SportsCenter to air 50,000th episode in September; revisit Episode No. 1

SportsCenter was the first program on ESPN the night the network launched on Sept. 7, 1979.

This week, original anchor George Grande and ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen reunited in the very studio where the first show originated to look ahead to another milestone: SportsCenter’s 50,000 episode, which will air next month.

The two key figures in that milestone Episode No. 1 reflected upon the show’s impact and how when Grande introduced viewers to the unprecedented 24-hour sports network on the debut episode of its flagship show, he spoke of the mission to serve sports fans.

When Grande relayed the mission in that first show, he said, “If it takes an interview, we’ll do it. If it takes play-by-play, we’ll do it. If it takes commentary, we’ll do that, too. That’s the way we will function from the ESPN SportsCenter.”

The program has clearly evolved since then. Instead of a few shows each evening, SportsCenter has expanded to daytime.

In fact, SportsCenter has become the most televised show in the history of broadcast or cable TV. There have been more SportsCenter episodes than any soap opera, news show, sitcom, drama or anything else.

And the mission to serve sports fans in every way possible that Grande described on the very first show has remained at the core of SportsCenter’s identity.

Almost 33 years to the day of Episode No. 1, SportsCenter will reach another milestone on Thursday, Sept. 13 (the anticipated date): the 50,000th episode.

Check back with Front Row in the coming weeks and days leading up to the milestone for related updates and perspective.

Videography and editing by Tonya Malinowski and Dave Williams.