One week after ESPN concluded their very successful Jordan Bulls doc The Last Dance, ‘90s nostalgia remains at a premium. Looking to capitalize on the decade’s popularity, ESPN announced a celebration of their This is SportsCenter commercials.
2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic ad campaign, having premiered in 1995 to produce dozens of memorable commercials over the years. On Sunday, May 24, ESPN announced they’ll air three specials celebrating This is SportsCenter from noon – 2:30pm ET, hosted by Steve Levy and Elle Duncan.
At noon ET, The Best of This is SportsCenter: 25 Years and Counting will highlight some of the most popular commercials of the last quarter-century and will include the evolution of the SportsCenter studio. The Best of This Is SportsCenter: The Superstars will air at 1pm, featuring some of the top athletes and celebrities to appear in the ad campaign. And at 2pm The Best of This is SportsCenter: Mascot Mayhem will offer a 30-minute look at some of the comical commercial moments involving college mascots.
Launching in ‘95, This is SportsCenter commercials have mostly been created by ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, but the firm partnered with FOX Sports in Jan. 2017. Since then, ESPN has continued to produce This is SportsCenterspots, doing so with in-house resources. There have been more than 400 of the commercials in the last quarter-century, with the late Stuart Scott appearing in 83, more than any other ESPN personality according to Front Office Sports.
ESPN Releases Details For Joe Buck’s PGA Championship Broadcast
“Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host.”
Omaha Productions and ESPN are getting ready for the PGA Championship. News broke last week that Joe Buck would make his ESPN debut at the center of alternative coverage of the event. Now the network is sharing a few details of the broadcast.
Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host. ESPN’s senior golf analyst will bring the perspective of a former caddie to the broadcast as well as the humor of a former comedian.
The duo will welcome plenty of guests too. The lineup suggests that while the broadcast will be built around golf, the conversations could go anywhere. Troy Aikman, Josh Allen, Charles Barkley, Doris Burke, Fred Couples, Jon Hamm, and Peyton & Eli Manning are all scheduled to make appearances.
“We loved doing Monday Night Football with ESPN and the entire Omaha team has been looking forward to producing alternate telecasts that celebrate other sports,” Peyton Manning said in a press release. “As one of golf’s majors, the PGA Championship is a perfect place to do our first one for golf and we look forward to working with Joe, Michael and everyone in ESPN’s golf team.”
Joe Buck and Michael Collins will be on TV for all four days of the PGA Championship. They will be on for four hours each day. The broadcast will alternate between ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ depending on where the traditional coverage of the event is airing.
The PGA Championship with Joe Buck & Michael Collins is the latest offering from ESPN’s deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. The company has also committed to produce alternate coverage of MMA and college football broadcasts in the future.
Tom Brady To Join FOX At End Of Career
“Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.”
Tom Brady won’t be in the booth this season for FOX, but he will be there eventually. The network’s PR account tweeted that as soon as Brady is ready to call it a career, he will join Kevin Burkhardt to call the biggest game on the network’s slate each week.
“We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the Fox team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season,” FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.
FOX has made no secret of its desire to bring Brady aboard. The network has been courting him ever since he announced his retirement in February. The desire to pair him with Burkhardt was first reported in March by Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.
This news raises questions about the future for a lot of the parties involved. First, who will be Burkhardt’s partner this season? Tom Brady has committed to play for the Buccaneers. Next, what does this mean for the quarterback’s future? Does this guarantee that 2022 will be his final season in the NFL? Finally, what now for Greg Olsen? He had been Burkhardt’s partner last season and has expressed interest in continuing to work together.
All of those answers will be addressed in time. Right now, FOX is busy celebrating.
Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.
That is going to cost them too. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Brady’s FOX paycheck will eclipse $20 million annually.
FOX’s deal with Tom Brady is similar to the one NBC made with Drew Brees before his final season in New Orleans. It allowed the quarterback one more season and promised him a nice landing spot in the media when his playing days are done. We will have to wait and see whether or not FOX will end up waiting longer than the one season NBC did.
Ratings for NHL Regional Coverage Down Across Most Of The League
“Only four teams with available data (the Kings, Wild, Panthers, and Red Wings) saw ratings growth in 2021-22.”
While national TV ratings for the NHL season can and should be celebrated, ratings for regional sports networks appear to be a cause for concern. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported Monday that RSNs across the league were down 23% compared to last year.
The 2020-21 season was shortened to 56 games because of the COVID pandemic.
Only four teams with available data (the Kings, Wild, Panthers, and Red Wings) saw ratings growth in 2021-22. Numbers for Carolina, Nashville and the Canadian teams were unavailable.
Arizona saw the biggest dip year over year. Bally Sports Arizona was down 58% compared to last year. Part of it is understandable. The Coyotes were one of the worst teams in the league.
Viewership for the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning was down 20%. The average rating for games on Bally Sports Sun was 1.49, good enough for 10th of the teams on the list.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had an average rating of 5.43 on AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh this season, which topped the league, but viewership was still down 30% versus last season.
The Seattle Kraken had an average rating of 0.96 for their inaugural season on Root Sports.