SBJ/November 27 - December 3, 2006/This Weeks News

Booyah, mate! ‘SportsCenter’ goes down under for ESPN International

"SportsCenter" Markets
United States
Pan-Latin America
Hong Kong
Australia/New Zealand

ESPN International has picked Australia and New Zealand as the next markets to launch an international version of its signature “SportsCenter.”

The show, which will launch Jan. 16 on ESPN’s Pacific Rim channel, marks the 11th international version of the daily news program. It will run at 7 a.m. in Australia (9 a.m. in New Zealand) and be repeated throughout the morning. It will roll out a second live show at 10 a.m. in Australia (noon in New Zealand).

ESPN does not plan to air an afternoon edition.

Content will focus heavily on sports that are popular in the region, such as rugby, cricket and Australian Rules Football.

ESPN has definite plans for two more international versions of “SportsCenter.” But Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director of ESPN International, was tight-lipped about the markets next on his list.

Five years ago, ESPN began a move to localize its international networks’ news shows. The result has been 11 international versions of “SportsCenter” produced in eight languages.

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