ESPN, and any visual company or organization, needs to begin with a sound design philosophy. Not having a unified philosophy -- or having conflicting ones -- results in the hodge-podge kind of output we see now from ESPN.
If ESPN were to adopt a visual philosophy which stated, for example, "On-screen score and status graphics will display only key information plus network brandiing and color scheme, and will obscure a minimum of screen area to do so."
To me, Comcast SportsNet (Philadelphia and Chicago only, I believe) have the most economical on-screen graphic designs. White text on black bubbles, only large enough to accomodate the logo and the information itself, placed to the farthest top and right of their defined safe zone.
ESPN talked about going 16:9 native/4:3 letterbox on College Football broadcasts, but backed out. The only program of theirs which airs in this manner is the World Series of Poker, where they use slightly larger graphics to accomodate their smaller display on 4:3 screens. I sure the "HD community" would be up in arms if ESPN went 16:9 only to make their graphics (or at least their typefaces) larger...