ESPN to Commemorate 50th Beatles Anniversary With Special ‘SportsCenter’ Segment (Exclusive)

Bob Ley will walk viewers through the surprising role that sports played during the British invaders’ American trips

ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Sunday will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the United States with a special piece noting how sports played a role in the band’s American experience.

Written and narrated by Bob Ley, the feature looks at the Beatles debut Stateside and sports-related connections, including the band’s famous meeting with Muhammad Ali and iconic Shea Stadium concert.

“I vividly remember watching the Beatles’ appearance on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ that Sunday night in 1964, and I collected all of their records growing up,” Ley recalled. “I still have them. Long live vinyl. It’s the sound track of our generation.”

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He added: “I was fortunate to actually see John Lennon’s final concert performance, Thanksgiving night, 1974, at Madison Square Garden, as he joined Elton John for three songs. One of those songs was ‘I Saw Her Standing There.’ That’s the closest I got to seeing the Beatles live.”

The Beatles made their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964. More than 70 million viewers tuned in to the program.

The crossover segment is still in the editing process, but will likely end up clocking in at 3-5 minutes. The feature first airs Sunday at 10 a.m ET/7 a.m. PT on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” 50 years to the day of the Sullivan performance.