By Jay Tilles
ESPN released their hilarious new “This Is Sports Center” promotional ad today, starring none other than Metallica.
The 30-second TV commerical will air today during ESPN’s coverage of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.
The spot plays off Metallica’s now nascent relationship to New York Yankee Mariano Rivera.
Now retired, Rivera was known for his entering the field to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” The song became so synonymous with the baseball great that when Rivera retired, the band flew in to perform the song at the ceremony. According to ESPN, the track was so married to Rivera that the Hard Rock retired the song from the music system at “all Hard Rock-branded restaurants, hotels and casinos worldwide with the exception of Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium.”
As if the band is now suddenly out of job, the ESPN spot portrays the band as no longer having anything do to. The ad begins with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich pitching athletes and coaches on using their songs as entrance music.
Sadly, no one is interested.
Putting the nail in the coffin is ESPN anchor Stuart Scott’s break room run-in with Kirk Hammett. Scott detaches a piece of paper from the bulletin board and uses it to wad up and throw away his gum, only to realize it was a flier for Hammett’s guitar lessons.
“Sometimes it can be quite freeing to put yourself at the mercy of others,” Ulrich told Rolling Stone of the commercial. “ESPN’s commercials have a tendency to be hilarious. We were like, ‘That sounds like a good time.’ The whole thing had an overriding impulsivity to it.”
Metallica’s currently untitled new album is being recorded right now. Earlier this summer, the band released a studio version of their first new song since Death Magnetic in “Lords of Summer.”