This is SportsCenter

This is SportsCenter

This is "SportsCenter" is the name of a series of comical television commercials run by ESPN to promote their "SportsCenter" sports news show. A few are available free on iTunes. The ads are presented in a deadpan mockumentary style, lampooning various aspects of sports, and sports broadcasting.

The commercials debuted in 1994.

Guest appearances by sports figures

A notable feature of the commercials is the seeming ubiquity of famous athletes on the ESPN campus. Some are even depicted doing menial, everyday tasks, usually while wearing their game uniforms. Athletes often have their idiosyncrasies parodied — for example, gymnast Kerri Strug being carried around ESPN headquarters because of her famous ankle injury.

Many famous athletes have been featured in the series, including Andre Agassi, Ray Allen, Michael Andretti, Carmelo Anthony, Gilbert Arenas, Lance Armstrong, Rich Beem, Drew Bledsoe, Bill Bradley, Drew Brees, Kobe Bryant, Mark Buehrle, Jennifer Capriati, Brandi Chastain, Chris Chelios, Roger Clemens (who was in 5 of them, the most of any athlete), Sidney Crosby, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Roger Federer, Kevin Garnett, Ozzie Guillén, Mia Hamm, Jim Harbaugh, Evander Holyfield, Tim Hudson, LeBron James, Keyshawn Johnson, Roy Jones Jr., Jim Kelly, Alexi Lalas, Bobby Labonte, Lennox Lewis, Mark McGwire, Gheorghe Muresan, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Gaylord Perry, Michael Phelps, Mary Lou Retton, Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Pete Sampras, Maria Sharapova, Andriy Shevchenko, Jerry Stackhouse, Kerri Strug, Fernando Vargas, Adam Vinateri, Shaun White, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Tiger Woods, and David Wright.

* At the ESPN offices, Stuart Scott bumps into Tiger Woods and asks about lunch, Scott replies for Tiger to meet him in the lobby at 12:30. Tiger walks away then followed by the huge crowd which usually follows him at any golf tournament he plays at.

* The power goes out late at night at the ESPN studios; Dan Patrick goes backstage to find the cause of the power outage: apparently Lance Armstrong has taken a break from riding his bicycle (connected to a generator).

* In a 1995 commercial Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann prepare to operate on Colts QB Jim Harbaugh, even though he is still awake; Harbaugh pointedly asks, "Shouldn't I be asleep for this?"

* In a 1996 commercial, an ESPN producer discusses a fictional trade between "SportsCenter" and the TV series "Melrose Place", wherein Andrew Shue and Charley Steiner switch jobs; the ad features Shue at the "SportsCenter" desk discussing a working interview with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue then cuts to the "Melrose Place" set where Steiner is cleaning the pool and enthusiastically asks one of the female cast members if she wants to rub suntan lotion on his back

* In a 1999 commercial aired in the midst of the Y2K fears, when the studio's electricity goes out (due to Y2K tests), amidst the ensuing mayhem—which includes Mark McGwire smashing a computer with his bat—Charley Steiner walks away, wearing face paint and a necktie as a headband, holding a lantern and screaming, “Follow me! Follow me to freedom!!”

* In SportsCenter studios, Rich Eisen talks with Bobby Labonte about his hair, when he sees someone doing donuts in his #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac. Labonte screams at him, then the driver, who's actually a mascot of some sort, gets paid the damages under his nose.

* The hot dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi was featured in an ad where he finishes his lunch in the ESPN cafeteria in the 30-second span of the commercial.

* A 2005 ad included Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger saving people from the ESPN building while the fire alarm is ringing. Stuart Scott is talking outside the building with Scott Van Pelt asking "Does he know this is a drill?"

* In 2006, a commercial aired which showed Danica Patrick's race car being towed from a parking spot, presumably outside SportsCenter studios, which was reserved for "D. Patrick." Shortly after, Danica runs outside after her car, only to run into Dan Patrick, one of SportsCenter's premier anchors. Some humorous debate over whose parking spot it really was follows.

* A 2006 ad features the Manning family taking a tour of the "SportsCenter" studio. John Anderson conducts the tour while Eli and Peyton Manning engage in horseplay. When Archie turns to look, the brothers stop and proceed to silently blame each other for the antics.

* Another 2006 ad features Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén trying to call to the bullpen during a game, but instead reaching Neil Everett at ESPN.

* Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals has a meeting with Stuart Scott, Steve Levy, and John Anderson to get ideas for his next touchdown celebration.

* A 2007 ad featuring Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer and Scott Van Pelt having a conversation about Minnesota in the cafeteria.

* A 2007 ad featuring Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz is introduced to members of anchor John Buccigross's family. He greets each one by spitting into each of his batting gloves, slapping them together and shaking their hand, similar to his typical batting ritual.

* Another 2007 ad featuring David Ortiz shows David, anchor Stan Verrett and Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees sitting at a conference table. The three are talking about hats, and David asks to see the Yankees' hat to bend the brim (to break it in). As he puts it on his head, Wally the Green Monster (The Red Sox' Mascot) walks by, sees Ortiz in the Yankees hat, drops the video tapes he's carrying and is mortified - refusing to have anything to do with Ortiz, even though Ortiz pleads "it's not what you think!"

* A 2007 ad featuring Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James arriving at ESPN offices and sits in his cubicle in a standard office chair. He realizes something is wrong so he goes to his neighbor Scott Van Pelt cubicle and Van Pelt is sitting in a throne, (which he took from "King James" cubicle.) Getting Lebron to ask, "Scott, did you possibly switch chairs with me?" Scott in the commercial said no, but after James' performance in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Van Pelt during the "Sportscenter" he was on said, "LeBron, I really did take your chair."

* A 2007 ad features New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada acknowledging cheers of "Hip, Hip, Jorge!" as he walks down the hall.

* A 2007 ad features Shaquille O'Neal dressed as a cop as he rescues Mike the Tiger from a tree (Shaq attended LSU). At the end Shaq asks Mike if he's all right and is handed a vitaminwater for his efforts.

* A 2007 ad features WWE superstar John Cena and anchor Jay Harris having a conversation on why "SportsCenter" never airs pro wrestling highlights. Towards the end of the commercial, Harris believes that pro wrestling is not a real sport but Cena disagrees.

* A 2007 ad features New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush sitting next to the air conditioner in the office (a take on NFL players cooling off near the fan).

* A 2007 ad features NASCAR driver Carl Edwards performing his trademark backflip, not once but twice in an attempt to cheer up a dejected Neil Everett in the kitchen.

* A 2007 ad has Scott Van Pelt walking down the hallway only to discover Tony Romo having a party complete with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

* A 2007 ad features the Boston Celtics' new Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce asking anchor Scott Van Pelt for advice on selecting nicknames. (The name Van Pelt coined, the "Boston Three-Party", has actually been used in ESPN broadcasts.)

* A 2007 ad has LaDainian Tomlinson sorting mail in the mailroom in his jersey and his helmet. Steve Levy then comes to get his mail, and proceeds to tell LT that the mail isn't his (LT wears a black visor, which in this case is supposed to be detrimental to his vision).

* A 2007 ad has Richard Simmons hired as SportsCenter's "conditioning coach".

* A 2008 ad has Chris Chelios and anchor John Buccigross having a conversation about fortysomething athletes in the studio hallway.

* A 2008 ad has ESPN employees being locked out of the studio as Dirk Nowitzki can't seem to get the door open.

* A 2008 ad features Brian Kenny poking fun at NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth in the cafeteria simply because stock car racing has its roots in the southern United States (Kenseth is from Wisconsin).

* A 2008 ad has author Stephen King helping out with John Anderson's script.

* A 2008 ad features Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday cleaning the men's room, whistling a tune along the way while John Anderson tries to enter the restroom. Holliday emerges out of the men's room and then proceeding to do the ladies' room.

* A 2008 ad featured anchor Chris McKendry thanking Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins for borrowing his necklace because had McKendry not worn the necklace, she would've had a bad show.

* A 2008 ad features anchors Kenny Mayne and John Buccigross poking fun at University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt in the offices.

* A 2008 ad features anchor John Anderson recording a promo on ESPN's football demonstration field. However, he is interrupted by players from the Chicago Rush, who have scheduled the field for practice.

* A 2008 ad has LSU football coach Les Miles giving a potential anchor a tour of the studio as if he was recruiting a high school player for a college team.

