ESPN's "This Is SportsCenter" is among the handful of classic sports ad campaigns of all time. Launched in 1995 by Wieden + Kennedy in New York, the campaign—originally inspired by the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap—hasn't changed much over the years. And why would it? You don't mess with a winning formula.
The premise of the ads, as we've noted before, is that ESPN's Bristol, Conn., offices are the center of the sports universe—a surreal yet mundane fantasy world where athletes and mascots live and work together with anchors and journalists. Where other marketers portray athletes as superhuman, "This Is SportsCenter" presents them as comically, relatably human. Eighteen years and more than 400 spots later, the campaign continues.
As part of the Adweek story linked above, W+K drew up a list of its 10 favorite SportsCenter ads. Now, ESPN has one-upped its agency—devoting a whole special to its 50 favorite SportsCenter spots of all time. The show, airing this Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and hosted by Jason Sudeikis, will feature anecdotes and stories about the top 50, and fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite spot over on Facebook. Sudeikis will announce the winning spot on the show. (More than 1 million votes have been cast so far.)
Check out the program on Thursday, and click the link below for a sneak peek at ESPN's official top 10 favorite "This Is SportsCenter" commercials.