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September 2, 2014

Happy 30th birthday, ESPN!

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 7th 2009 2:03PM
ESPN_logoToday marks 30 years since the premiere of ESPN. Happy birthday, ESPN! Hard to believe there was actually a time when there wasn't a cable channel devoted completely to sports. In fact, the idea of a cable network that just covered sports was considered as ridiculous as one that only reported the news. Don't even get me started on the radical notion of an all-food channel or one that specialized in weather!

Yes, once upon a time, all those concepts were deemed losers. Back in 1979, if you wanted to know the score of a game in progress, you had to hope it was playing on the radio or TV to tune in. Or, more often than not, wait till the local news broadcast at six o'clock for the score. How did we ever get by?

There's an entire generation that has no conception of life without SportsCenter, ESPN's first broadcast and the centerpiece of the network. My 14-year-old nephew, Zachary, for instance, begins every day by watching SportsCenter. He's grown up watching ESPN. He's not alone.

And SportsCenter has produced stars, too, including the likes of Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Chris Berman and Craig Kilborn. But more importantly, it's changed lives. Today, it's hard to imagine not having SportsCenter to summarize the day's events around the world of sports. If you're a sports fan like me, it's second nature to click on SportsCenter to find out what's happened and what it means because beyond the score, the show incorporates analysis. Again, that's something a two-minute local sports anchor never did and still doesn't.

Not everything about ESPN is great. It's expanded a lot -- probably too much -- and some of the newer personalities define the word obnoxious (Colin Cowherd), but overall, it's been a good thing. Happy Birthday, ESPN. You've done more than put Bristol, Connecticut on the map.

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Jake

What are you talking about? All ESPN is is the E. "Happy" 30th, EsPN

September 07 2009 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Galley

I remember when they used to have non-sports programming. (The "E" in EPSN).

September 07 2009 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toolman

30 years ago ESPN started the systematic destruction of American sports.

ESPN is the reason why college football players can no longer just run into the end zone to score...now they have to somersault their way in, so they can get on Sportscenter (and maybe win the Heisman).

Regardless of what any professional athlete says about wanting to win "a ring" more than anything else, the real object of any sport today has become geting yourself shown on Sportscenter.

Why do they even bother with high school sports?

September 07 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

I was lucky enough to see the first ESPN broadcast and then, as a sportswriter to interview some of the principal broadcasters as it started up. I cannot beleive it was 30 years ago, either

September 07 2009 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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