* A 2008 ad features Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson complaining to anchor Jay Harris about how his sophomore season won't match his rookie year (hence the so-called "Sophomore Jinx").

ports practices

Many commercials in the series have derived their humor from parodying conventional professional sports practices, by applying them to working for "SportsCenter":
* One ad has former anchor Rich Eisen being "sent down to the minors" (in his case, working for a high-school TV service, where two students asked him to buy them some beer, a request he declined to honor).

* San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman replaces anchor Kenny Mayne for the show's "Did You Know?" segment, similar to relieving the starting pitcher in a baseball game.

* The network drafting a can't-miss anchor prospect out of high school, only to see him flame out on the job ("Jimmy Key, what is he 45? "I" could hit him!") and ESPN discovering that "he just wasn't ready", "à la" how baseball teams often rush their highly-touted prospects to the majors. Also it may reference the fiasco with former San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf.

* John Buccigross wearing the "anchor-cam", a parody of MLB catchers wearing "catcher-cam" during ESPN and FOX's MLB telecasts.

* Charley Steiner being "traded" to "Melrose Place" in exchange for Andrew Shue.

* One rather infamous spot is the making of the SportsCenter swimsuit calendar, featuring Bill Pidto, Stuart Scott and Linda Cohn in various states of revealing swimwear.

* A parody of post-game interviewing finds a dejected Kenny Mayne and an upbeat Dan Patrick asked about their performances in that evening's broadcast in "locker room" interviews.

* Another recent ad has the show going into a rain delay (it was a small pipe leaking above the desk), forcing anchors John Anderson and Steve Levy to wait it out in a dugout as a grounds crew covers the desk with a tarp.

* The carpet in the ESPN headquarters is replaced with grass to prevent injuries, a parody of the controversy over injuries sustained by football players competing on AstroTurf (in the ad, ESPN workers are shown tripping on the carpet). The anchors have to yell over the sound of the lawn mower cutting the grass in the studio.

* In a 1997 ad, Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne are shown signing off a typical "SportsCenter" broadcast, and are then given sombreros, and they begin broadcasting the Spanish version of "SportsCenter" (with a mariachi version of the show's theme). While Bob Ley explains that they redo the show for overseas markets ("Same highlights, same anchors, different dialects"), they are also shown giving Russian and German versions a try, replete with national costumes, and the "SportsCenter" theme redone for those cultures.

* In a recent ad, Scott Van Pelt asks spelling bee champion David Tidmarsh to help him by spelling "Albert Pujols". In true spelling bee tradition, Tidmarsh asks for the team (St. Louis Cardinals), country of origin (Dominican Republic), and for the word to be used in a sentence ("Pujols homered to win the game."), then slowly spells the word while Van Pelt cuts him off, saying "I found it online, got it."

* A 2006 features brothers Peyton and Eli Manning teasing each other while their family is in a tour of the ESPN studio.

* A 2006 ad shows Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott jumping and stretching before a show, similar to what NBA players do before games. The ad ends with both men easily taking off their "warm-up suits" revealing their show suits underneath.

*In one ad Stuart Scott discusses "Rain Delays" and says that every so often there is one. Then they cut to a show where a leak from a pipe above the stage causes a grounds crew to come out and lay a tarp on the set. The anchors and grounds crew members are seen calling loved ones and chewing gum similarly to baseball players and fans. Scott says "You just hope it lets up."

*A 2007 ad has Steve Levy getting suspended by Vince Doria because he said the F-word during a "SportsCenter" taping (this spot was never aired on the ESPN family of networks because it was deemed too inappropriate for television). Fact|date=January 2008

*A 2007 ad features how a "SportsCenter" video game is made (this ad is a take on the sports video game craze).

* A 2008 ad features a coin toss between anchors Jay Harris and Brian Kenny to determine who will start the show.

* A 2008 ad features how Sportscenter viewers can decides which highlights to air via text messaging. They can choose one of the three options: have John Anderson read the highlights, have Jay Harris read the high lights or have a roller-skating parrot dunk a basketball. In the end, they chose the latter.

* A 2008 ad has anchors Steve Levy and John Anderson answering phone calls from viewers in a parody of sports call-in shows (including ESPNRadio).

* A 2008 ad features the pit crews of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson helping anchors Scott Van Pelt and Neil Everett getting ready for the next segment during the commercial.

