Robinson Cano stars in Spanish language This Is SportsCenter spot

On Wednesday, ESPN will introduce the first-ever Spanish-language spot in the iconic This is SportsCenter franchise.

Just in time for Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, Handshakes features New York Yankees All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, whose friendly and creative handshakes with ESPN staffers enable the quick spread of the common cold across the ESPN campus in Bristol.

The spot was created by Wieden + Kennedy New York and filmed at the ESPN campus in February.

Handshakes will debut in Spanish on Wednesday, April 4, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN Deportes. The Spanish version also will air during Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable on ESPN2. The English version will debut at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN during Baseball Tonight.

Jeff Gonyo, senior director, sports marketing, took a few minutes to explain how it all came together.

Where did the idea to launch the first-ever This is SportsCenter spot in Spanish begin?
The idea for this really came from our company priority to intensify our efforts to serve U.S. Hispanic fans. As a department, we were thinking of ways to leverage that priority. One of the ideas that came to us was to develop dual language This is SportsCenter spots in Spanish and English.

Why did you decide to work with Robinson Cano on this spot?
We wanted to find an athlete who is relevant in both English and Spanish communities alike. After quickly identifying Robinson Cano as a perfect fit, we approached our creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy New York, and they developed the concept of Cano’s handshakes spreading a cold across the ESPN campus. It was definitely an additional challenge to make sure that the concept would be authentic while capturing comedic value in both languages. Our entire team was involved in bringing this one to life.

Handshakes – like sports – are part of a universal language. Was that an important consideration?
Every ethnicity and every team all across the world does the same thing after a game ends. They shake hands in one way or another. We think that universality, combined with a good creative idea that celebrates a team sport in a clever, but simple way, will resonate with sports fans in both Spanish and English.