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Rafael Nadal’s ‘sweet serves’ natural fit for new ‘This Is SportsCenter‘ spots in Spanish, English

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Anchors weigh in on working with Rafael Nadal


Carolina Padrón: “The experience of doing a commercial with Rafael was incredible. Rafa and his crew were very friendly. . . I had the opportunity to meet them at the Mexican Open, so it was great to see them again. I have a photo of me eating jelly beans from the trophy that was featured in the spot. Surreal things that only happen when you work at the Worldwide Leader of sports.”

Bram Weinstein: “I found out while I was on vacation with family that I was being asked to be part of the campaign. What an incredible honor. It’s such an iconic part of the “SportsCenter” brand, I was elated to even be asked.”

Sara Walsh and Jade McCarthy had to provide laughter repeatedly while Weinstein and John Anderson were saying their lines.

McCarthy: “It helped to know that John and Bram were coming up with some pretty funny lines of their own.”

Walsh: “What you don’t get to see in the commercial is how many takes we did having a conversation at Rafa’s desk. He shared some funny stories about his life off the court, and while John and Bram point out all the obvious things he’s got going for him, one of the greatest to ever play the game, [Nadal] couldn’t have been more humble.” [/box]

Following Rafael Nadal’s US Open victory against Novak Djokovic on Sept. 9, ESPN debuted its latest addition to the award-winning “This is SportsCenter” franchise with a spot that features the 13-time major title champion.

The 30-second spot, titled “Candy Dish,” was filmed in both English and Spanish on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters’ north campus. It showcases SportsCenter anchors John Anderson and Bram Weinstein speculating on what makes the Spanish player so popular in the office as they watch anchors Sara Walsh, Jade McCarthy and Kevin Connors chatting up Nadal by his desk. The Spanish version of the spot features ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter anchors Alvaro Morales, Jorge Eduardo Sánchez and Carolina Padrón.

“We wanted a diverse group of anchors, and felt the five who appeared [in the English spot] were perfect fits. It was a great opportunity to mix in John Anderson, a veteran of the campaign, with some of our newer talent,” said A.J. Mazza, sports marketing manager at ESPN.

According to Mazza, it took approximately three hours to film both spots, and similarly as in the ad, Nadal’s presence around the office created a buzz amongst ESPN’s employees. “Nadal mentioned how surprised he was that ESPN’s [campus] was so large,” said Mazza. “He was very gracious and humble.”

It’s the second spot in the campaign to be released in English and Spanish, following Robinson Cano’s “Handshakes” — recently voted by fans to be their favorite spot in the series. The spot also marks the “This is SportsCenter” debuts of Weinstein, Walsh, McCarthy and Connors.

Both spots, now running on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes, were developed in collaboration with creative agency Wieden + Kennedy New York.