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Answered 2014-05-28 20:10:41
ESPN began broadcasting September 7, 1979 at 7PM ET and its first broadcast of actual games was a double header of two slow pitch softball World Series games. You can view on ESPN the actual opening of the first show where they quote the lineup... first a preview of NCAA, (i.e. not a game) then a double header of the professional slow pitch world series to verify this, as well as verifying the event date on the Corporate fact sheet listing the date of launch.

It was a softball game, and the leadoff batter for the Kentucky Bourbons was Nick Nikitas, my daughter's 8th grade Basketball coach.

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