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ESPNews (pronounced “ESPN News”) is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture between the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company (which owns a controlling 80% stake) and the Hearst Communications (which owns the remaining 20%).
Known as “ESPN3” in its planning stages and proposed as early as 1993, ESPNEWS launched on November 1, 1996 and originally focused on 24-hour coverage of sports news and highlights.
Since 2010, the network has slowly become refocused to carry encores of ESPN’s various sports debate and entertainment shows, along with video simulcasts of ESPN Radio shows, with press conferences now airing during the day on SportsCenter as the main ESPN channel has increasingly become news-based outside live sports – rather than carrying recorded sports events. ESPNEWS has increasingly been used as an overflow network for programming conflicts on the other ESPN networks.
As of September 2018, ESPNews is available to approximately 62.4 million pay television households (68% of households with cable TV) in the United States.
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ESPNEWS is typically offered on the digital tiers of U.S. cable providers, and is carried as a premium channel in some areas; satellite providers offer it on their standard package. Some regional sports networks that are not associated with Fox Sports Net had previously aired ESPNEWS during the overnight or morning hours to provide a pseudo-national sportscast to their viewers, and to fill time that would otherwise be taken up by paid programming or other lower-profile programs, though as vertical integration has occurred with the sports networks now owned by Comcast (with NBC Sports) and Charter Communications, ESPNEWS programming has been dropped from these networks; however, its programming is still carried during the overnight hours on MASN2. If a national ESPN broadcast is blacked out in a particular market, the ESPN broadcast will usually be replaced by ESPNEWS.
The network was formerly simulcast on ESPN during coverage of major breaking sports news before that network expanded SportsCenter into additional daytime slots in 2008; additionally, ABC’s early morning newscast, America This Morning, previously ran a highlights segment rundown featuring sports news headlines and highlights of the previous night’s sporting events presented by an ESPNEWS overnight anchor.
ESPNEWS’s “bottom line” – a small rectangular area at the bottom fifth of the screen which displays sports scores – was formerly more in-depth than the versions used by ESPN’s other networks. It contained not only scores, but also statistics and brief news alerts about the day’s sports headlines.
On November 11, 2006, ESPNEWS marked its 10-year anniversary; programming commemorating the occasion included a montage of highlights covering the past 10 years in sports, along with a broadcast of SportsCenter at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time on that same day. Around that time, the network began airing SportsCenter on nights when sporting event telecasts on ESPN and ESPN2, such as college football or Major League Baseball games, were scheduled to overrun into the program’s regular timeslots on ESPN and ESPN2’s own sports analysis programs, which until 2010 would be the only incidences in which SportsCenter would be carried over to ESPNews.
XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio both provide channels with audio simulcasts of ESPNEWS, with the network’s television advertisements replaced with radio ads from each service. On February 4, 2008, XM rebranded its channel as “ESPN Xtra”, and added radio programs from local ESPN Radio affiliates as well as the audio simulcast of ESPNEWS.
The network switched to a near full-screen presentation in June 2010, with the network switching its BottomLine to the version used on all other ESPN networks in anticipation of the network’s prime-time programming being rebranded under the SportsCenter umbrella title.
In August 2010, telecasts of SportsCenter on ESPNEWS increased in frequency, now airing whenever ESPN or ESPN2 were unable to air the program due to scheduling conflicts, along with an afternoon expansion of SportsCenter to ESPNEWS’s afternoon schedule rather than rolling ESPNEWS-branded coverage, while ESPN and ESPN2 carry sports talk and debate programming. The Beat (a show showing pop culture and sports action to the tune of a beat) was shown while SportsCenter aired on ESPN at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time until its cancellation in July 2011, and replacement by a rebroadcast of the ESPN2 sports talk program SportsNation. By early 2013, the only other programs featured on ESPNEWS were Highlight Express (a half-hour program showing the previous day’s sports highlights, running from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time in the afternoon), and the overnight soccer program ESPNFC Press Pass. A program titled under the ESPNEWS brand was replaced by SportsCenter. The network also airs programming under the College Football Live banner on Saturday afternoons during college football season, a whip-around program similar to ESPN Goal Line, which gives live look-ins to multiple college football games happening simultaneously.
On June 13, 2013, Highlight Express was canceled due to low ratings and company-wide downsizing, leaving the overnight ESPNFC Press Pass, produced primarily for ESPN International, as the only program on the network that was exclusively broadcast (within the U.S.) on ESPNews;that program was removed from the schedule in August 2013, after it was supplanted by a new ESPN2 program simply titled ESPN FC. Additional runs of SportsCenter and other same-day airings of ESPN sports debate programming or the newsmagazine E:60 now fill the network’s schedule, along with encores such as Friday Night Fights, as well as programming affected by sports-induced pre-emptions and overruns such as Olbermann during the US Open. The highlights and segment package for America This Morning came under the purview of the late-night SportsCenter team from Los Angeles from that day forward.
On November 29, 2017 as part of an expected announcement of 150 behind the scenes staffs being laid off from the network, ESPN announced that the primetime SportsCenter editions carried in primetime on ESPNews would be terminated after November 30 to cut costs (breaking sports news coverage will be maintained when needed). They were replaced by a block of reruns of ESPN and ESPN2’s daytime talk programs, including Around the Horn, Highly Questionable, Outside the Lines, Pardon the Interruption, and SportsNation.
In 2019, ESPNews began to increase its focus on programming relating to sports betting, introducing the new weekday studio show Daily Wager in March 2019. In August 2019, it was announced that Daily Wager would move to ESPN2 on August 20, and that ESPNews would adopt a new on-screen layout with a stronger focus on sports information relating to sports betting, such as odds and other news as part of ESPN’s new partnership with the sportsbook of Caesars Entertainment, including betting lines and statistics. Any pro and college games shifted to ESPNews will be presented without betting information, and some leagues will have their teams indicated by genericized city and conference abbreviations in graphics, rather than using team names and logos.