ESPN Celebrates 50 Years of the US Open in New Commercial with Unique On-Court Artwork

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ESPN Celebrates 50 Years of the US Open in New Commercial with Unique On-Court Artwork

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To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the US Open, ESPN teamed up with New York artist Jessie Bearden to create a unique homage to the tournament’s legacy and two of the game’s great players in a promotional spot for its exclusive coverage.

Bearden, a multidisciplinary artist and art director, is known for her creative use of unorthodox materials in her art. ESPN commissioned her for this US Open-specific execution, for which she used the Grandstand Court at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York and materials typically associated with tennis—racquets, balls, nets—to create portraits of two of the most iconic players on the tour – Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

Beginning August 20, that artwork provides the centerpiece for the promotional spots ESPN will run throughout the tournament. The kick off spot leans into the history and legacy of the US Open after 50 years, incorporating historical footage of US Open tennis icons interspersed with Bearden and her creative process. The spot concludes with the court-sized portrait reveal.

It took Bearden a month of planning, measuring, and designing to create the final piece. Each of the almost 5000 tennis balls were spray painted by hand, as well as every one of the 232 racquets. ESPN’s CreativeWorks served as the creative agency for the campaign and assisted Bearden in assembling the piece, per her direction and specifications.

“Understanding we only had one day to execute the portraits, I knew the planning had to be done with intense precision. I spent about a month designing, measuring, and calculating the pieces. During the week leading up to the shoot, a team of wonderful painters and myself hand painted all of the materials with antique gold-colored paint to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the US Open,” said Bearden.

ESPN will have two weeks of exclusive live coverage from tennis’ fourth and final Major of the year, the 50th Anniversary US Open, beginning Monday, Aug. 27.  For the first time, all 16 courts will be covered, with 130 hours on television and 1,300 more streaming live on the ESPN app via ESPN3 and ESPN+, the new direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN.  The daily action from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will culminate with the Women’s Championship on Saturday, Sept. 8, and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 9, both at 4 p.m. ET.



Client: US Open
Agency: ESPN CreativeWorks
VP Creative Works & Marketing Solutions: Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu
Senior Creative Director: Jay Marrotte
Creative Director: Paul Meehan
Associate Creative Director: Kimberly Pasqualetto
Production Coordinator: Jon Little
Senior Writer: Geoff Bird
Writer: Brian Nasti
VP Sports Marketing: Deidra Maddock
Director Sports Marketing: Erin Thornton
Manager Sports Marketing: Claire Miller
Associate Manager Sports Marketing: Lauren Gorajek
Associate Manager Project Management: Michelle Spaulding
Artist: Jessie Bearden
Production Company: ArtClass
Executive Producer: Geno Imbriale
Director: Bas Berkhout


Amy Phillips

My responsibilities in the communications group are largely of the Corporate Communications variety. A Midwesterner at heart and a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I am grateful every day to call New York City home. An alumnus of the College of the Holy Cross, I hold out irrational hope that one day the school will recoup some of its former mid-century sports prowess.
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