In sports broadcasting, a sports analyst provides expert discussion of sports-related topics before, during, or after a sporting event. Sports analysts are frequently former athletes who participated in the sport being analyzed. A sports analyst is different from a sports commentator in that sports commentators provide a running commentary regarding a sporting event while the event is taking place, whereas sports analysts usually provide commentary about sporting events which have yet to take place or which have already concluded. The job of the color commentator is a hybrid of the two styles, providing expert analysis of a sporting event while the sporting event is taking place.
ESPN uses many sports analysts for a wide variety of sports. Each analyst is assigned a specific sport and level of that sport to discuss on air. For example, former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka discuss NFL football on pregame shows Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown for ESPN. Whereas former New York Jets, Notre Dame and University of South Carolina head football coach Lou Holtz is an analyst for College Football, but would not discuss any NFL content. The list of sports analysts for ESPN can be seen here List of ESPN personalities. Other sports networks like the NHL Network and NFL Network also use sports analysts.