Skip to main content
Publish date:

Rich Eisen Tells Cool Story Behind Classic ‘This Is SportsCenter’ Ad

In Tuesday’s Hot Clicks: Rich Eisen goes behind the scenes of a memorable ESPN commercial, the Marlins’ coronavirus puts MLB on edge and more.

Rich Eisen didn’t appreciate being “sent to the minors”

There’s a reason why ESPN’s “This Is SportsCenter” ads have endured for 25 years. The clever spots’ wry sense of humor is timeless. Any sports fan of a certain age could tell you their favorite—and then add five more to the list. 

The commercials were just as meaningful for the SportsCenter anchors who starred in them. In a series of tweets on Monday night, former ESPN anchor Rich Eisen described the “in-house competition” centered on the beloved ads. 

Eisen specifically mentioned a spot called “Sent to the Minors,” in which he gets demoted to reading announcements for a high school. 

Eisen, who was still a relative newcomer at ESPN, took offense to being the one picked to play the demoted anchor and went to veteran Dan Patrick to complain. 

I’ll just embed Eisen’s whole Twitter thread here, because there are too many interesting asides to just summarize the whole thing. 

Eisen’s first job after going to grad school at Northwestern was as a sports anchor for KRCR-TV, Redding, California’s ABC affiliate. Today, that’s the 131st-largest media market in the United States. Two years later, he was at ESPN. So Eisen was right to view himself as an underdog, but at the same time, he was one of the most talented and beloved anchors on the network. Even people who are at the top of their field have serious doubts about their abilities.

The best of SI

MLB should have foreseen a team-wide outbreak like the one the Marlins are grappling with. ... The Marlins’ outbreak should be a warning to every other sport trying to come back in the United States. ... Assuming they still play games, where does Justin Verlander’s absence leave the Astros?

SI Recommends

Around the sports world

Megan Rapinoe has a new talk show coming out on HBO. ... A limited-edition baseball card of Dr. Anthony Fauci set a record with more than 50,000 sold. ... Kyrie Irving is donating $1.5 million to support WNBA players who opted out of the season. ... The soundtrack for NBA 2K21 will feature 202 songs. ... A bunch of NBA owners are losing a ton of money, according to Brian Windhorst

Laser beam

Bol Bol is terrifying

This must be the most frustrating kind of goal for a goalie to give up

Crazy to see Trout react like this

I don’t know enough about golf to make heads or tails of swing paths but I still enjoy watching stuff like this

Oddly satisfying

I love a good coincidence

The camera angles in the bubble are crazy

I couldn’t believe it when the stack just kept getting higher

Not sports

A new handheld video game console that plays old GameBoy games will be available for preorder next week. ... The new Christopher Nolan movie Tenet, which has changed its release date about a thousand times, has set a new one. ... A rescuer descended 130 feet to save an owl trapped at the bottom of a well at an abandoned castle in Germany.

Money for food? What a concept!

(It’s actually food and cash in exchange for coins.)

When your house painter went to art school

A good song

I’ll be out the rest of the week. Michael Shapiro and Chris Chavez have you covered. 

Email with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.