By Barry Janoff
September 6, 2012: ESPN, the self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in sports," is getting its ya-ya's out with the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world, the Rolling Stones, to support the legendary group's 50th anniversary greatest hits release, GRRR!
ESPN said it has licensed 16 Rolling Stones classics to use during its Monday Night Football pre-game show, on bumpers and teases within the Monday Night Football game and in post-Monday Night Football game highlight segments on SportsCenter.
The alliance, being presented under a "Legend to Legend" umbrella, includes an animated intro that mashes up elements of the SportsCenter introduction and an updated version of the classic Rolling Stones' red tongue and lips image.
The image was created by artist John Pasche to appear on the cover of 1971's Sticky Fingers LP. It was modernized this year by artist Shepard Fairey in conjunction with the band's 50th anniversary tour and activations.
The Rolling Stones elements will debut Sept. 10 on Monday Night Countdown prior to the 43rd season of Monday Night Football. The first night is a double-header, beginning with the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens followed by San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders. Monday Night Football airs throughout ESPN’s 16-week NFL schedule, which concludes on Dec. 22.
ESPN said that four different songs will be selected per month and will be used for four weeks at a time on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pre-game show. They span the 1972 release of Exile on Main St. through the 2005 release, A Bigger Bang. Songs will include “It’s Only Rock ’n' Roll”, “Hot Stuff” and “One Hit (To the Body)."
The Rolling Stones are not new to American sports, having performed at the Super Bowl XL halftime show in Detroit in 2006. That game aired on ABC, which is a sibling to ESPN in the Disney Co.
GRRR! is scheduled for release in North America on Nov. 13. The group is scheduled to play four concerts this year before embarking on a longer tour in 2013: two in the O2 Arena in London (Nov. 26-27) and two in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Dec. 6-7).
“We're very proud that the Rolling Stones chose ESPN’s Monday Night Football to play a major role in their 50th Anniversary celebration," Bob Toms, ESPN vp-production enhancements and the man who oversees the ESPN music department, said in a statement. "Sports and music fans alike will enjoy the combination of these two pop culture legends – the most successful prime time sports series in the history of television and the world's greatest rock and roll band to supply music for our season-long soundtrack."