Forward/Rewind: Revisiting some of ESPN’s biggest social moments in 2014

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Editor’s Note: With this multi-week series — the Front Row Forward/Rewind, 2015/2014 — ESPN’s Communications Department takes the pulse of content executives and their properties throughout ESPN for views on what transpired in 2014 and a glimpse into 2015. It was a monster year for ESPN, with the success of the World Cup; the phenomenal launch of the SEC Network; the opening of Digital Center 2, the new home for SportsCenter and NFL Studio shows; and so much more. We can never encapsulate all the amazing things ESPN did this year, but the Forward/Rewind does its best to recognize the moments we’ll all remember.



1. espnW

Vice President, espnW, Laura Gentile: “Mo’ne Davis’ performance at the Little League World Series was a watershed ‘moment’ of 2014. She captured the country’s attention with her performance on the field and her composure off of it, and Mo’Ne Fever spread like wildfire across social – @MoneDavis11.”

2. ESPN Marketing and Ad Sales

ESPN Social Media’s “war room” helped spread 2014 FIFA World Cup mania during the “most tweeted” sports event ever, the Brazil versus Germany match. According to Adweek: “The sports network scored big with 1.7 million total actions — of which 1.4 million were likes — by animating Germany soccer hero Mario Götze celebrating the team’s World Cup win.”

3. NFL

Seth Markman, Sunday NFL Countdown senior coordinating producer: “[Countdown contributor and comedian] Frank Caliendo’s 30 for 30 ‘mockunentary’ on [Seattle Seahawks cornerback] Richard Sherman: I remember screening it the day before and I’m not sure I’ve laughed that hard at anything we’ve produced on ESPN. I couldn’t believe the genius of Frank and how he put it together with producer Zachary Budman. I knew it was going to be big, but I never imagined it would be that big – more than 2.5 million views on YouTube.”
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4. NASCAR

ESPN Vice President, Motorsports, Production, Rich Feinberg: “The reaction of the NASCAR fans and motorsports community with the fight after the Charlotte race and the fight after Texas. It was everything – [pit reporter] Jamie Little in the middle of it at Texas, respect for our cameraman Ara Dramm, it was people coming up to me and asking ‘how did you happen to have your camera in-between those two haulers at Charlotte?’ Those two fights and the intensity of the new Chase transcended the NASCAR bubble that some of us can live in sometimes.”

5. E:60

While there were several E:60 stories that resonated with fans this year, one stood out: “Catching Kayla,” which was also featured in Google’s year-end video.

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6. College GameDay/SEC Network

7. ESPN Audio

Senior Vice President, ESPN Audio, Morris Davenport: #GolicButtPhoto: “As I’m watching Northwestern beating Notre Dame in overtime, knowing that when Mike & Mike were in South Bend for this game and this bet was on the line, I was screaming, ‘Oh, no. Please God, don’t let this happen to me.’ But it turned out great. I give credit to Amanda Gifford (Mike & Mike program director), (Vice President, Network Content) Dave Roberts, Pete Gianesini (senior director, Radio programming operations) and Ray Necci (Mike & Mike producer).”

8. ESPN Brazil

Launched during the World Cup, #ESPNtem (or “#ESPNhas”) made for one of the most social moments for ESPN in Brazil during 2014. It was used to convey that ESPN has the best events, the biggest stars, and the most prepared team. The hashtag became the biggest umbrella campaign ESPN in Brazil ever had: #ESPNtemNFL, #ESPNtemNBA, #ESPNtemLebronJames and so on. The result? During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN Brazil was seen 57 times in Twitter’s world trend topics and in Twitter’s Brazil trend topics 73 times.

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9. SportsCenter

Senior VP, SportsCenter and News, Rob King: “The Pete Frates Ice Bucket Challenge feature was our most-shared post ever; LeBron James’ return to Cleveland our ‘most-retweeted’ Tweet; Odell Beckham Jr.’s catch was our most-liked Instagram post.”

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10. ESPN The Magazine

Rachel Ullrich, associate editor: “This was for our ‘FanSourced Issue’: We asked four fan bases to respond to a call to action to make it into The Magazine. The response we got to this was so fun to watch. The [Portland] Trail Blazers (325K followers) retweeted us, then the NBA (11.1M followers) retweeted us. The votes just kept getting higher and higher.” Other popular Mag social media posts involved NFL star Rob Gronkowski and kittens and “The Body Issue.”

Tara Chozet, Ana Livia Coehlo, Amy Phillips, Bill Hofheimer, Allison Stoneberg, Mac Nwulu, Andy Hall, Keri Potts, Gracie Blackburn, Ardi Dwornik, Dan Quinn and Carrie Kreiswirth contributed to this post.

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