On Monday, ESPN debuted a new exceptional addition to the “This is SportsCenter” franchise, with a spot that comically explores what the band Metallica has been up to since New York Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera’s 2013 retirement. (Rivera famously made his way to the mound at Yankee Stadium to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”)
The 30-second spot, also featuring SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris, Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott, is the fourth one in the franchise to star a musical guest. Previous musicians to visit ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters for the “This is SportsCenter” campaign include Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney and Michael McKean portraying Spinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins.
“The idea for this spot came from our ad agency Wieden + Kennedy as a ‘pie in the sky’ script. We had no idea we’d be able to get all of Metallica to come to Bristol, but they were excited about the script right away,” said Patrick Sofen, associate marketing manager at ESPN. “With the help of our Talent Management and Music departments, notably Chantre Camack [ESPN Events Talent Director] and Kevin Wilson [ESPN Music Director], we were able to coordinate Metallica’s trip to Bristol.”
Sofen also said including golfer John Daly as one of Metallica’s options in the ad was a last-minute addition the team came upon while on set adding “an extra layer” of humor. He added the band made the most of its time on campus.
“One funny story was that Lars [Ulrich] had an hour to kill before shooting, so he simply went for a run around campus,” Sofen said.
Ulrich told “Rolling Stone that his favorite moment in the spot is when Scott uses Kirk Hammett’s flier for “guitar lessons” as a gum wrapper. The band posted behind-the-scenes photos of the Bristol shoot on its website.
While the spot has a bit of fun with this imaginary scenario, Metallica’s music reportedly continues to serve as a motivator for several professional athletes and teams such as Grant Balfour of the Tampa Bay Rays, Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox and the Virginia Tech Hokies.