I oversee strategic communications for ESPN’s Ad Sales, Affiliate Sales, Marketing and Research groups and I am a voracious media consumer – be it books, magazines, TV, music, theater and, of course, sports. A Midwesterner at heart and a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I am grateful every day to call New York City home. I’ve spent the majority of my career in sports, with the exception of a few years at Cartoon Network. An alumnus of the College of the Holy Cross, I hold out irrational hope that one day the school will recoup some of its former mid-century sports prowess.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, known for his power and control when placing a baseball over the plate, shows those skills can be dangerous in the workplace in ESPN’s latest This is SportsCenter spot, debuting today.
As Kershaw nonchalantly tosses pencils toward the ceiling of his cube at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris “fears” potential injury in the cube above. Front Row asked Harris for his take on the latest of his many This is SportsCenter appearances. continue reading…
Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin stars in the latest spot from ESPN’s This is SportsCenter franchise.
In the spot Lin, a Harvard graduate, suggests some colorful edits to SportsCenter anchor Jay Crawford’s script. The September shoot marked the first time Lin wore his Rockets jersey since he left the New York Knicks last summer. It is also the first SportsCenter spot featuring Crawford — colleague Hannah Storm makes a cameo — and (we believe) the first time “trajectory metrics” and “temporal nature” have been used in a SportsCenter script.
The SportsCenter campaign also allowed Lin to meet Henrik Lundqvist, the New York Rangers star goalie. Lundqvist also was recording a segment, with The Muppets’ “Swedish Chef,” on North Campus.
Though they both played home games in Madison Square Garden last winter during Lin’s meteoric rise to stardom as a Knick, they were introduced to each other in Bristol, Conn.
NBA star Jeremy Lin and NHL standout Henrik Lundqvist met in September on the ESPN campus between their respective “This Is SportsCenter” shoots. (AJ Mazza/ESPN)
Editor’s note: The Swedish Chef stayed “in character” throughout this interview.
The NHL returned to the ice last weekend and to celebrate ESPN introduced a new This is SportsCenter spot featuring New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and his fellow countryman, The Swedish Chef.
The spot, which also features SportsCenter anchors Steve Levy, Robert Flores and Linda Cohn, debuted last weekend and marks the first time a member of The Muppets is featured in the long-running franchise campaign.
Front Row was able to get a few minutes with the chef for an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview:
What did you think about visiting ESPN and about working with Henrik Lundqvist?
Hun dee EESPYENNEN ees maken der shoots, svern dee Henrik is okey dokey!! Und, dee room fer dee washen dee wiggly fingees, ees voory, voory cleeeen.
Recently in Cannes, France at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, ESPN’s iconic This is SportsCenter (TISC) campaign was awarded three Bronze Lions for three recent spots.
The festival is the world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communications. More than 24,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged.
Winners receive the highly coveted Lion trophy.
The winning spots were Spy, featuring NHL star Alex Ovechkin as an ESPN employee and undercover agent (see above); Copier,which spotlights Major League Soccer standout Landon Donovan as he is issued several fouls by a copy machine (see below); and Octagon with mixed martial artist George St. Pierre in his very special cubicle.
Editor’s note: With the Monday, July 25 announcement of the end of the NFL lockout, Front Row presents the story behind this unique celebration.
On Monday, July 11, members of ESPN’s Marketing team, along with employees of Wieden+Kennedy New York, gathered in a dark comedy club in New York City to celebrate the pending return of football.
There were no football players in attendance, just a closed set with a turf-covered stage and a singular spotlight, which centered on inspirational comedian Judson Laipply.
He is most famous for his ‘Evolution of Dance’ video, which went viral in 2007 and remains one of the most popular videos of all time on YouTube.
But on this day, he was adding a new chapter to his famous dance by creating The Evolution of the Touchdown Dance, in which he performs 23 of the most celebrated touchdown dances from the past 35 years in a three-minute tribute to American football.
“Our agency, Wieden+Kennedy, came to us with this idea in the context of the It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports campaign, which launched about a year ago and celebrates all that is great about fandom,” said A.J. Mazza, Associate Marketing Manager, ESPN.
“Evolution of the Touchdown Dance grew out of our desire to do something for the fans to celebrate the return of football.”
But determining which dances would make the cut was not an easy process. continue reading…
CHICAGO — This week, programmers and cable operators are meeting for The Cable Show, a convention hosted by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).
Big themes of the show included TV Everywhere, new and faster methods of digital distribution and the overall value of a cable subscription.
But it’s not all meetings and panels.
As is standard for The Cable Show, programmers and affiliates like to take the opportunity to mix some fun along with the business at hand, which included a visit to Chicago’s famed Wrigley Field on Tuesday evening. continue reading…
Michelle Beadle and Scott Van Pelt served as hosts at the 2011 Upfront
Editor’s note:Amy Phillips, ESPN’s Senior Director, Communications, supports the Ad Sales team that oversees the Upfront presentation and manages the publicity surrounding the event. Here’s her recap:
NEW YORK — This is the fourth year I have been involved with our Upfront show, a yearly presentation to the advertising community and press to preview programming (and, ideally, sell ads) for the coming year.
ESPN was the first cable network to hold an Upfront presentation during what had traditionally been “broadcast week,” reserved for the big four networks.
Since ESPN broke with tradition a few years ago, several other cable networks have followed, making this one of the industry’s busiest weeks of the year. Between presentations and parties, it can wear out even the heartiest of ad buyers and media planners.
ESPN’s presentation is traditionally held in the morning, and yesterday we couldn’t have asked for more unpleasant weather. Rain was coming down in sheets, but — fortunately — people still turned out in droves to the Best Buy Theater in Times Square to hear about our wares.
Doors opened around 8:30 and shortly thereafter the lobby was packed with people in business suits mingling with the likes of beloved Jets fan Fireman Ed, the famed Laker Girls and ESPN talent like Hannah Storm, Jesse Palmer and Kenny Mayne. continue reading…
Editor’s Note:At this time each year, broadcast and cable networks, including ESPN, unveil their upcoming new shows during the Upfront. It’s a chance to discuss programming and the various kinds of advertising opportunities that exist at each network and across the industry in a relatively short period of time. Some 2,000 decision-makers from around the country will descend upon New York to see what the networks have to share.
Ed Erhardt, President of Customer Marketing and Sales for ESPN, calls it “an opportunity for ESPN to show our best new work and to demonstrate how strong ESPN is as a place for our customers to reach their targets – sports fans.” On the eve of ESPN’s presentation Tuesday morning at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, Erhardt sat down for our first Front Row podcast to discuss the Upfront process.