Behind The ScenesESPN MarketingTennis

US Open 2021 Block Party

ESPN’s promotional campaign for the 2021 US Open – the last of tennis’ four Major championships of the year – debuts today with the original spot “Smile.”  

Chris McClure, Senior Creative Director and Cheryl DiCarlo, Director, both of ESPN’s in house creative agency Grande & Leonard Creative, worked on the spot and say the idea evolved from a theme of joy about the return of fans to sporting events to a concept about a block party and dance.  

The block party spot features a team of dancers, choreographed by Ebony Williams, performing on the Grandstand and grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and in front of the nearby 1964 World’s Fair Unisphere. 

Cheryl: “Motivated by the ‘Joy’ fans have been sharing on social media, we wanted to celebrate the multiculturalism that makes New York such a vibrant city.  With that in mind, we created a plan to kick off this year’s US Open with a Block Party dance number that will set the tone for this year’s tournament. 

With the help of ESPN’s music team, we concluded that “Smile” by Katy Perry expressed our “Joy and Gratitude for fans’ return to US Open” theme perfectly. 

Why via dance? Much like dancers, the world’s greatest tennis players make an extremely difficult “art form” look easy. Couple this with one of the world’s greatest “stage” — New York City’s US Open — and it felt like a perfect fit.” 

Co-Choreographer Ebony Williams
Co-Choreographer Gabriel Alvarez

Still Photos – Melissa Rawlins
Behind The Scenes Video – Produced by Spencer Jackson

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