ESPYs to shift focus from top sports moments to heroism

ESPN said the show will “shift its customary focus from outstanding athletic achievement in order to further highlight narratives of service, perseverance, and courage from within the world of sports.”

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ESPN said this year’s ESPYs will focus on public service and heroism.

ESPN said this year’s ESPYs will focus on public service and heroism.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

LOS ANGELES — With live sports mostly postponed by the coronavirus, The ESPYs will shift focus from honoring athletic accomplishments to celebrating acts of heroism and humanitarian aid during the pandemic. 

ESPN said Tuesday its annual awards show will air June 21, about a month earlier than its usual July date. Details of the two-hour show are still being worked out, but it will be produced rather than air live, the cable network said. Comedian Tracy Morgan hosted last year’s show in its longtime home of Los Angeles.

The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, the Pat Tillman Award for Service and the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance will be featured. The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award and the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award, both usually given out at a separate show the night before, will be added to The ESPYS telecast.

ESPN said the show will “shift its customary focus from outstanding athletic achievement in order to further highlight narratives of service, perseverance, and courage from within the world of sports.”

Because of safety concerns surrounding large gatherings, ESPN has canceled live events surrounding the show as well as the sixth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards.

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