ESPN Debuts New, Ridiculously Futuristic 'SportsCenter' Set

Dan Carson@@DrCarson73Trending Lead WriterJune 23, 2014


Do not adjust your television. ESPN is not broadcasting from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise; it only looks that way.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports introduced viewers to their new, digital SportsCenter set on Sunday, unveiling a giant studio rife with glowing panels and high-definition screens.

Chris Chase of For The Win brings word on the specifics of the new set, which is just part of a full SportsCenter overhaul. 

Chase writes the new facility has more than seven times as many television monitors as the old set.

“The debut of the new set comes 10 years after the last SportsCenter overhaul. That studio had 15 monitors. The new one has 114,” Chase writes.

These new monitors make for what can only be described as a more “mobile” SportsCenter. In their first show from the new digs, anchors Stuart Scott and Steve Levy moved often, leaving the new Cloud Gate/desk behind to introduce highlights and segments. 

The two joked around a bit about the ridiculously huge set, making echo sounds and calling out to each other from across the space.

Another aspect of the new SportsCenter is a revamping of their "Bottom Line." ESPN’s omnipresent news crawler has received a facelift, featuring a new font called “Swiss” and a smoother scrolling motion. 

So how much does an upgrade of this magnitude cost? According to author James Andrew Miller, ESPN sunk $125 million into the new, digital facility. 

That’s some heavy scratch. Then again, glowing floor panels and thousands of miles of fiber-optic cables don’t come cheap. 

Chase reports that the new DC-2 facility in Bristol, Connecticut, measures 194,000 square feet, will house five studios and required 1,100 miles of fiber-optic cable to become operational. David Scott of ESPN says one of the building’s upper balconies holds a social-media studio built expressly for analysts to interact with viewers on social media.

Yup, ESPN has a studio just for Twitter, which is part of what the sports news giant calls a “future-proof” facility capable of handling all existing media formats and future industry standards. 

As you’d expect, the new setup has met with mixed reviews. 

And here’s a weird moment: ESPN staffers gathered at the old SportsCenter set to watch the new edition. 

I, for one, liked the old set. It was dark and intimate, like sitting down with some friends to shoot the breeze. The new one looks as though ESPN president John Skipper saw the control room from The Hunger Games and said, “Build me that.”

Alas, change is always coming, and we must embrace it or be lost. As long as Kenny Mayne is allowed to continue making jokes at the new desk, we’ll be okay. 

On the Twitters.


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