Editor’s Note: As SportsCenter approaches its 50,000th episode (expected to be Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. ET), Front Row will present content related to the show and the milestone.
ESPN Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Mark Gross joined ESPN in 1988 and has played an integral role in the growth of SportsCenter since. Currently, he oversees the strategic direction for SportsCenter (among other assignments) and he recently addressed some of the most common SportsCenter-related topics and questions with Front Row.
On the SportsCenter mission and definition:
SportsCenter is a sports news and information program that serves sports fans through reporting, highlights and context. It shows the most interesting stories and highlights for the biggest audience and when you get through everything else, the most important thing SportsCenter does is document the day and night in sports just like a game telecast would document a game.
On potentially excessive coverage of select players or teams:
We cover the stories that resonate with the widest number of people. That’s what drives our editorial decisions every single day. We can’t do everything for everybody all at the same time, yet we do try to broaden our coverage when we can to cover teams that may have relatively smaller followings. Ultimately, there is no mistaking what our research and ratings tell us about what we cover. While we are aware of the pockets of feedback about coverage fatigue relative to certain players or teams, those same teams and players have wide appeal.
On repetition of stories throughout multiple shows:
When people comment about the SportsCenter repetition, I completely understand that argument, especially since I watch more SportsCenter than most. What you have to remember though is that the average viewer is watching SportsCenter for limited portions at a time. So what may seem like repetition to those who watch it all, to most it’s primarily new material. Another factor is given our role as a 24-hour sports news source, we are defined in many ways by big sports stories. Sports fans rely on us in those situations more than any other time. It’s similar to how news networks cover election campaigns around the clock or how viewers turn to the Weather Channel for comprehensive coverage of a hurricane. Viewers expect wall-to-wall coverage from every angle; that’s why they tune in, and that’s what networks deliver.
On SportsCenter covering leagues/players/teams that ESPN, Inc. has a business relationship with: continue reading…