ESPN Monday Night Football Hispanic Heritage Special Open

HABANA Avenue Provides Production Support for Hispanic Heritage Week Special Open for ESPN “Monday Night Football”

As fall begins to drift south NFL fans are feverous for their football and so is Hank Williams, Jr. Williams is joined by Gloria Estefan to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Week in this 40th anniversary season of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (MNF.) The broadcast special show open was supervised by HABANA Avenue President and Foundert Steven J. Levy. Ms. Estefan joined Williams on Week 5 of the open, when the Miami Dolphins battled the New York Jets.

HABANA Avenue, which has longstanding relationships with ABC and ESPN, has provided production support for the networks’ MNF open for the the third years. Most recently, HABANA Avenue followed Williams through the California desert to a rockin’ roadhouse and captured his high-energy performance with an all-star band at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the show ESPN director Robert Toms decided to keep Williams close to home, using Nashville’s full-scale replica of the Parthenon to give some historical gravitas to a raucous MNF party. With help from Fresh Paint Visual Effects and Design (now represented by Spots & Content @ HABANA Avenue), the classical edifice was cast as the MNF Hall of Fame in which stone statues of football players come to life as Williams performs to cheering crowds. The open marked the 21st season Williams has been featured; he’s won four Emmy Awards for his work on MNF.

HABANA Avenue was charged with creative consultation, staging and lighting the extensive two-day shoot at the Parthenon, an art museum in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Radio and Internet casting calls recruited some 250 extras for an interior Parthenon party scene and another 500 for an exterior party sequence. During this shoot Williams teamed with Gloria Estefan on a rousing bilingual, Miami-themed duet.

The open concludes by reprising the custom helmet animation based on the 17 regular-season match-ups. CG helmets of the opposing teams explode out of the MNF Hall of Fame, fly into the night sky, gain altitude, escape gravity and float by astronauts doing a space walk before finally returning to Earth where they are composited, on the fly, into live footage of the week’s host stadium. There they crash together in a force field of glowing energy to reveal the NFL logo.

To take advantage of Williams’s availability, a cross-promotion for Wieden+Kennedy/ New York, New York was piggybacked onto the Parthenon shoot. The agency needed to capture greenscreen footage of the singer for an Internet banner ad for Williams’s branded barbecue sauce.

“By servicing multiple clients with different needs during the same shoot schedule we made it very efficient and cost effective,” notes Levy. “We understand the economic climate today, and we’re ahead of the curve in providing a model to deliver all the components that might be required by agencies and their brands. We were able to make Wieden+Kennedy feel very comfortable because of our experience dealing with broadcast, promos, advertising and longform production.” Spots & Content @ HABANA Avenue Executive Producer Chris Miller coordinated for HABANA Avenue, Alison Hill produced for Wieden+Kennedy and ESPN’s Brian Harmer lent support.

About HABANA Avenue
HABANA Avenue is a full-service TV, film, live event and concert-experience production company and an original content creator with offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Tampa. It maintains a boutique post-production facility in Tampa called Bungalow Post @ HABANA Avenue and has a post-production alliance with full-service and nationally-positioned Red Car which has offices in New York, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

David Steinberg, Millimeter Digital Content Producer The Briefing Room