Scott Van Pelt is well known for not taking everything involved in sports too seriously.
That in mind, Van Pelt and the midnight ET SportsCenter team have come up with a way to get viewers and their children involved in the program’s World Cup coverage.
Due to rights restrictions, SportsCenter is limited in the amount of actual World Cup video highlights that can be used. So, after the first day of play, Van Pelt introduced a drawing of soccer players done by his five-year-old daughter, while he and ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman discussed the day’s matches.
Afterward, and on the next morning’s SportsCenter on the ESPN App, Van Pelt asked for more child drawings to be sent to him on Twitter with the hashtag #DrawTheWorldCup.
With limited/no World Cup video for our show, we will improvise. My daughter drew Saudi Arabia/Russia for last night. Could have been worse than 5-0. Saudi’s only had one guy. Anyway…send your (kids?) art to #DrawTheWorldCup and we’ll pick a few each day. pic.twitter.com/RUXFhkUlYZ
— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) June 15, 2018
“With the limitations we faced from a highlight standpoint, we thought what can we do to have fun with a situation that limits us?” said Van Pelt. “And so I joked with my show staff that I’d just have my daughter Lila draw a picture.
“She got really excited,” he said.
“But what happened after we used it was priceless,” he said. “She was going to a summer camp and my wife said when she woke up that morning the first words out of her mouth were ‘I fell asleep and didn’t get to see daddy’s show to see if he used my picture.’ But my wife had DVR’d it and we showed it to her before she went to camp, and she was really very proud that her artwork was on TV.”
Van Pelt is well aware that others in the sports TV business have used comical stick figures in similar situations. “I want to make this very clear – I’m not suggesting we’re the first to do this,” he said. “I’ve never had my daughter draw for us before but this is what you do if you can’t show it.
“We’re obviously not making light of the World Cup,” he said. “We’re going to do very serious conversation with Taylor, who I think is fantastic, about the actual games.
“We’re just making light of the fact that we’re not able to show it,” he said. “We’re going to need the kids to get the crayons out and we’ll just have to rely on the artwork of children to represent what happened on the pitch.”