Defending champion Bubba Watson lends his voice to the Masters spot for ESPN

He’s not identified in the 15-second spot, but Bubba Watson owns the voice heard in ESPN’s new commercial to promote upcoming live coverage of the Masters Tournament.

The spot will air across ESPN platforms for the month of January, with more image and topical ads to come throughout February, March and April. ESPN will air Masters live play on Thursday and Friday, April 9-10.

Watson’s voice reflects the reverence golfers hold for the Masters as it is heard over various angled shots of the invitation golfers receive to participate in the annual event at Augusta National Golf Club.

Bubba Watson (l) has filmed two “This is SportsCenter” spots, including “Tree.”
Bubba Watson (l) has filmed two “This is SportsCenter” spots, including “Tree.”

“One of the main ideas was to have a three-pillar approach to the overall campaign,” said Scott Swindler, ESPN marketing manager. “In the early part of the golf season, we wanted to tease and just remind the casual and avid fans that we have the Masters and it’s coming back in April.”

Swindler said the idea of using the invitation for the tease awareness spot came from some group discussion.

“We looked back over our past years of work and nothing had ever been done on the invitation itself,” he said. “Every year around this time, the players are receiving their invitations in the mail, so we thought it would be a nice little insider treat for the fans and something they didn’t necessarily know about.”

ESPN Creative Services scanned the invitation in very high resolution.

He jumped at the chance to do it, and it was a nice partnership on both ends.
Scott Swindler,
ESPN marketing manager, on working with golfer Bubba Watson on new campaign for the Masters

“You can actually see the typography and the fibers and grains within the invitation, so we were able to beautify and dial up the drama and prestige that this invitation carries,” Swindler said.

Watson, the defending Masters champion and veteran of “This is SportsCenter” spots “Tree” and “Pencils,” spent 30 minutes in a studio in Phoenix on Dec. 29.

“He had a lot of fun with it,” Swindler said. “We had him do all sorts of different reads and tones and pacing and he was tremendous to work with and really understood what we were looking for.”

The commercial made its on-air debut Jan. 1 within the Rose and Sugar Bowls. Watson also sent out a Tweet to his million-plus followers.

“He jumped at the chance to do it, and it was a nice partnership on both ends,” Swindler said. “We’re very pleased with the final execution.”

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