ESPN. “The Worldwide Leader.” The network that has seismically shifted the landscape of college athletics with multimillion dollar television deals with conferences such as the SEC and ACC. The men in suits who also pay billions (with a “b”) of dollars for rights to the NFL’s Monday Night Football.
Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and the rest of the MNF crew has stepped up their game categorically this year. A fleet of new state-of-the-art trucks and a new 90-second open brought to life by Peter Berg. Then there are five men who get overlooked. I’m referring to those men who bring viewers to the host city for that particular night. Supervised by MNF director Chip Dean, scenic producers Allen Powers, Joel McKee, Barry Butcher and assistant Scott Vantassell spend a few extra days in the host city before Monday night’s telecast capturing images that are specific and iconic to the city that is on the big stage that week.
“We look for the most compelling imagery or the most unique elements specific to each city,” says Powers in this interview with ESPN Front Row. “We also consider timely events and elements that will help viewers travel with us and connect with each city.”
Many people may not have ever noticed or simply thought much about these scenic shots that Dean will use as bumps coming back from commercial or at other moments during the show.
Dean and the other gentlemen get 18 weeks to take viewers around the country to some of Lady Liberty’s favorite places. Such a simple feature that helps make Monday Night Football the icon it is.