* A 2008 ad has anchor John Buccigross getting the ax and rallying for his job in a shopping center in a parody of coaches and managers getting fired.

ports mascots

Sports mascots and cheerleaders are usually present in most ads, often seen casually milling around in the background, but occasionally they take on an active role:

* In a 2003 ad, when the show ends, everyone rushes out of the studio, creating a massive traffic jam. It then shows Mr. Met and Lady Met driving home on the freeway (with the Met children in the back), with Lady Met subtitled as saying they were glad to get out early. The New York Mets theme song, "Meet the Mets", is on their car radio. (A shorter version with just the Mets family has Lady Met accusing Mr. Met of making eyes at one of the female ESPN sportscasters.)

* Boston University's mascot, Rhett, appears in two "on-campus" spots in 2001. In one, he frustrates ESPN's doctor, who is trying to find his pulse. In the other, he joins Curt Schilling, Jesper Parnevik, Kenny Mayne, Stewart Scott, Linda Cohn, and others in spreading "the wave" around Bristol.

* Wake Forest University's mascot, The Demon Deacon, appears in a commercial featuring David Wright of the New York Mets, wherein Wright, John Anderson, and Neil Everett lampoon the baseball practice of covering the mouth with the glove while speaking on the field so that the opposing team cannot read the speaker's lips — they discuss where they are to meet for a party later that evening while covering their mouths, Wright with his glove, the anchors with folders.

* Billy the Marlin, the Florida Marlins' mascot, which always has an open mouth, is startled to find his "girlfriend," Andrea Kremer, kissing another "SportsCenter" anchor.

* The San Diego Chicken, who is seen pulling practical jokes all over the ESPN building; it is revealed at the end of the commercial that inside the costume was Pete Sampras, playing against his image as being and .

* Syracuse University's Otto the Orange, who gets punched by Charley Steiner after Steiner is described as being a boxing enthusiast.

* Sparty, the Michigan State Spartans' mascot, receives the final handoff of gymnast Kerri Strug as she is carried around the studio.

* Steve Irwin ("The Crocodile Hunter") wrestled with Albert E. Gator when he spotted the Florida Gators mascot stepping out of an elevator.

*Big Red, the mascot of Western Kentucky University, is confused over which restroom to use until Dan Patrick instructs him to "use the woods out back."

* Stuart Scott is repulsed by seeing the Milwaukee Brewers Sausage Racers ordering sausage in the ESPN cafeteria; the Sausage Racers also appear in a 2007 spot where they chase the SportsCenter anchors down the halls of the ESPN studios, parodying Pamplona's Running of the Bulls.

* Sam the Minuteman, the mascot for the UMass Minutemen, knocks a tennis ball away from Andy Roddick as Roddick bounces it off his racket into the air in a waiting room.

* The Stanford Tree stares at anchor John Anderson after he throws a crumpled up piece of paper in the garbage can. Anderson is guilted into taking the paper out of the garbage and puts it into the recycling bin.

* The Boston Red Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster, reacts in shock after seeing Red Sox star David Ortiz wearing a New York Yankees hat. Ortiz was really just trying to break in the hat for Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.

* Rutgers University's Scarlet Knight appears in the Y2K episode chasing and then stomping on the University of Connecticut Husky.

* In a 2002 ad, anchors Scott Van Pelt and Rich Eisen are saying some nonsensical words; as it turns out, it's none other than Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster controlling the teleprompter until he is stopped by a producer. It's also the only Sportscenter commercial where the closing graphic "This is SportsCenter" doesn't appear at the end of the commercial. Instead it's replaced by "This is Spillifattr", a take on the spot.

* The Blue Blob, a mascot of Xavier University, is shown eating Jim Kelly's NFL Hall of Fame jacket after beating him in rock paper scissors. Kelly then asks for best 2 out of 3, the Blue Blob declines.

* Brutus Buckeye, mascot for the Ohio State University, appears in the background performing Richard Simmons' conditioning exercises. He falls down in the end.

* A 2008 ad features the New York Jets Flight Crew asking anchor Chris McKendry advice on romantic relationships with players.

* A 2008 ad features former NASCAR driver and ESPN Nascar analyst Rusty Wallace eating lunch with the University of Delaware mascot YoUDee, but when Wallace can't eat his entire lunch, he gives the rest of his lunch to YoUDee and the mascot was able to shallow the food in one gulp.

External links

* [ This is SportsCenter Page]
* [ This is SportsCenter TV Page]

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