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ESPN Classic features reruns of famous sporting events, sports documentaries, and sports themed movies. Such programs includes biographies of famous sports figures or a rerun of a famous World Series or Super Bowl, often with added commentary on the event.

Launched in 1995 as Classic Sports Network by Brian Bedol and Steve Greenberg, it was purchased and renamed by ESPN (80% owned by Disney, 20% owned by Hearst) in 1997. The current logo incorporates the "boxer" logo that Classic Sports Network used. (Bedol and Greenberg went on to found College Sports Television, now owned by CBS Corporation.)

ProgrammingEdit

In a cost-cutting move, the schedule (as of July 31, 2007) is largely composed of ESPN original programming, highlighting sports such as poker, bowling, and bass fishing, with less emphasis on re-airing classic games of major-league sports such as National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, and National Collegiate Athletic Association games. (Arena Football was added in March 2007 as part of the new TV contract between the league and ESPN.)

Many of the pro sports games once aired on ESPN Classic are available on NBA TV, NFL Network, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, New England Sports Network, SportsNet New York, YES Network,NHL Network and Versus, among other channels. However, most of the broadcasts on regional sports networks are subject to blackout away from the home team's territory.

In addition, the network presents some original programs (see below).

Despite the old-time feel of the network, ESPN Classic airs the network's standard "Bottom Line" with updates of current sports scores and news.

It is the only U.S.-based ESPN network (and one of two Disney-owned cable channels in the U.S.; ABC Family being the other) to air infomercials; they air from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. ET, seven days a week.

ShowsEdit

Currently airingEdit

Formerly airingEdit

Broadcasting of live eventsEdit

The first live event to be shown on ESPN Classic was the implosion of the Seattle Kingdome in March 2000. More live sporting events have started appearing on the network as of 2005, including early-round grand slam tennis action and college football games due to either ESPN or ESPN2 scheduling conflicts. During ESPN's 25th anniversary, the network debuted ESPN Classic Live, special airings of College Basketball games complete with veteran commentators and old-style graphics. After late 2005 however, all live events on ESPN Classic began using the standard ESPN graphics package, and all graphics began using only the ESPN branding in February 2007.

In September 2006, ESPN Classic began broadcasting same-day taped coverage of UEFA Champions League soccer matches. These games air at 5 p.m. ET, shortly after a live game airs on ESPN2 at 2:45 p.m.

During September 2007, ESPN Classic aired the inaugural Champ Car World Series race at the Assen race course in the Netherlands live.[1] they also aired live coverage of the inaugural race at the Zolder Circuit in Belgium. They then aired the Surfer's Paradise race live in October.

Also that month, ESPN Classic began broadcasting live Saturday afternoon college football games on a weekly basis. The games are simlucast on broadcast television on stations affiliated with the teams involved with the game. The games are also repeated on Sunday Mornings.

Fan interactive specialsEdit

A recent development of ESPN Classic is a series of specials in which fan balloting determines the greatest teams in the history of particular sports. In March 2006, the 1981-82 North Carolina Tar Heels won the fan poll for best-ever college basketball team, in October 2006, the 1927 New York Yankees won for best Major League Baseball team, and in December 2006, the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers won the fan poll for best-ever college football team.[2]

Each of these programs features expert analysis and live interactive voting online at ESPN.com. The first votes are cast one week before the scheduled live show, and balloting continues online and via text messaging until the end of the show.

Cessation of original programmingEdit

On January 14, 2007, Deadspin.com reported that ESPN Classic would no longer create or air original programming. It was not immediately clear what would replace that programming,[3] however, it was assumed that such shows already produced, but not yet aired, would be broadcast at least for a few more months.

Over the next few months, new episodes of Missing Link, Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame, and Ringside did air as scheduled. However, Missing Link was cancelled in June 2007, at which time production was also halted on the other two shows. The long-term future of ESPN Classic appears to be uncertain.

However, ESPN Classic still airs occasional live sporting events if neither ESPN nor ESPN2 are available to carry them. Some examples from the third quarter of 2007:

In addition, ESPN Classic covered the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on July 29. Two of Evander Holyfield's pay per view fights, against Lou Savarese and Sultan Ibragimov, were respectively replayed the following week.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.champcarworldseries.com/Event/Events.asp?ID=609
  2. http://www.latimes.com/sports/custom/extras/la-spw-tvcol8dec08,0,5069626.story?coll=la-sports-extras
  3. http://deadspin.com/sports/espn/espn-continues-to-axe-things-you-probably-dont-watch-228617.php

External linksEdit

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