ESPN2 started on October 1, 1993, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Its inaugural presentation was the premiere of SportsNight, a sports news program initially hosted by Keith Olbermann and Suzy Kolber – where Olbermann opened the show by humorously welcoming viewers to “the end of our careers.” Beginning with an expected carriage of about 10 million homes, ESPN2 intended to be a more informal and youth-oriented channel than mother network ESPN, highlighting a heavier emphasis toward programming that would appeal to the demographic. The youthful image was also shown in its overall presentation, which highlighted a graffiti-themed logo and on-air graphics.
Sports events shown on ESPN2 initially tended to be alternative sports such as poker, billiards, lumberjacking, extreme sports and, more lately, drum and bugle corps. However, in recent years ESPN2 has broadcast more mainstream sporting events, including Major League Baseball games, the East-West Shrine Game, much of the 2006 World Baseball Classic, many Major League Soccer games, NCAA football games, NCAA basketball games, the WNBA, the Arena Football League, general season KHL games, and Saturday afternoon NASCAR Nationwide Series races. In 2011, ESPN2 also obtained broadcast rights to delayed coverage for some American Le Mans Series events, with series’ meaningful events broadcasting on ABC.