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ESPN pres John Skipper started the net's upfront presentation Tues by addressing “the elephant in the room,” literally (he shared the stage with Big Al, the University of Alabama's elephant mascot) and figuratively. Referring to several new 24/7 sports nets, Skipper said “there is speculation ESPN's world is changing, just because several broadcast competitors decided in early 2010 that there's something here.” The net welcomes competition, he said. “It makes us better, sharper.” To stay on top of competition, the net will expand its sports news program SportsCenter with a new studio to be completed next year and launch a new satellite technology outfitted bus, a new ScoreCenter app, and an hour-long special dubbed “This is SportsCenter.” In addition, ESPN will debut “NFL Insiders,” a 1-hour weekday pro football-themed show, in time for the '13 season. It also will launch a soccer-themed daily show “ESPNFC” on Aug 11, offering need-to-know news, information, highlights and analysis.

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