In honor of ESPN’s 40th anniversary on the air, Snoop Dogg and Queen Latifah laid down some custom tracks of hip-hop classic “Rapper’s Delight,” which debuted on Sept. 16, 1979, nine days after ESPN premiered on Sept. 7 of that same year.
The network is programming a range of specials to celebrate the milestone, including SportsCenter Special: ESPN’s 40, a collection of 40 testimonials from the likes of Chris Berman, George Bodenheimer, Linda Cohn, Bob Ley, Molly Qerim Rose, Bill Rasmussen, Robin Roberts and Stephen A. Smith.
Speaking of Berman, the ESPN icon spent the week counting down the 40 top sports moments since the network aired, the determining of which cannot have been easy.
On Tuesday, Sept. 10, the network will air the game that started it all, and it’s not any game you might be thinking of: it’s a professional slow-pitch softball game between the Kentucky Bourbons and the Milwaukee Schlitzes kicked off the network. The game video had been lost to time, but the network dug it up to tell the story of the forgotten telecast in E:60 Game 1, airing at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10.
Finally, the specially-designed ESPN 40 logo will run across the lower part of the screen on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews and ESPNU all day Friday and Saturday.
Online, on the ESPN app and across ESPN’s social platforms, fans can find the Ultimate SportsCenter Quiz where they can test their knowledge of the brand and its memorable commercials.
ESPN also is launching the ESPN Archive channel on YouTube, featuring excerpts from such classic ESPN shows and events such as SportsCenter, First Take, College GameDay, Monday Night Football and WNBA. A comprehensive playlist of those aforementioned SportsCenter clips will be available on the channel, so fans might want to check them out before taking the quiz.
Additional interviews and clips from ESPN’s 40 also will be offered on ESPN.com and the ESPN app. And look for the ESPN 40 logo to take over ESPN’s social platforms on Saturday, the network’s actual birthday.