The special SportsCenter on the eve of ESPN’s 30th anniversary, hosted by the three SportsCenter anchors of longest service – Chris Berman, Bob Ley and John Saunders – will include segments throughout that look back at great moments in sports over three decades and the trio’s careers at ESPN. The 90-minute program airs Sunday, Sept. 6, at 11:30 p.m. ET. It will be reaired the following morning, Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7, starting at 4:30 a.m. and will be seen five times through noon. Live updates with the latest sports news will be inserted.
Mixed into the presentation of the sports news of the day will be a variety of interstitial segments:
- The show will begin with a special opening that features four different looks from SportsCenter’s evolution over the years.
- Three short segments will show the veteran anchors and their most memorable moments, along with the changes in their appearance and bloopers.
- Each anchor will reflect upon their favorite moment in sports since 1979.
- Former SportsCenter anchor Robin Roberts, now of ABC’s Good Morning America, interviewed SportsCenter pioneer Gayle Gardner.
- A look at 1979 – the world of sports and pop culture when ESPN launched.
Ley joined ESPN two days after its September 7, 1979, launch, while Berman soon followed in October. Saunders came to ESPN in 1986.
Berman — “30 years is a long time, but then again, 1979 seems like yesterday. There are a ton of people who made ESPN’s success possible, and I am thrilled to be sharing our anniversary SportsCenter with two of them, Bob Ley and John Saunders. Better yet, we’ll be able to share it with the most important folks – our viewers – whether they’ve been with us for three decades or three months. I’m really looking forward to the evening.”
Ley — “To borrow and adapt from rocker Bob Seger – ’30 years, where’d they go?’ The number has the feel of an ‘era’ – which may explain the grey hair and slower 40-yard times. But getting to work with Boomer and that short-timer Saunders – hey, John’s only been here 23 years – will be a real treat. SportsCenter’s place in the national cultural conversation is something truly special – we treasure it and respect it – and SportsCenter’s the perfect place to observe this milestone. I hope I can stay up that late. “
Saunders – “I remember my parents sitting me in front of the TV to watch Chris and Bob….just joking! I’m actually the oldest of the three. But between us we have more than 90 years in the business and over 83 years at ESPN. I am proud to have been part of it and excited to join two guys I sincerely respect and who I call my friends to celebrate Sportscenter’s 30th year.
Berman, Ley & Saunders
Berman has been selected the National Sportscaster of the Year (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 2001) six times by the members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He regularly hosted SportsCenter in ESPN’s first 11 years. He will begin his 24th consecutive season as studio host of Sunday NFL Countdown this fall and has been calling Major League Baseball since 1990.
Ley spearheads ESPN’s aggressive coverage of breaking news and issues. He has hosted the award-winning Outside the Lines since its inception in May 1990. Outside the Lines has captured 10 Sports Emmy Awards and three CableACE Awards as cable’s top Sports Information Series. He’s been a fixture on SportsCenter and continues to host weekend editions. In 2010, he will serve as a host of the extensive coverage of the FIFA World Cup from South Africa.
Saunders is one of ESPN’s most visible and versatile commentators. He plays a prominent role in some of ESPN’s highest-profile sports, including NBA, college football and college basketball studio host and/or play-by-play. In addition, he was named host of Sports Reporters in January 2002. Saunders consistently co-hosted SportsCenter during the 1980s and ‘90s. As in 2008, he will team with Berman on the Sunday 7 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, focusing on the NFL games played that day.