• ESPN celebrates 40th anniversary with debut of 12 new 'This is SportsCenter' ads

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    ESPN debuted Sept. 7, 2019, and in 40 years the cable sports network has reshaped the way sports fans have watched television.

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    ESPN has come a long way since Lee Leonard introduced the network in its debut broadcast of "SportsCenter" 40 years ago.

    The network, while producing groundbreaking telecasts, has also been able to poke fun at itself. ESPN's "This is SportsCenter" advertising spots have portrayed the company's Bristol, Connecticut, headquarters as a bizarre meeting place between on-air personalities and sports stars.

    Beginning Saturday, ESPN is introducing 12 new "This is SportsCenter" commericals, Ad Age reported. The ad campaign, which debuted in 1995, will run across ESPN's television, digital and social platforms, the magazine reported. It's also the first time the network is running so many spots at once, according to Ad Age.

    The new spots include ESPN anchor Linda Cohn fumbling with a clicker, only to be "rescued" by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff; ESPN's Stan Verrett making a presentation on a screen, only to have messages about Giants running back Saquon Barkley pop up.

    ESPN's Kenny Mayne reveals how the company helped take care of employees' children with a nonchalant nanny, complete with one girl whining, "I want to meet Linda Cohn." Another spot shows WWE women's wrestling star Becky Lynch insulted when a barista asks for her name to write on her coffee drink.

    "We've been working to develop terrific new SportsCenter scripts for a while now, and when we realized the timing worked out perfectly with our anniversary, we pressed ‘Go,' Laura Gentile, ESPN's senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "This campaign has always been iconic, and made to delight fans. We hope they love these new spots." 

    It's funny stuff. Here is a sampling:

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