Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

ESPN Keeps Interrupting Its Programming To Give You Gambling Advice In The Most Annoying Way Possible

"Bullshit." "Ridiculous." "Pissing me off." "Hopefully it never happens again."

This is just some of the feedback to ESPN's ill-advised "Bracket Service Announcements" which commenced interrupting SportsCenter on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN NEWS Sunday night. As of 1:30 p.m. EDT today, ESPN has interrupted its programming 54 times with the pre-recorded NCAA bracket advice delivered by the network's college basketball experts. (We compiled many of them in the above video.)


The ethics of emulating EAS alerts notwithstanding, the announcements have grown more aggravating as they've encroached further into interrupting actual highlights or relevant discussion. That's on top of how few were recorded and thus how often they're being repeated—Dick Vitale's piece on Murray State has played at least 18 times alone.

It's not clear what the anchors themselves think of the stunt, though telling is the moment from last night when Steve Levy trails off in frustration while reading highlights from a Marlins-Red Sox spring training game. Obviously, they aren't actual interruptions—we're sure the SportsCenter producers put them in the rundown—but Levy's reaction suggests he knows the Bracket Service Announcements are as ridiculous as the audience has found them.

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