With more than 400 commercials, the iconic “This is SportsCenter” franchise has become a staple among fans, treating them to a humorous spin on day-to-day life at ESPN. What many fans don’t know though is that – in addition to coveted athletes, celebrities and anchors – the ads also often feature ESPN employees as extras.
That was the case in “Ice Cream,” the campaign’s latest spot starring New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey alongside SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris and Lisa Kerney.
The 15-second commercial, filmed on September 22 in the Bristol, Conn., campus cafeteria, featured approximately 15 extras including three employees from the communications department: Kimberly Jarvis, photo coordinator; Stephen McDonald, senior coordinator of fan relations and David Williams, associate director of multimedia.
“One of the coolest things about working at ESPN is you never know who you are going to run into. It can really feel like a commercial,” said McDonald, a lifelong Mets fan who described the experience as “one for the memory book.” He appears two rows behind Harvey, eating a salad.
“Meeting Harvey was awesome. As a fan, it was fun to talk baseball with one of the best pitchers in the game,” he added.
The producers tasked David Williams, who can be seen pacing behind the window, to “act like he’s walking” during the hour-long shoot.
“I got my 10,000 steps in for the day just walking back and forth,” he said jokingly. “I’ve always been a fan of these spots even before joining ESPN and I’m grateful to have the chance to be in one.”
According to Jarvis, who is sitting across Harris and Kerney, Harvey’s helmet kept melting between takes.
“As a 17-year member of ESPN, this is my first experience in a commercial,” she said. “Because of the angle where I’m featured, I’m glad I got a haircut a couple days before the shoot! Watching Jay, Lisa and Matt eating ice cream made me want chocolate ice cream, hold the sprinkles, in a Red Sox cup!”