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ESPN Honors Veterans, Active Military with 10th Annual Veterans Week Initiative

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SportsCenter on U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier, First Take from Air Force Base in Arizona

Armed Forces Classic from Fort Bliss, Texas with Arkansas vs. Texas

ESPN dedicates a week of multiplatform content November 6-12 as part of the 10th annual America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative. Highlights include SportsCenter from the U.S.S. Carl Vinson Navy Aircraft Carrier and First Take live from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on Friday, Nov. 9. In addition, the annual Armed Forces Classic will be played from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas on the same day.

Other highlights include Arizona State vs. Baylor women’s basketball game from Holdzil Fighting Scouts Event Center on the Navajo Reservation in Fort Defiance, Ariz. on Sunday, Nov. 11.

“ESPN is proud to honor our veterans and active military with a week of multiplatform content, volunteer efforts and financial support. These incredible men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom include our employees, our families, and our fans,” said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of Corporate Citizenship. “From SportsCenter aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson to First Take from Luke Air Force Base and the Armed Forces Classic at Fort Bliss, we are humbled to be surrounded by these brave men and women and thrilled to share and honor their incredible stories.”

USAA and Applebee’s are sponsors of ESPN’s week-long Veterans Day activation and many well-known athletes, coaches and celebrities will provide daily “shout outs” to members of the military within ESPN programming. The tributes will appear on SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms.

ESPN’s “American Heroes” week will feature:

SportsCenter
SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett will host the SportsCenter Veterans Day Salute Special and other SportsCenter segments from the U.S.S. Carl Vinson Navy aircraft carrier. Verrett, reporter Marty Smith, and college football analyst Tim Tebow will be joined by members of the U.S. Navy for content that will air from Thursday, Nov. 8 – Monday, Nov. 12. SportsCenter will also air various features and vignettes from marquee athletes giving their thoughts on the meaning of Veterans Day in their lives.

Among the features airing on SportsCenter:

  • Marty Smith Essay – Marty Smith provides a firsthand account of the emotions he felt during his experience on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson.
  • Day in Life – The sights and sounds of a day in the life of the flight deck crew aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson.
  • Coming Home – Features the emotional, surprise reunions of military members and their families, mostly at sporting events.
  • Tebow Tour – This feature captures the excitement and electricity on the ship when ESPN college football analyst and former Heisman winner Tim Tebow made a surprise visit to the U.S.S Carl Vinson.
  • Fighter Pilot Interview – Marty Smith sits down with a fighter pilot on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson to discuss the teamwork of landing a fighter on a moving deck in the middle of the ocean.
  • Stan Captain/Admiral interview – Stan Verrett interviews both the Captain of the Carl Vinson and the Admiral overseeing the Carrier Strike force.

SportsCenter’s Veterans Day Salute special will air on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m. on ESPN2 as well as Sunday, November 11, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2.

First Take
ESPN’s First Take with host Molly Qerim Rose  and commentators Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, will be live Friday, Nov. 9, at 10 a.m. from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. The hosts will be joined by an audience of military personnel and special guest Ric Flair as the crew discusses the hottest topics of the day.

Armed Forces Classic
On Friday, Nov. 9, Texas and Arkansas face off in the 2018 Armed Forces Classic in Fort Bliss, Texas at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Dave Flemming will call the game along with ESPN college basketball analysts Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams. In addition to playing in the game the players and coaches will host youth basketball clinics in the community and spend time with the members of the military.

Showdown at the Rez
On Sunday, Nov. 11, the Arizona State University women’s basketball team will face Baylor on a Navajo Reservation in Front Defiance, Ariz. at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The game will be played at the Holdzil Fighting Scouts Event Center to honor the Native American Veterans who served in the Vietnam War. Eric Frede will call the game alongside analysts Rebecca Lobo and Kara Lawson.

Army at Duke Men’s Basketball
Also on Sunday, Nov. 11, Duke will host Army at 1 p.m. on ESPN. Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski, not only attended West Point but also coached basketball there. The game will be called by Doug Sherman and Army veteran Chris Spatola who served 10 years in the Army.

College GameDay
On Saturday, Nov. 10, ESPN College GameDay (9 a.m., ESPN) will include shout outs from members of the military supporting their favorite college teams along with veteran and active military appearances throughout the weekend’s game coverage.

Featured games that weekend include the Secretaries’ Cup between U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marine Academy at noon ET on ESPN3.

Sunday NFL Countdown
On Sunday, Nov. 11, Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m., ESPN) plans to include a Veterans Day feature and shout outs from sailors aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson.

Monday Night Countdown
On Friday, Nov. 9, and Monday, Nov 12, NFL Live will air shout outs from sailors aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson supporting their favorite teams. In addition, NFL Live will include NFL player vignettes in honor of Veterans Day.

NFL Live
On Friday, Nov. 9, and Monday, Nov 12, NFL Live will air shout outs from sailors aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson supporting their favorite teams.

Texas GameDay
On Saturday, Nov. 3, Nate Boyer will be a guest on Texas GameDay (1:30 p.m., Longhorn Network) prior to the 17th-ranked Longhorns’ matchup vs. No. 13 West Virginia. Boyer is a former long snapper for the Longhorns and served in the United States Army as a Green Beret. In addition, the show will air a feature on Longhorn Legend Frank Denius, who received four Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service and leadership in the European Theater and as a member of the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. A two-time graduate of UT with degrees in business and law who was generous with his time, passion and resources to benefit the university, Denius passed away in July 2018. Texas GameDay airs live on Longhorn Network two hours before every University of Texas football game.

ESPN.com’s “In The Gate” Podcast
This Veterans Day, ESPN’s thoroughbred racing podcast “In The Gate” will present two military-themed stories highlighting the connection between horse racing and the military: the first is about the Man O’War Project and the second is a conversation with legendary sportscaster Jack Whitaker (video preview). “In The Gate” will be available on ESPN.com and other platforms that receive the podcast starting Sunday, Nov. 4.

ESPN Corporate Citizenship
In honor of those who have served, ESPN will support Team Rubicon Global. Team Rubicon recruits, trains, equips, organizes and deploys veterans to aid in disaster response operations around the world. ESPN employees in New York will participate in a panel discussion with Team Rubicon regional and global veterans on Nov. 8.

ESPN is also proud to support UP2US Sports Operation Coach program which hires and trains veterans to serve as youth-sports coaches in underserved communities and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). DAV provides free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies of government. ESPN employees in Bristol will participate in a panel discussion with DAV on Nov. 7.

Additionally, ESPN employees in Bristol and Charlotte will be stuffing care packages for veterans and ESPN Veterans and their families will be walking in the NY Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11.