By: Ian Wixted
On September 7, 1979, the sportsworld changed forever when the World-Wide Leader in Sports began their first telecast. The first show to be televised would later become ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter, allowing sports coverage to literally jump off the pages of the newspapers and into your TV screens. ESPN changed how we view sports for the better, no more running to the newsstand to read highlights of a game you’ve missed, you could now enjoy highlights from all the major sports right from the comfort of your own couch. ESPN provided us with something that wasn’t there before, something we didn’t even know we needed but now couldn’t go a day without, 24-hour sports coverage.
SportsCenter might be ESPN’s greatest contribution to the world of sports, but a close second would have to be the “This is SportsCenter” commercials. You would think to promote a show about daily re-caps in sports would be a hard task, but not for the clever folk at Wieden+Kennedy, ESPN’s (and Nike’s) advertising agency. Over the years they have created some of the most memorable commercials for the World-Wide Leader in Sports, and here we take a look at the Top Ten! This is the Top Ten commercials for “This is SportsCenter.”
Number 10: Incoming Rookies
Being an incoming rookie in any sport is a daunting task. You have to live up to your draft pick, deal with celebrity, and hopefully stay out of trouble. Every rookie needs to be coached on how to adapt to their new found fame, and what better coaches for a young Kobe and Keyshawn than Karl Ravech and Stuart Scott. Drop Knowledge on those youngin’s!
Number 9: John Clayton
Who could have ever thought that mild-manner John Clayton would be a Slayer fan and living with his mother? One of ESPN’s top analysts showed us a day-in-the-life and finally let his hair down (literally)!
Number 8: Big Buddy Program
Nothing like giving back to your community! During the early days, ESPN went edgy with their advertising and produced this classic. What’s better than a couple NBA stars and ESPN on-air personnel trash talking the kids who look up to them as role models?
Number 7: Watch the Tape
“We’re talking about practice!” No matter what you do in life, no statement is truer than “practice makes perfect.” Scott Van Pelt needed a friendly reminder of this from J-Roll, Jimmy Rollins. Anytime you feel like you’re in a slump, the best way to get out of it is to go back to the drawing board and watch the tape! “Is that bad?” “It’s not good”
Number 6: Going Down
Simplicity at it’s finest! If this joke goes over your head, I don’t think we can be friends.
Number 5: King’s Throne
Every king needs his thrown, and every Scott Van Pelt needs to steal said thrown. Before going back home and finally bringing a title to Cleveland, LeBron James fell victim to the deadly office chair swap. His was a lot easier to notice than most of us, but it’s a good reminder that no matter who you are, you always have to be on your toes living that cube-life!
Number 4: This is BirdCenter
The arch-nemesis to flying creatures everywhere: a freshly cleaned window! This commercial was for the birds!
Number 3: Ducks on the Pond
They always say “the grass is greener on the other side”, but in this case, it’s more like the pond is clearer. Nothing is worse than seeing all your friends enjoy a day off while you’re stuck at the office. We feel your pain!
Number 2: “Isn’t He Gorgeous?!”
“Crikey!” Two legends, Steve Irwin and Albert E. Gator, sharing the screen together in harmony. R.I.P. to the one and only Crocodile Hunter.
Number 1: “That Was Awesome”
The only man to make Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt both stand in awe, all while making a drink of himself! This is ESPN’s greatest “This is SportsCenter” commercial and it’s not even close. Legends all around.