Top Ten TV Sports Themes

Introductions can make or break you.

It’s so very true. That’s why when I get married my wife and I are coming out to “Sirius” by Alan Parsons Project, aka the Chicago Bulls starting lineup. She’ll agree to it, I just know it.

But as grand entrances are key, for a sporting event an intro takes on a life of its own. Over the years, TV networks develop some of the catchiest themes that eventually become synonymous with the sport itself. Some are terrible, others are the perfect marriage.

After some research, I’ve come up with my top 10 of best sports intros on TV. A lot had to do with style, rhythm and its importance to the sport it introduces. So sit back, crank up the volume and get ready for what might possibly be a flashback to some great sports memories.

The Five Cents Top Ten Sports Intros

Honorable Mention – “Excellence” NBA on TNT

Before TNT changed to its current theme, TNT marched into games with this intro. It was actually one of my favorite intros and I didn’t care for the fact they took it off. The song went great with its artistic graphics that were just as cool as the song.

10. Wimbledon

We’re in the day of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. But before new school took over, it was all Sampras. And Sampras was busy winning Wimbledon (And Veronica Vaughn from Billy Madison, JACKPOT). During the NBA Finals, you’d see Wimbledon promos and hear this. Pretty cool stuff. It definitely makes the top 10. And sort of a cool theme for tennis while we’re at it.

9. NHL on Versus

I bet I already shocked you with Wimbledon at 10, but Versus theme at 9? I actually love it. I’m not quite sure where it gets all the negativity. Plus it brings back wonderful memories of my visits to Los Angeles in 2009 and Marquette in 2010, where I watched some of the best Blackhawks games on Versus during the playoffs. This theme is very, very underrated.

8. CBS College Basketball

So where’s Gus Johnson?! The SLIPPER STILL FITS! Toward the end of February and during March Madness, CBS’s intro is a breath of fresh air. When it airs, you know March Madness is here, you’ve got your bracket out, you’re ready to win your pool and you know at some point, Gus Johnson’s going to methodically freak out during a close ballgame.

7. NBA on TNT

When TNT went to this theme at first, I hated it. But it grew on me. And by comparison to ESPN’s intro, this kicks ass. It has a classy ring to it and a slower tempo compared to NBC’s old theme but for basketball it works. It’s also the theme that precursors Ernie, Kenny, Charles and now Shaq (if the lockout ever gets resolved).

6. ESPN National Hockey Night Theme

Compelling. Urgent. Dramatic. ESPN had its hockey intro right during the mid 90’s. This theme brings you back to those old NHL video games for SNES. And does anybody remember the real slow, dramatic version, much like when someone gets injured during a Fox football game? For hockey fans, this theme provided continuity that carried over into the game, at least I think.

5. NFL on CBS

If it wasn’t out of respect for Fox’s intro, this would get the nod over Fox in the list. E.S. Posthumus is a great composer. His jams are absolutely dynamic and this is definitely a theme for football. Gritty, tough, explosive, dynamic – it’s all there. CBS doesn’t play around with its football. It’s serious and emphatic and that’s a great way to portray the sport.

4. NFL on FOX

Bears fans, this song is for you. How many times have we’ve heard this open up games over the year? Too many. If you root for a team in the NFC, chances are this has opened up games for you as well. And chances also are, you’ve grown accustomed to this song as a football song.

3. American Gladiators

Did anybody have the Joust stick like me when I was a kid? Or the action figures? Or the trading cards? Or notice Mike Adamle? OK, so you probably did. And that meant you were a HUGE gladiator fan like I was as a kid. To this day, I still have the lunchbox. I wonder if Gold has any daughters?

2. Monday Night Football Theme

Are you ready for some football? Football on Monday has to be distinctive. And with a little 70’s flare to it, this theme definitely puts you in the mood for some football on prime time. It’s a genuine classic.

1. Roundball Rock – NBA on NBC

Who knew John Tesh could compose such musical genius as Roundball Rock? It’s anyone’s best guess. But Tesh hit it right on the nail with this jam that opened up basketball on NBC. This is nostalgic for many reasons: the 90’s Bulls, Patrick Ewing and the Knicks, Reggie, Marv, the Czar Mike Fratello, Barkley and the Dean Ahmad Rashad. It brings you back to the golden era of basketball when superstars played the game right. Or it just brings you back to the day Jordan was hitting game-winners and the Bulls were winning championship after championship.


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