MLBSportsCenter

The Monday Lineup: New TISC ad PLUS: 12 ESPN moments from the weekend

As ESPN begins its 25th Major League Baseball season this week, ESPN is launching a new “This is SportsCenter” spot that features Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder and defending National League MVP Andrew McCutchen.

Titled “Pirates,” the commercial (above) also stars SportsCenter anchors John Anderson, Jade McCarthy, Kevin Negandhi and Hannah Storm conducting a meeting when a group of mascot pirates led by McCutchen, unexpectedly breaks in and loots all the food from the room. The mascots featured in the spot – filmed on ESPN’s North Campus in Bristol, Conn. – include Pittsburgh’s Pirate Parrot along with East Carolina’s Pee Dee, Seton Hall’s Pirate and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Captain Fear.

Front Row spoke with AJ Mazza, marketing manager at ESPN, about the spot’s theme and some of the behind the scenes from the filming:

Tell us about how your team came up with the idea of “Pirates”
Our creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy New York, developed this great script. We were excited to feature Andrew McCutchen, the reigning NL MVP, as well as a medley of pirate mascots. We’ve all had meetings where the leftover food is raided, and thought that pirate mascots pillaging the food mid-meeting would be a great touch.

How many times did you have to reorganize the food on the table?
Wow, I’m not sure. At least a dozen times.

How was the process of getting all the “pirates” involved in the spot?
It was easy! There was a lot of enthusiasm by the featured teams and universities of the pirate mascots, and they were very willing and accommodating to make the shoot happen.

ESPN is unveiling a variety of new content plans to celebrate its 25th Major League Baseball season and its new multi-platform rights agreement with MLB. ESPN’s MLB Opening Day coverage begins today at 1 p.m. ET when the Pirates and McCutchen host the Chicago Cubs and Starlin Castro.

Now, some of what you may have missed over the weekend. . .

1. It’s a Final Four that very few saw coming.

2. The Women’s Tournament is down to the Elite Eight, with the Final Four being decided tonight and tomorrow on ESPN.

3. The Frozen Four is set for next weekend on ESPN.

4. Opening Day for Major League Baseball follows the first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year

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Kristen Hudak contributed to this post

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