ESPN has been hit by the cord cutting phenomenon really hard, as cuts have ravaged the Worldwide Leader in Sports recently. There’s even another round of cuts that is reportedly coming sometime in the next month or so. This round is reportedly going to be focused on the network’s flagship program, SportsCenter.
Apparently, ESPN plans on expanding SportsCenter in a unique way despite these cuts. According to Variety, ESPN and Snapchat have agreed to a deal for a truncated version of the show that will air twice a day during the week (5 a.m. and 5 p.m.) and once a day at 5 a.m. on weekends. It will be somewhere between 3-5 minutes long and include a number of recognizable ESPN personalities, most notably Katie Nolan.
The first show will be hosted by Katie Nolan, the Emmy-winning sports personality who joined ESPN last month from Fox Sports. Other hosts will include “SportsCenter” anchor Elle Duncan, ESPN NBA commentator Cassidy Hubbarth, ESPN Radio host Jason Fitz, and comedian Cy Amundson. (Jac Collinsworth, recently tapped for ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” as a features reporter, had been slated to be part of the initial roster but for now he is focusing on other projects.)
The shows will have one host and will be “very personality driven,” according to ESPN’s Glenn Jacobs (no, not that Glenn Jacobs). The focus of these shows will be the help take ESPN’s most well-known program and package it in a way that younger sports fans can enjoy.
“SportsCenter” on Snapchat will include highlights, but ESPN says it will focus just as much — if not more — on buzzy topics about stuff off the field, court, or rink. It also will widen the lens of sports it covers, expanding beyond the central focus on the big four American pro sports leagues by TV’s “SportsCenter.”
It’s certainly an ambitious attempt at repackaging one of the network’s cornerstones, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves after it launches.