ESPN Returns Dozens of Falsely Obtained Emmy Awards


In a surprising turn of events, ESPN has taken the unprecedented step of returning up to 37 Emmy awards and issuing a formal apology to the organization overseeing the Sports Emmy Awards. The Athletic first broke the story, revealing that ESPN, based in Bristol, had submitted fake names in Emmy entries for categories in which they were ineligible to win. This deceptive practice reportedly dates back to at least 2010, with ESPN admitting wrongdoing and expressing regret.

In a statement, ESPN acknowledged the wrongdoing, saying, “Some members of our team were clearly wrong in submitting certain names that may go back to 1997 in Emmy categories where they were not eligible for recognition or statuettes.” The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), responsible for the Sports Emmy Awards, uncovered the fraud through an investigation, prompting ESPN to conduct its own probe.

Related – Disney Wins 22 Children’s & Family Emmy Awards in 2023

ESPN Returns Dozens of Falsely Obtained Emmy Awards

ESPN clarified that the intention behind the misleading submissions was a misguided attempt to recognize on-air individuals who played crucial roles in their production team. This revelation has raised questions about the authenticity of ESPN’s Emmy wins, as several on-air personalities, including Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Desmond Howard from “College GameDay,” were allegedly given awards they were not entitled to, according to The Associated Press.

The scheme appears to revolve around ESPN’s “College GameDay” show, which won eight Emmys for Outstanding Weekly Studio Show in 2008. However, NATAS guidelines, until 2023, prohibited on-air talent from being included in a credit list for that category. The rules aimed to prevent front-facing talent from winning multiple awards for the same work, known as “double-dipping.”


While ESPN personalities received individual awards, such as Outstanding Host, Studio Analyst, or Emerging On-Air Talent, they were not eligible to claim a trophy for the show’s win. The revelation has prompted ESPN to take corrective measures, including returning falsely obtained trophies. ESPN has also engaged external counsel to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. The on-air winners allegedly had no knowledge of the fraudulent submissions. ESPN’s attempt to recognize its team’s contributions has led to a significant backlash and a reevaluation of its Emmy Awards legacy.

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Chip is the owner, editor, and writer of Chip and Company. When he is not writing about Disney News or Planning Tips, you will find him counting down the days to his next Disney Vacation.
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