Tomorrow night, after 18 years, more than 400 comical commercials, and hundreds of visits from top athletes to Bristol, Conn., ESPN will present a “This is SportsCenter Top 50 Countdown” show, hosted by actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The “This is SportsCenter” franchise, created in collaboration with creative agency Wieden + Kennedy New York, has been a cornerstone of ESPN’s brand since 1995, giving fans an inside peek at the Bristol campus, where athletes, mascots and anchors engage freely in the universe of sports.
According to ESPN Producer Ed Eck, who is spearheading the countdown, the idea of developing a top 50 list of “This is SportsCenter” spots originated approximately a year ago, following the debut of the John Clayton commercial.
“Many fans told us that Clayton’s commercial was the best one of all times, sparking a team-wide debate,” Eck said. “So we decided to get everyone’s opinion – from ESPN producers, to Wieden + Kennedy’s creative team and our anchors – to create a top 50 list.”
Eck highlighted the importance of having the fans ultimately decide which spot would be crowned number one by voting for the top ten on SportsCenter’s Facebook page.
“The biggest challenge was to pick the 50 best spots, we had to leave so many great ones off the list” Eck said. “I’m sure the countdown will spur the debate further as the top commercial chosen by the Facebook fans may come as a surprise to some, but between the spots, the behind the scenes stories and a hilarious host in Jason Sudeikis I think they will be entertained.”
Some of the highlights of the show, include:
· The filming of the very first “This is SportsCenter” commercial, “Introduction,” was interrupted by a car accident very near the set. Host Bob Ley was delivering his line when the accident took place and his memorable and funny reaction was captured on film.
· When Jamaican sprinter and world record holder Usain Bolt arrived for his commercial “Hard Day,” he was asked what food he would like for breakfast. Bolt’s response, according to SportsCenter host John Anderson was “As much bacon as you can bring me.”
· During the filming of the Manning brothers’ “Wet Willy” commercial, the director asked them to do one take in which Eli would get the best of Peyton. However, both Peyton and older brother Cooper stepped in and said that, since Eli is the youngest, that would never happen.
· During the show Thursday night @SportsCenter will provide a second screen experience for fans tweeting out additional clips during commercial breaks.