Game Shows Wiki
Dick Enberg
Johnny Gilbert
Art James
John Harlan
Sports Challenge.png
Syndication (Weekly): 1/23/1971 – 9/1979
CBS Weekends: 5/20/1973 – 9/9/1973
Gary Gross Productions
Syndicast Services, Inc. (1971–1977)
Sports Syndication International (1977–1978)
American International Television, Inc. (1978–1979)

Sports Challenge was considered to be the granddaddy of all sports game shows.


Two popular professional sports teams, each consisting of three of its players, competed in a game of sports trivia. The teams could be made up of former players or members of the current team, solely dependent on who the show's producers were able to book.

Main Rounds[]

In the first four (later three) rounds, the teams were shown film clips of great moments in sports history. After each clip, host Enberg read a toss-up question about it to both teams. The first player on either team to ring-in had a chance to answer. A correct answer earned 20 points, but an incorrect answer gave the opposing team a chance to answer. The winner of the toss-up won control of the two "Extra Point/Free Throw" questions that followed; but if neither team won the toss-up, the "Extra Pointers/Free Throws" became toss-ups for both teams. On the follow-ups, each correct answer from the team in control scored 10 additional points, but an incorrect answer gave the opposing team a chance to answer the same question(s) for 20 points for themselves. Some questions about the clip could either be multiple choice or contain clues. Sometimes, the follow-ups were two-parters worth five points for each correct answer.

Round 4: Classic Round (Later Seasons)[]

During the later seasons, the fourth round question had no "Free Throws" but it did have one last film clip. Another thing different from the toss-ups in the first three rounds was that a correct answer from this question earned 30 points to the team who answered it correctly.

Final Round: Bonus Biography[]

The final round of the game was called the "Bonus Biography" round. This was where a silhouette of a famous sports star appeared on-screen along with a clock set for 60 seconds (originally 90 seconds). Host Enberg (originally Gilbert) read clues to the identity of this sports figure in question. The first team to ring-in had a chance to identify the athlete. A correct answer won the Bonus Biography round, but an incorrect answer gave the opposing team a chance to hear the remaining clues with the right to answer at anytime. If both teams gave an incorrect answer, or the opposing team ran out of time, or if nobody rang in to answer when the clock hit zero, the subject won a car. The winners of the Bonus Biography round scored one point for every second left on the clock (in short, they received the remaining time as points).

Occasionally, the Bonus Biography description would be finished by stating the subject's name prior to the expiration of time. When that happened, a single toss-up question would be asked for the remainder of the points.

The team with the most points at the end of the Bonus Biography round won the game. If the game ended in a tie, Enberg would ask a question about that subject and read clues to the answer to that question. The first team to answer it won the game. This format was also used in case the subject divulged himself prior to taping, with the question being asked on the clock, in place of the regular Bonus Biography; this, however, happened very few times.

The team with the most points at the end of the game were the winners, and received $1,000 worth of Voit (later Rawlings) sporting goods for an announced junior athletic organization that they represented. The losing team received $500 worth of sporting goods for the junior athletic organization they represented.

For at least the first few episodes, each participant also received $1 for every point their team scored. By the middle of the first season, no references to any such cash winnings were made.

The winning team returned the following week to face a new set of challengers, and continued until defeated. The team of Tommy Henrich, Joe DiMaggio, and Lefty Gomez (New York Yankees) set a record for winning the game eight consecutive times, which was tied once by the team of Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, and Don Newcombe (Brooklyn Dodgers) during the show's final season, in 1979.

Trade Ad[]


Studio 6, KTLA Television, Los Angeles, CA (Most Shows)
Metromedia Studios, Hollywood, CA


Theme – "Get Back" by Patrick Williams

Additional Page[]

Sports Challenge/Catchphrases


The Sports Game Show Page: Sports Challenge