ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown

HABANA Avenue Kicks-Off Countdown For SuperBowl XLII

There’s no denying that Super Bowl XLII generated plenty of excitement this year, but earlier in the day ESPN’s “NFL Sunday Countdown” show uber-scored with both football enthusiasts and fans of the sizzling-hot guitar duo, Rodrigo y Gabriela, who performed in a series of custom bumpers thanks to production support from HABANA Avenue.

Bi-coastal HABANA Avenue and President and Founder Steven J. Levy supported the one-day shoot by ESPN director Chris Mantzaris at GMT Stages in Santa Monica. HABANA Avenue, with its broad, national reach, is no stranger to high-profile football gigs whether in LA, Las Vegas or points east. The company supported Mantzaris on the new Hank Williams, Jr. open for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” telecast, created athlete-based commercials for NFL Films for the League’s web site, and produced the international open for Super Bowl XLI.

For the “NFL Sunday Countdown” bumpers, Rodrigo y Gabriela recorded 10 new tracks, which ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut headquarters cut into 17 bumpers. The pre-game exposure capped a week of ESPN programming featuring music by the acoustic heavy metal duo, now a sports- programming-mega-household-name, who hail from Mexico via Dublin. Lending the perfect touch of excitement, flavor and flair to action-packed sports settings, tracks from their eponymous debut album were heard on the ESPN shows “Sports Center” and “Mike & Mike,” and they performed live on “First Take.” Rodrigo y Gabriela, who brand their unique style of music “fusion,” kicked off a US headlining tour February 7.

Director Mantzaris and DP Michael Pescasio shot the pair at 720p with Panasonic’s VariCam HD camera using a small Techno crane to capture their playing dynamic. The stage was layered with a translight backdrop of an Arizona desert at sunset, a rolling dirt floor with cactus, an array of acoustic guitars of different shapes and sizes on stands, and the artists downstage on chairs.

“It was a very intimate performance, very precise. It was all about capturing their fine art — the speed at which they play, their fingering — in these short moments for the bumpers,” says Levy. “Chris came out of the translight full frame and pulled back to reveal the layer of guitars and the performers in pools of golden light surrounded by a palette of rich, burnt tones. It was really beautiful.”

Bryan Venegas served as art director for the project which was line produced by Eric Senis. Jeff Smith was the artist liaison for Haskell.

About HABANA Avenue
HABANA Avenue is a full-service TV, Film, Live event and Concert-experience production company and an Original Content creator. The company has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami’s South Beach and Tampa. It maintains a boutique postproduction facility in Tampa and has postproduction partnerships with the full-service Vidiots in New York City and Mad Toy Box Post in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information visit

David Steinberg – Millimeter Digital Content Producer The Briefing Room