An iconic ad campaign is coming back to ESPN.
AdWeek reports that the This Is SportsCenter campaign will be returning, with ESPN partnering with “lead creative partner” Arts & Letters. The spots are expected to premiere in early 2023 during the College Football Playoff.
ESPN is resuscitating its iconic “This Is SportsCenter” campaign with the help of its new lead creative partner, Richmond, VA.-based Arts & Letters. Wieden+Kennedy produced the bulk of the 400-odd ads that began airing in the mid-1990s, but ESPN brought the campaign in-house in 2017 and discontinued it shortly afterward. The campaign will return soon, likely making a splash during the College Football Playoffs in the beginning of 2023. Arts & Letters, which has worked on campaigns across a number of ESPN’s various verticals since 2019, including its brand platform “There’s No Place Like Sports,” will develop the new iterations of the campaign.
“With this new SportsCenter campaign coming into the fold and being awarded to Arts & Letters, it’s just an opportunity to really solidify the messaging and the relationship,” said Laura Gentile, evp, ESPN marketing and commercial marketing, adding, “It brings back a campaign everybody knows and loves and is core to who we are as an entity.”
Wieden & Kennedy, the company behind the original This Is SportsCenter ads, began working with Fox Sports in 2017. ESPN brought the campaign in-house and launched a variety of ads. In 2020, ESPN aired some This Is SportsCenter specials, spotlighting several ads throughout the campaign’s history to commemorate its 25th anniversary.
Now, the campaign is returning. Here are a couple of our staff’s favorites.
Charley Steiner gets traded to Melrose Place for Andrew Shue.
Rich Eisen gets sent to the minors.
FOLLOW ME TO FREEDOM!
Seth Hayes gets the call too soon.
The SportsCenter big buddy program.
And of course, the late John Clayton in his Slayer t-shirt.