PORTLAND, OR, United States – The ESPN network has become a staple for any sports fan. No matter what sport you’re into, whether it’s baseball, basketball, American football, soccer, tennis, golf or even extreme sports, ESPN is a rich resource of scores and analysis. But how did this Connecticut-based cable sports network become the go-to place for sports coverage and information?
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, aka ESPN, was founded in 1979 by three individuals who wanted a cable sports network dedicated to covering all the sports events occurring in Connecticut. At the time, only 20 per cent of households in Connecticut had cable TV, however, the founder persevered and eventually convinced cable operators to subscribe to ESPN.
Expansion on screen
ESPN’s popularity rose as the quality of the broadcasts improved and also as more and more American households subscribed to cable television. The most popular show on ESPN, SportsCenter, is screened nightly and similar shows for other sports leagues have followed, including College GameDay for college football and basketball, Baseball Tonight, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown.
ESPN has always been at the forefront of technologies when it comes to bringing amazing sports experiences to viewers. In March 2003, the network began airing high definition sports broadcasts, which worked out nicely as the progressive scan picture brought clarity to fast-moving live sports action. Also, in 2010, ESPN 3D was launched, making ESPN one of the first 3D television channels, most notably broadcasting the 2010 FIFA World Cup in full 3D.
As Internet and mobile technologies became more popular, ESPN positioned itself at the forefront of these as well. Since the dawn of the web, ESPN has had a first class website providing excellent resources for fans. Also, as sports nuts turned to their cell phones for constant updates, ESPN has grown with their needs to provide a fantastic mobile web experience offering apps for all sports, including specialized ones for football and the international market.
I can’t live without ESPN ScoreCenter, which allows you to use your saved teams and sports on ESPN.com to track and follow your favorites’ progress and conferences. Also, while games are live, ScoreCenter provides full stats, score and up-to-the minute play information.
Whenever I can’t make it to a TV to watch a match, especially with college football season in full flow now, ScoreCenter keeps me up to speed as the action unfolds. Also, the app on Windows Phone is a perfect companion while you’re watching TV, as it provides up to the minute statistics on the home and visiting squads.
[Note from Ian: UK readers and others who like their footballs spherical might like to check out a sister app from ESPN, ESPN Goals, which offers complete coverage of the Barclays Premier League]