ESPN’s ‘Obama’ coverage

Barack Obama HopeJanuary 14, 2009 – Naturally, ESPN isn’t going to let Obama’s presidential inauguration next Tuesday go by without finding a way to latch on to the historic event. Every network from BET to QVC is jumping on the bandwagon.

Starting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN Classic will air a 10-hour marathon called “Breaking Barriers.” Here’s the schedule:

1-3 p.m. 1975 Wimbledon final: Arthur Ashe vs. Jimmy Connors
3-4 p.m. Jack Johnson documentary
4-5 p.m. SportsCentury: Bill Russell
5-6 p.m. National Championship: Texas Western vs. Kentucky
6-7 p.m. Third and a Mile: History of the Black Quarterback
7-9:30 p.m. Eddie Robinson’s 400th Victory
9:30-10:30 p.m. SportsCentury: Ernie Davis
10:30-11 p.m. SportsCentury: Willie Jeffries

The day before, to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, ESPN Classic will air seven hours of “Breaking Barriers” coverage, featuring Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and other black athletes.

On ESPN, SportsCenter will cover the inauguration itself starting at 11:30 Jan 20 with Jeremy Schaap interviewing sports stars in attendance.  This is good news for anyone worried it might be tough to find inauguration coverage next Tuesday.

All day long, on various ESPN platforms, inauguration coverage will include Realizing The Dream” vignettes  in which sports figures talk about what Obama and his election means to them.  Athletes participating in the vignettes include Magic Johnson, Tom Jackson, and Paul Pierce.  One of those interviewed is Craig Robinson, the Oregon State head basketball coach–and Obama’s brother-in-law.

ESPN.com will also take a look at how past presidents have affected athletics and physical fitness. A century ago, Teddy Roosevelt introduced organized youth sports to public schools and built thousands of urban parks. In the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower created the President’s Council of Physical Fitness and paved the way for the federal funding of 40,000 new fields in the emerging suburbs.

Would really love to see what the ESPN programming line-up would have looked like had Hillary won the election. Thoughts?

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