Ex-ESPN Reporter and Original “SportsCenter” Anchor Lou Palmer Dead at 83

Palmer left ESPN in 1985 and went on to be one of the first studio anchors at WFAN radio in New York

Ex-ESPN Reporter and Original "SportsCenter" Anchor Lou Palmer Dead at 83
The ESPN logo. (Mike Windle/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / October 21, 2019 9:07 am

The man who introduced ESPN to the world during the network’s first-ever broadcast has passed away at the age of 83.

Lou Palmer, who died from lung cancer, began working for ESPN before the network officially launched in 1979 and broadcast the Worldwide Leader’s first live event — a “demonstration” feed of a basketball game that served as a showcase for cable executives — in 1978.

Palmer went on to serve as a reporter for SportsCenter and was one of the original anchors of the network’s flagship show.

Known as “Sweet Lou” in the newsroom, Palmer was particularly fond of baseball and played the game for the Seton Hall Pirates as a college student and was good enough to make it into the farm systems for the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox.

“Lou Palmer was a wonderful radio and television professional, and an even finer gentleman,” said Chris Berman, one of Palmer’s original colleagues at ESPN. “He was one of the few employees here at ESPN before we went on the air. His love for baseball jumped through the screen and became an early hallmark of SportsCenter. Those of us who were young anchors — Bob Ley, Tom Mees and I — will forever be indebted to Lou for his guidance by example.”

Palmer left ESPN in 1985 and went on to be one of the first studio anchors at WFAN radio in New York.

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