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.
Dang @GoodmanESPN, you're on a reporting rampage, but I almost broke Jason Gardner-to-IUPUI – and you know it.
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) March 29, 2014
— Mark Hollis (@MSUAD) March 30, 2014
2. The Women’s Tournament is down to the Elite Eight, with the Final Four being decided tonight and tomorrow on ESPN.
— Becky Murdy (@beckymurdy) March 30, 2014
Jimmy Dykes discusses becoming the new women’s basketball coach for Arkansas. http://t.co/OYCBvlMbDJ
— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) March 30, 2014
3. The Frozen Four is set for next weekend on ESPN.
— Connor Hagness (@Hags63) March 29, 2014
— Richard Flores (@RFlores91) March 30, 2014
— Daniel Kelly (@DanKelly724) March 30, 2014
4. Opening Day for Major League Baseball follows the first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year
— Sheraz Khan (@skhan12) March 31, 2014
Dan Shulman's voice on a Sunday Night, baseball is back
— Chris in Kingston (@ChrisInYGK) March 31, 2014
— Ush Sisk (@ushsisk) March 31, 2014
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) March 28, 2014
— Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette) March 28, 2014
— Shaun Wyman (@ShaunWyman) March 29, 2014
— JOHN GIANNONE (@jaygeemsg) March 29, 2014
— Charles Bloom (@CharlesBloomSC) March 30, 2014
Jay Pharoah as Stephen A. on SNL last night. http://t.co/VYmwWDCgG2
— Ken Fang (@fangsbites) March 30, 2014
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 30, 2014
COMING SOON: Gruden interviewing Gruden. pic.twitter.com/RQd8uXVQrq
— ESPN Monday Night (@ESPNMondayNight) March 28, 2014
Dan Rydell lives! Josh Charles co-anchored Keith Olbermann’s show last night https://t.co/monu4t62je
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) March 29, 2014
Kristen Hudak contributed to this post