This is SportsCenter

From Academic Kids

This is SportsCenter is the name of a series of comical television commercials run by ESPN to promote their SportsCenter sports news show.

The commercials debuted in 1994. Some of their memorable plots include:

  • The power goes out late at night at the ESPN studios; Dan Patrick goes backstage to find the cause of the power outage: Lance Armstrong has taken a break from riding his bicycle (connected to a generator).
  • In a 1999 commercial, 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 tie as a headband, holding a lantern, and screaming, '"Follow me to freedom!!"
  • The carpet in the the ESPN headquarters is replaced with grass to prevent injuries, a parody of the controversy over injuries sustained by football players competing on Astroturf.
  • Immediately after signing off a typical SportsCenter broadcast, Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne are given sombreros and begin broadcasting the Spanish version of SportsCenter. Later they are shown giving the Russian version a try.

Many commercials in the series have derived their humor from comparing working for SportsCenter with playing in professional sports. For example, one ad has 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 favor he rejected going through with), another shows San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman filling in for Kenny Mayne for the show's "Did You Know?" segment, as if he was replacing the starting pitcher in a baseball game.

Many famous athletes have been featured in the series, including Andre Agassi, Bill Bradley, Kobe Bryant, Brandi Chastain, Jennifer Capriati, Roger Clemens, Mia Hamm, Jim Harbaugh, Evander Holyfield, Keyshawn Johnson, Roy Jones Jr., Lennox Lewis, Mark McGwire, Gheorghe Muresan, Gaylord Perry, Mary Lou Retton, Pete Sampras, Jerry Stackhouse, Kerri Strug, and Tiger Woods. Also, sports mascots and cheerleaders are usually prevalent.

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