ESPN Timeline

Important dates in the history of a sports network

  • Sept. 7, 1979 - ESPN launches at 7 p.m. ET.
  • April 1983 - ESPN begins distributing programming internationally.
  • March 15, 1987 - ESPN awarded NFL's first cable contract; begins fall '87.
  • Jan. 5, 1989 - ESPN and Major League Baseball reach a four-year agreement to begin in 1990.
  • Jan.1, 1992 - ESPN Radio launches.
  • April 1, 1995 - ESPNET SportsZone (now ESPN.com) launches.
  • March 14, 2001 - ESPN2 reaches 75 million homes faster than any other network - 89 months.
  • Jan. 22, 2002 - ESPN reaches agreement for multimedia NBA coverage, becoming the first network to televise all four major professional sports-NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA.
  • March 30, 2003 -- ESPN HD, a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN, launches.
  • Jan. 6, 2005 - ESPN2 HD, a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN2, launches.
  • March 4, 2005 - ESPNU, a 24-hour network devoted to college sports, launches
  • April 18, 2005 - ESPN Acquires Monday Night Football for eight years, beginning in 2006
  • Nov. 2, 2005 - ESPN acquires rights for multiple Men's and Women's World Cups.
  • Dec. 7, 2005 - ESPN announces eight-year agreement with NASCAR, 2007 - 2014.
  • April 26 , 2007-- ESPN announces eight-year, multi-platform agreement with the Big 12.
  • Sep. 11, 2008 - ESPN televises Wichita Falls Rider at Sulphur Springs, 8 p.m.

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