made to the other three networks, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN Classic.

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