The 25 greatest sports TV theme songs, ranked – For The Win
Although this isn’t a bracket, it’s a list you can argue about for a while. It’s various theme songs from network coverage of live events and sports-centric television shows. Here’s the countdown of the best tunes:
25. NFL on NBC (1990s)
It’s just a variation on the notes for “N-B-C” and a hokey string arrangement.
24. NBA on TNT
We all love watching Chuck, Shaq and Co. on TNT, the theme song never feels like it completely fits and isn’t as hum-able or memorable as others on this list.
23. MLB on Fox
Sounds a whole lot like the NFL on Fox theme, but that level of intensity just makes for a weird fit with the sport.
22. College football on CBS
21. NBA on ESPN
Kind of bland, to be honest.
20. Waiting All Day for Sunday Night
You can’t listen to Joan Jett the same ever again.
19. NHL on NBC
The bells are a pretty good touch, but that’s about it.
18. U.S. Open
My golf-loving colleague Luke Kerr-Dineen tells me fans love it. It sounds more like election-night coverage music, but that’s not the worst thing.
17. NFL on CBS
Not the most up-to-date sounding theme song, but it gets your heart pumping before a slate of NFL games.
16. Sunday Night Football
It brings the drama of a film score with music that sounds like it came out of NFL Films. Good, but there are better out there.
15. NHL on ESPN
Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time in my youth watching hockey on ESPN, but this theme song always gives me chills.
14. Hard Knocks
Totally and utterly underrated.
13. The Masters
As far as songs go, it’s a little on the treacly side. But it’s the Masters, and like everything about the Masters, it’s sometimes okay to be treacly.
12. MLB on ESPN
I’m honestly not sure what does it for me about this theme song, but it gets in your head.
11. Champions League
Gorgeous, isn’t it?
10. ESPN College Gameday
Sure, it’s corny. Very, very corny. But you have to admit it gets you fired up on a Saturday morning.
9. HBO’s Boxing 24/7
BRB, putting this on my gym playlist.
8. Are You Ready?
This has nothing to do with Hank Williams Jr.’s politics and the comments that led to the song being pulled from Monday Night Football broadcasts. As far as the song itself, it’s an exciting one.
7. Monday Night Football
Four words: Dun-dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnnn!
6. Hockey Night in Canada (original)
Simply a classic.
5. College Basketball on CBS
Recency bias is in play here, but we all live to hear this in March.
4. NFL on Fox
Couple this with Joe Buck’s voice saying hello from the broadcast booth and it’s nearly perfect.
3. Olympics theme song
If you can never get tired of a theme song, it deserves to be this high.
2. SportsCenter (1990s)
There was no better moment in the 1990s than getting to the television just at the top of the hour to hear “Dun-nah-NAH! Dun-nah-NAH!” followed by anchors introducing all the sports highlights you missed from the night before.
1. NBA on NBC
This is the GOAT, everyone. A few reasons why:
1. It’s probably the best composition on this list.
2. It was written by John Tesh.
3. It’s called Roundball Rock.
4. This performance by Tesh is the greatest, complete with him playing his old answering machine with a tape that had the original idea for the theme on it. Also, he dribbles a fake basketball.
5. It worked perfectly with NBC’s always-great game introductions