ESPN Advertising: How has it Changed?

If you are a sports fan or a frequent watcher of ESPN, then you are probably familiar with the cheesy “This is SportsCenter” commercials that have been an ESPN staple for years. In fact, the first ever “This is SportsCenter” commercial aired in 1995. Yeah, over 20 years ago! These commercials have been an ESPN staple ever since and really portray what it means to live and breath sports. ESPN’s humorous approach began when the network first launched and has carried that tradition over the years. But really, where else are you going to see a commercial like this: Roll Tide Commercial?  I am going to share a few of my favorite ESPN advertising approaches (or ads that’s frequently appear on ESPN) and why I believe they are so effective.

3. College Gameday Commercials

College Gameday is a pregame football and basketball Saturday program that highlights the matchups of that day and talk about what’s going on in the college football or basketball community.  These commercials place well known coaches and college football or basketball stars in humorous situations that do not necessarily “happen.” This piece of unrealistic humor makes the viewer think about how relaxed the ever-competitive sports world can be. The College Gameday show then continues to play on this playful theme. Here is one of my favorites from a few years back: Saban vs. Brown

2. Heisman House Commercials

The Heisman House commercials, that, believe it or not, is an advertisement for Nissan, continues to use the theme of funny and rather unrealistic. These commercials host past Heisman Trophy winners, which goes to the best college football player each year, as residents of the same home called the “Heisman House.” Of course, they are rivals living with rivals, so something is bound to go wrong, right? There are constant jabs at each other and really embodies the competitive nature of college sports. If you are like me, you cannot wait to see the next chapter of the Heisman House. Check out the latest (and my favorite) here:     Heisman House Food Fight

1. This is SportsCenter Commercials

Look, you can’t mess with the classics and This is SportsCenter is a classic. Talk about unrealistic, it’s these commercials. Do you really think that mascots run around the Bristol, Connecticut headquarters all day? Probably not. (I mean, they may, I’ve never been so I can neither confirm or deny) ESPN has always boasted their laid-back culture and these commercials embody that to a T. People that enjoy sports typically enjoy a laid-back life style. I think that is why these commercials are so relatable. It was hard to pick a favorite “This is SportsCenter” commercial, so here is ONE of my favorites)    Mascots Interrupt Meeting

In my book, ESPN gets an A for its own advertisements and ads that air on ESPN. They have a brand of laid-back humor and they stick to it. It is easy to say that their brand of advertising has remained constant over the years. Talk about embracing your personal brand!


(I would love to hear your favorite College Gameday/Heisman House/This is SportsCenter commercials! Share in the comments!)

By: Ashby Burton

Videos Courtesy of Youtube