Sports | March 19, 2020 9:12 am

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Explains Hosting “SportsCenter” Without Sports

Scott Van Pelt is taking the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic "day-by-day"

Scott Van Pelt
Scott Van Pelt broadcasts before a NCAA game. (Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty)
Getty Images

In a world without sports, hosting a television show called SportsCenter, even for a powerful network like ESPN, is a huge challenge.

In a new interview with USA Today, anchor Scott Van Pelt explains how he is trying to meet it.

According to Van Pelt, SportsCenter staffers and crew are taking the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic “day-by-day” and have gotten by talking about the cancellations of postponements of leagues like the NBA, NHL and MLB.

But, all of that is just a temporary fix as the flow of sports news may eventually turn to a trickle.

“At some point, we very well could run on empty to where we might feel like we have to ration news out like it’s canned beans,” Van Pelt said. “We like to think we’re a creative bunch at ESPN. But I’m also no magician. I’m not an illusionist. I won’t be one for the audience.”

Van Pelt also said fans “feel robbed of something they care about” and that there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way.

“There’s room in our hearts for empathy on the virus and sports,” Van Pelt said.

In a related story, ESPN executive VP of programming acquisitions and scheduling Burke Magnus explained in a post on a company website how The Worldwide Leader will attempt to give sports fans their fix without any new live games or events.

“Since this week coincidentally is the beginning of the NFL league calendar and free agency, we’ve built our schedules with an eye toward that being a major topic of conversation,” Magnus said. “The second goal is aimed at looking ahead to entertain fans through fun, compelling archival content and/or themed and stunt event programming that will provide a diversion at a time that there are virtually no other live sports to watch.”

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