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–ABC Television Group 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 airing sports news, highlights and press conferences. 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. However, if there is a live sports event in progress on ESPNews, they will put it on their streaming service ESPN 3 to show overflow programming from ESPN, ESPN 2 or ESPN U. The most recent example in 2018 of this was when ESPN & ESPN 2 both had NCAA basketball overflow and ESPNews was supposed to show World Rugby Seven's Series when it was being played in the USA. However due to the overflow they put it on ESPN3 and put the basketball on ESPNews and then put the rugby back on when ESPN & ESPN 2 was done with the games that were currently being shown on both networks Olbermann was also carried live on ESPNEWS on weeknights if sports coverage on ESPN2 overflowed into that program's regular time slot.
As of February 2015, ESPNews is available to approximately 71,989,000 pay television households (61.8% of households with at least one television set) in the United States.
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 sports report 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 overnight anchor for ESPNEWS.
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.
ESPNEWS ran a simulcast of ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning from 2004 to 2005; the program moved to ESPN2 in 2006, although it still occasionally airs on ESPNEWS when live sports events (such as tennis' French Open or Wimbledon) air on ESPN2. When ESPN2 televised the 2009 U.S. Open tennis tournament, SportsNation aired on ESPNEWS instead from August 31 to September 11, 2009.
As ESPN Classic's carriage has declined more into specialty cable tiers due to bandwidth conservation concerns and low viewership, along with the fact that ESPN Classic does not yet have an HD simulcast channel (the former factors eventually led ESPN to transition ESPN Classic into a video on demand service beginning in 2014), ESPNEWS has become the primary overflow network for situations in which ESPN and ESPN2 carry live sports coverage.
In 2007, ESPNEWS began broadcasting a half-hour segment of ESPN Radio programming on Sunday mornings. The broadcast includes three commentators (a retired coach, a retired player, and an analyst) to break down the events of the featured sport, while an on-screen graphical list of standings, statistical leaders, and other statistics of the featured sport is displayed; the upper-right of the screen shows sports highlights (usually of the player or team of discussion); a fan comment board appears at the bottom of the screen, above the ESPNEWS BottomLine.
ESPNEWS operates a high definition simulcast feed, which broadcasts in 720p (the default resolution format for The Walt Disney Company's television properties) and was launched on March 30, 2008. Originally, the layout and graphics were reworked specifically for viewing on widescreen television sets, offering additional content not available on the channel's standard definition feed. It utilized reworked HD sideline graphics, a descendant of the "Rundown" used on overnight editions of SportsCenter on ESPN, which wrapped around the top left and bottom of the widescreen picture. The HD Sideline offered the display of textual information, headshots, news and scores, while still delivering video highlights in the HD format.
The enhanced format was discontinued in June 2010 and the channel now broadcasts in near-fullscreen 16:9, with regular gray and red graphics similar to those used by the other ESPN channels. The move was made to "accommodate the high number of SportsCenters that moved to the network during the World Cup".
On May 20, 2012, ESPNEWS switched the presentation of its standard definition feed from 4:3 to a downscaled widescreen letterbox version of the HD feed, becoming the last ESPN network with a HD companion channel to make the conversion to a full-widescreen presentation. ESPNEWS HD was added to Dish Network on March 18, 2014, as part of a new carriage agreement that ended a four-year dispute that removed existing HD simulcast feeds of Disney-owned channels.
While not operating under the ESPN name, CTV Specialty Television (which is partly owned by ESPN) operates RDS Info, a French-language sister network to Réseau des sports (RDS) (which in turn, is a sister network to the English language TSN), which maintains a sports news format and ticker similar to that used by ESPNEWS, and carries continuous broadcasts of Sports 30 (RDS's equivalent of SportsCenter). Until October 2011, when RDS2 was launched, RDS Info was also used as a part-time secondary outlet for RDS in the event of scheduling conflicts. It has since served as an occasional tertiary outlet for RDS programming, similar to the role now served by ESPNEWS.