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One of several logos from ESPN2's early days.
These "graffiti 2" logos were used until 2001.
ESPN2 is a Americanmarker sports cable television network owned by ESPN. The channel debuted on October 1, 1993.

Originally nicknamed "the deuce," ESPN2 was initially branded as a network for a younger generation of sports fans featuring edgier graphics as well as extreme sports like motocross, snowboarding, and BMX racing. This mandate was phased out by the late 1990s, as the channel increasingly served as a second outlet for ESPN's mainstream sports coverage.

Early years


The original ESPN2 graphics featured the letters "ESPN" in several fonts, one of which was its traditional script, with the only consistency being the '2' that looked like spray painted graffiti. On-screen graphics used an odd font with random capital letters, as "tHis iS aN ExAMplE". No announcers wore ties and traditional sports had "deuce names", NASCAR was "Hell on Wheels", the NHL was "Fire on Ice", and so on.


The first program on ESPN2 was SportsNight, a sports news hybrid featuring Keith Olbermann and Suzy Kolber. The debut was noted by Olbermann's statement at the beginning of transmission: "Good evening, and welcome to the end of my career." Several notable ESPN personalities debuted on ESPN2's SportsNight, among them Stuart Scott and Kenny Mayne. (Not to be confused with the short lived ABC sitcom Sports Night, which was similar to ESPN's SportsCenter, or the long running BBC show Sportsnight).

Experimental broadcasts

In its early years, ESPN2 was used for some experimental sports broadcasts. On September 18, 1994, ESPN covered the CART Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, and ESPN2 featured a live simulcast with an all on-board camera broadcast. ESPN2 featured several half-hour news programs focused on specific sports, such as NFL 2Night (football), NHL 2Night (hockey), and RPM 2Night (auto racing). In 1995, ESPN2 debuted a sports news ticker, dubbed the "BottomLine," which was present almost 24 hours a day, rather than just at the top and bottom of the hour as it has been done on ESPN. ESPN2's sports telecasts were also among the first to regularly use a scoring bug.

ESPN2 since the late 1990s

Beginning in the late 1990s, ESPN2 began to offer much of the same programming as ESPN, often airing spill over programs from "The Mothership." Graphics and announcer dress became nearly the same as ESPN, only using blue where ESPN uses red, plus the addition of the "2" at the end of the logo. The blue color scheme changed to red in 2007.


Sports events presented on ESPN2 tend to be alternative sports such as poker, billiards, lumberjacking, extreme sports and, more recently, drum and bugle corps. However, in recent years ESPN2 has broadcast increasingly more mainstream sporting events, including Major League Baseball games, the East-West Shrine Game, much of the 2006 World Baseball Classic, many Major League Soccer and NCAA Basketball games, the WNBA, the Arena Football League, NASCAR Nationwide Series races on Saturday afternoons, and the Grand Slam Tennis tournaments the Australian Openmarker, the French Openmarker, Wimbledonmarker, and the US Openmarker.

Most of ESPN's soccer output is broadcast on ESPN2. This includes Major League Soccer, all Barclays Premier League games that are broadcast on ESPN UK, two dozen La Liga matches, and the United States' 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. ESPN2 formerly broadcast matches of the UEFA Champions League, until rights for that tournament moved to Fox Soccer Channel and its sister stations.

ESPN2's former flagship show, the morning sports/entertainment program Cold Pizza, achieved minimal success and saw several format and host changes. In January 2006, it was supplanted by the TV simulcast of ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning (which moved from ESPNews) and moved to a later time slot (10a-12n EST). In May 2007, Cold Pizza moved from New York City to the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, and was renamed ESPN First Take. In February 2007, NASCAR Now made its debut on ESPN2. To cover NASCAR news, updates, and stats. Plus, NASCAR Now has special 1-hour called a "roundtable" editions on Mondays.

In 2003, ESPN2 began broadcasting Major League Lacrosse games. In March 2007, both agreed on a contract that will run until the 2016 season. [66906]

Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, a program that featured interviews with popular sports figures, had averaged extremely low ratings, and had also faced several time slot changes, until it was finally canceled in January 2007.

Every Saturday morning on ESPN2 is "Bass Saturday" where Bass Fishing programs are shown.

On-screen graphics

The "2" does not feature the signature stripe through the font like the other letters in the logo. ESPN's sports ticker, the "BottomLine", continues to run at the bottom of the screen, featured on all ESPN2 programs, whereas ESPN still only features the ticker during its highlights programs and at :18 and :58 on the hour during live game coverage. ESPN2 now appears in 89 million homes in the United Statesmarker, eleven million fewer than ESPN.

Conversion to ESPN branding

On February 1, 2007, the sports-media blog Deadspin reported that ESPN2 branding will be soon dropped entirely, in favor of ESPN, for the channel's in-game graphics, similar to the current ESPN branding on ABC sports broadcasts. The ESPN2 brand would be retained only for identification between the two channels, such as in the BottomLine. This change took place in full effect on February 12, 2007, as all on-air graphics (scorebox, transitional, mic flags, etc.) began using the ESPN logo rather than the ESPN2 logo. Another, more subtle change was made to the BottomLine, which is now red like the version of the BottomLine used on the main network; as expected, the ESPN2 logo remained on the BottomLine and ESPN2HD pillarboxes to further distinguish ESPN and ESPN2.


ESPN2HD is a 720p high definition simulcast of ESPN2 that launched in January 2005.

ESPN2HD has been adding more high definition programming with the addition of NASCAR Now, ESPN First Take, and Mike and Mike in the Morning. All three shows are broadcast from the ESPN Digital Center in Bristol, Connecticutmarker. There are at least 8 and a 1/2 hours per day of High Definition programming plus whatever live sporting events are shown.

For the 2006 FIFA World Cup, most games were shown on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, marking a major milestone for the network. Availability of the network is growing, with more cable providers (Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable, and others), satellite providers (Dish Network and DirecTV), and AT&T U-Verse all carry the HD version.

Just like ESPNHD, ESPN2HD uses stylized pillarboxes meaning that when the program being shown is only available in 4:3 standard definition (and not 16:9 high definition), the ESPN2HD logo is used to fill in the blank space on the sides.


ESPN2 has also simulcast many games with ESPN, usually as a part of a ESPN Full Circle special, which covers a single telecast across several ESPN networks, with each network providing a different form of coverage (such as different camera angles).

ESPN2 also simulcasts some ESPNews programming, often during local blackouts, and for a while provided a Sunday simulcast of ESPN Deportes' SportsCenter.

ESPN2 also often carries SportsCenter on days where the regular ESPN broadcast is overrun by a longer than expected sporting event. ESPN and ESPN2 also jointly aired 2 episodes of a documentary special called This is SportsCenter, where ESPN showed a documentary showing the production of a SportsCenter episode, while the finished product aired on ESPN2.

Both ESPN and ESPN2 carried ABC News coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

ESPN2 also aired the men's basketball SEC Championship Game in 2008 to most of the nation, since a storm damaged the initial site of the tournament, causing the schedule to be rearranged in conflict with CBS's coverage of the Big Ten Championship Game. The game was produced by CBS. In SEC territory, the Big Ten game appeared on ESPN2.

External links


  1. Quite Frankly... There's No One Watching Your Show
  2. Quite Frankly Host Smith Unhappy About Show's Development
  3. Espn: The Last Days Of ESPN2

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