“THE MAYNE EVENT” ON SUNDAY NFL COUNTDOWN, KENNY MAYNE’S WIDER WORLD OF SPORTS ON ESPN.com
In his work as an anchor and reporter for ESPN since 1994, Kenny Mayne has become well known for his offbeat style, dry humor, and unique sayings (“thanks for having electricity”) and home run calls (“I am amused by the simplicity of this game!”). Although he stands out in the studio – his most prominent roles have been on SportsCenter, ESPN2’s motorsports show, RPM 2Night and hosting both seasons of the sports trivia game show 2-Minute Drill – it truly shines in features, often humorous and currently his primary vehicle as a commentator at ESPN. In his “The Mayne Event” segments on Sunday NFL Countdown – ranging from the fourth grader who wore a Brett Favre jersey for 600 days to the “real reason” quarterbacks lick their fingers to making nachos with Martha Stewart for the Super Bowl XL pre-game show – his creativity and deadpan delivery distinguish his work.
From 2008 – 2011, he produced and starred in an original scripted series on ESPN.com titled Mayne Street. Mayne played himself in a fictionalized version of life at the center of sports television. In 2011, he shifted gears and debuted Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports on ESPN.com. Inspired by the iconic Wide World of Sports on ABC in days gone by, it takes a look at unusual sports from exotic and distant locales around the world.
For many years until 2011, Mayne also hosted ESPN’s horse racing coverage, a life-long passion, for which he was honored in 2006 with the Old Hilltop Award for excellence in covering thoroughbred racing from the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
Mayne joined ESPN2 in May 1994 as a SportSmash anchor, providing five-minute score and news reports every half-hour, and as a feature reporter for SportsNight. Beginning in September 1995, he served as the original host of ESPN2’s weekend auto racing news and highlights programs, Sunday morning’s RPM 2Day and RPM 2Night on Saturday and Sunday. He also occasionally anchored SportsCenter until assuming that role fulltime in August 1997.
Prior to joining ESPN, Mayne had served as a freelance reporter and field producer for the network from 1990-1994. “During that time,” Mayne says, “I only pursued one full-time television job. ESPN. I had the ESPN 800-number and called all the time with story ideas. I guess they finally decided it was less expensive to hire me than to keep paying for my phone calls.”
Television, however, wasn’t always his primary form of employment. He had worked at local stations from 1982-1990, but as recently as 1994, Mayne worked in sales for MCI. Before that his career even included a stint assembling garbage cans. “I had worked as a garbageman inSeattleduring college,” Mayne recalls, “and when I left local television in 1990, I called my old boss but the industry had passed me by. They had switched to one-person trucks, so I took a position assembling the garbage cans.”
Mayne began his television career at KLVX-TV (a PBS affiliate) in Las Vegas, Nev., as a reporter in 1982. He worked for KSTW-TV in the Tacoma/Seattle market from 1982-89, serving as a production assistant (1982-83), news writer (1983-86) and weekend sports anchor and weekday news reporter (1986-89). As an anchor, Mayne was known for his offbeat style which included his “Dog Days of Summer Score Dog” segment, in which he used his dog to help give baseball scores.
A native of Kent, Wa., Mayne was born September 1, 1959. He attended Wenatchee Valley Community College (Wenatchee, Wa.), where he was an honorable mention junior college All-American quarterback in 1978. He was graduated from Universityof Nevada-Las Vegasin 1982 with a bachelor of arts degree in broadcasting. While at UNLV, Mayne played football for two years and later signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks (1982). In 2006, he competed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.