ESPN teased its new “SportsCenter” set and announced contract extensions for “Pardon the Interruption” co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon at its upfront presentation to advertisers Tuesday.
The new studio space, at ESPN’s Digital Center in Bristol, Conn., is about 10,000 square feet and boasts 114 monitors. It is technically two studios, allowing one show to rehearse while another shoots, and will debut in June.
Kornheiser and Wilbon, who have co-hosted “PTI” since 2001, signed new multi-year extensions, the network said.
ESPN also touted its 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil coverage at the event, which is just a month away. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will air all 64 matches of the tournament.
ESPN has also extended its rights to Major League Soccer and U.S. National Teams, per an eight-year agreement. ESPN2 will televise 34 regular-season matches as part of its “MLS Game of the Week” series on Sundays at 5 p.m., six playoff MLS matches each year, as well as the MLS All-Star game and the MLS Cup in alternating seasons.
The network is also extending its professional tennis coverage, which John McEnroe pitched. The five-time Wimbledon champion joined Keith Olbermann, host of ESPN2’s “Olbermann.”
ESPN’s SEC Network will launch on Aug. 14, and will be carried on AT&T U-Verse, Dish, Google Fiber and National Rural Telecommunications. The network will televise approximately 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually.
ESPN also said its new ad research initiative will measure ad effectiveness across TV, digital, print, and radio, looking at metrics including brand awareness, ad awareness, purchase intent, brand perceptions, actions, and word of mouth.
Finally, the feel-good “Fan for Life” collaboration between ESPN and ABC will launch next Mother’s Day through Father’s Day 2015, and will celebrate parents and the role they play in youth sports.