the other thing that took us to the next level — international cultlike status — was the remarkable “this is sportscenter” advertising campaign. the commercials ranked in the top of all time. “wow, this is us, a bunch of jamooks in bristol!”

espn’s largest audience was on christmas 1994 when 9,640,000 homes saw ­the miami dolphins defeat the detroit lions 27-20. the network’s biggest non-nfl audience came on september 7, 1998 (its 19th anniversary) with a 9.5 rating for the baseball game in which the st. louis­ cardinals’ mark ­mcgwire clubbed his 61st home run in a game against the ­chicago cubs.

sports & money

in 1979, when the average baseball
player earned $113,558, nolan ryan became the first million-dollar team sport athlete. today, the average is $2.55 million for baseball players, an increase of
2,241 percent.

up from just 1 player 25 years ago, the number of athletes in the four major team sports now earning $1 million per year or more is 1,702.

the cost of a 30-second ad in the super bowl has increased tenfold since 1980, from $222,000 to $2.2 million.

in 1979, the nfl received $8.8 million annually from its tv partners. today, the amount is approximately $2.25 billion — an increase of 25,468 percent.