ESPN and Celine Dion Capture the Mood of a Nation Yearning for Football

Missed the NFL? Well it's all coming back to you now

ESPN's spot features a n array of athletes, coaches (including the Steelers' Mike Tomlin) and even fictional characters. ESPN
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Sports fans haven’t had many reasons for excitement in 2020, with several keystone events canceled and seasons delayed. Even when sports like basketball have seemed on the path to returning to normal, new rounds of Covid-19 infections made each subsequent week uncertain.

But for now, optimism reigns as the NFL regular season prepares to begin Sept. 10. The league has put a variety of infection-control measures in place, such as a ban on cheerleaders and mascots on the field, so it won’t be quite like business as usual, but football fans will definitely take what they can get.

To capture the enthusiasm for football’s return, ESPN and agency Arts & Letters Creative Co. have launched a heart-lifting (but tongue-in-cheek) spot called “Ready for Football.”

While the ad features a wide array of athletes, coaches, fictional characters and personalities, the true star is the voice of Celine Dion, whose 1996 ballad “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” powers the emotionally cathartic ad.

“The message behind ‘Ready for Football’ rings especially true this year given the intense emotional journey fans have experienced these past several months,” said Laura Gentile, svp of marketing for ESPN. “Our creative approach reflects how we are all–now more than ever–feeling, as we crave football and show fans, players, coaches, teams and ESPN all coming together to rejoice, reflect and exhale.”

The agency behind the spot is relatively new to the creative scene. Arts & Letters Creative Co. was founded in 2017 by Charles Hodges, a veteran of TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Wieden+Kennedy New York and Google Lab.

Arts & Letters debuted its first work on the ESPN account last year with the emotional anthem “There’s No Place Like Sports.”


Client: ESPN 

Laura Gentile, Senior Vice President, ESPN Marketing 

Emeka Ofodile, Vice President, ESPN Sports Marketing 

Curtis Friends, Senior Director, ESPN Sports Marketing 

David Dessau, Manager, ESPN Sports Marketing 

Lauren Gorajek Manager, ESPN Sports Marketing 

Carly Rotatori, Coordinator, ESPN Sports Marketing 

Chantre Camack, Director, Talent Production 

Sharee Stephens, Associate Director, Talent Production

Agency: Arts & Letters Creative Co.

Charles Hodges, Executive Creative Director 

Molly Jamison, Creative Director

Scott Hayes, Creative  

Eric Steele, Creative  

Tanner McColl, Creative  

Dixon Muller, Creative 

Letitia Jacobs, Director of Production 

Keith Jamerson, Executive Producer 

Rebecca Wilmer, Executive Producer 

Griffin Morrow, Assistant Producer 

Rich Weinstein, Managing Director 

Theo Abel, Business Director 

Martin Madriaga, Business Manager 

Andy Grayson, Director of Strategy 

Zach Wootton, Strategist 

Lenora Cushing, Director of Business Affairs 

Jennifer Kmetzsch, Business Affairs

Editorial: Arts & Letters Creative Co.

Pat Blumer, Editor 

Matt Doe, Editor 

Sho Kellam, Assistant Editor 

Whitney Green, Executive Producer 

Libbie Crane, Producer 

Ryan Dunstan, Assistant Producer

Production: Superprime

The Malloys, Director 

Rebecca Skinner, Managing Director / EP 

Michelle Ross, Managing Director / Head of Sales 

Charlotte Woodhead, Executive Producer 

 Matt Sanders, Head of Production  

Alexandra Lisee, Line Producer

Color/Finishing: Madbox Made

Matthew West, Colorist 

Macy West, Producer 

Audio Mix: Overcoast Music + Sound 

Matt Whitworth, Audio Mixer 

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@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."