Advertising ESPN Sports

ESPN campaign suggests it’s better to be on SportsCenter than to make the play


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

September 10, 2018 | 4 min read

ESPN has unveiled a new campaign, ‘That’s Gonna be on SportsCenter,’ focused on its flagship program. The campaign highlights a phrase that became part of the sports lexicon years ago, as the show became embedded into the fabric of sports culture.

SportsCenter spot

Kenny Mayne appears in new SportsCenter ad

The opening spot of the campaign, ‘Reflection,’ shows a play unfolding on the football gridiron, as a Giants cornerback tries to haul down an Atlanta Falcons player. In the driving rain, the cornerback’s hold slips and the player gets away. As the dejected player ponders how his botched play will look to his teammates and family, he is visited by the vision of longtime anchor Kenny Mayne, who lets him know that the moment is definitely going to be on SportsCenter. Unfortunately for the player, it will be a part of the Not Top 10 segment, where highlights are celebrated for their infamy, rather than achievement. Still, he shouts with joy, knowing that he will gain fame through exposure.

That’s Gonna be on SportsCenter is a reminder and celebration that there are moments in sports, and then there are SportsCenter moments. Agency Droga5 led the concept, creative development and direction for the multi-platform campaign.

“Whether it’s a memorable play or an infamous fumble, making it to highlight status on SportsCenter is a badge of honor,” said Wanda Young, senior vice president of marketing and consumer engagement, ESPN. “That’s Gonna be on SportsCenter is an aspirational phrase uttered by athletes and fans alike, and we’re shining a light on its significance with this campaign.”

Added Norby Williamson, executive vice president and executive editor, Studio Production: “Fans have a personal connection with SportsCenter, regardless of where they engage with the show. The context and personality we provide around a highlight is a key differentiator, and this campaign illustrates the fact that it’s not truly a highlight unless it has made it on SportsCenter.”

Coming this Fall, ESPN's game producers will begin flagging SportsCenter-worthy moments in real time. During live game action, That's Gonna Be on SportsCenter graphics will appear when Top 10 or Not Top 10 moments occur, serving as a natural extension of the campaign. Fans will have an opportunity to get in on the action as well with themed gifs with the campaign expression, which will be loaded into the Giphy library. From there, fans can identify their own SportsCenter highlights and share them across social media.

"We wanted to reaffirm why SportsCenter is the go-to destination for all the highlights, lowlights, and everything in between that exists in the world of the SportsCenter audience. At the end, and beginning, of the day, SportsCenter serves as the ultimate curator that sees and breaks down everything that unfolds in sports, and those highlights are paramount to that experience," said Brandon Pierce, group creative director, Droga5.

ESPN: advert-body-1 by Droga5


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Droga5 is a New York City-based global advertising agency with an additional office in London. The agency works across all platforms including, broadcast, print,...

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