I used to love ESPN. They were the one and only 24-hour sports network and, at the time, covered everything from college baseball to ice hockey, to cycling. However, with the internet opening up a lot more opportunity for sports news, and more specific coverage, they’ve lost their market share. Also, a lot of programming they chose to run with became repetitive and was used for shock-value rather than substance (see First Take and anything with Berman).
Regardless of that, and my opinions, one thing remains a fact: they always had the best commercials. The This Is SportsCenter campaign was truly genius, mixing the on-air and off-air staff with some of the biggest names in the sport, both contemporary and all-time. Not to mention incorporating the likes of Stephen King, Steve Irwin, and other non-sports related figures. They showed another side of the network and really the athletes and celebrities involved.
Well that’s all over. ESPN and long-time ad agency Wieden+Kennedy have parted ways after a 25-year working relationship. The interesting bit? They will now be the ad agency for the rival Fox Sports, who in the last few years launched their own 24-hour, global sports network. I’m sure we won’t be seeing any This Is Fox Sports Live commercials, I am sure they will do something great to boost the network’s standing. One thing is for sure, whoever takes over with ESPN has some large shoes to fill.