NFL and ESPN to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on Monday Night Football Events Planned for Eagles-Cowboys Game September 15 in Dallas

(August 19, 2008 – The National Football League and ESPN will kick off Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) with a special celebration surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Monday Night Football game on Monday, September 15 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes). The game is the signature event for the NFL’s “Fútbol Americano” initiative celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and a signature event within ESPN’s month-long campaign and programming efforts on ESPN Deportes recognizing the accomplishments of Hispanics.

The MNF game telecast on ESPN will feature special graphic integrations, vignettes and audio from the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language telecast featuring Emmy-nominated play-by-play commentator Álvaro Martín and former NFL kicker Raúl Allegre. The telecast will also kick off with a customized version of the Hank Williams Jr. open, featuring some lyrics in Spanish. The Monday Night Countdown pre-game (7 p.m.) will also highlight events with special features and coverage of the national anthem, which will be performed by a Latino artist at Texas Stadium that evening.

ESPN Deportes, the official Spanish-language television home for all MNF games, will send its entire broadcast team – Martín, Allegre and sideline reporter John Sutcliffe – to Dallas for the match-up between the Águilas and Vaqueros (the teams’ Spanish names, which will appear on Texas Stadium scoreboards during periods of the game). ESPN Deportes will cover the anthem ceremony during the NFL Esta Noche pre-game show, as well as the halftime entertainment performance by popular Latin pop duo Prima J, featuring cousins Jessica and Janelle Martinez.

“We’re excited to partner with ESPN to shine a national spotlight on Hispanic Heritage Month,” says Mark Waller, NFL senior vice president, marketing and sales. “The Monday Night telecast will kick off festivities across the country to honor the NFL’s Hispanic players and fans.”

“The MNF game telecasts on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, as well as surrounding coverage and promotional support across multiple ESPN platforms, will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the passion that Hispanics have long had for the NFL,” says John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, program acquisitions & strategy.

The NFL, ESPN and the Cowboys will host a MNF Chalk Talk Luncheon the day of the game for 150 invited guests at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Dallas. Alumni players from both the Eagles and Cowboys will participate in the event, which will emphasize the Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Martín and Allegre will also be part of the panel of NFL experts, and a local Hispanic non-profit organization will be among the groups recognized for its work in the Dallas community.

In anticipation of the Eagles-Cowboys game, “Fútbol Americano” messaging will be integrated into ESPN’s MNF promotion across television, radio, online and print. (ESPN promotional support will continue the following week in anticipation of Hispanic Heritage Celebration events planned in San Diego around the Jets-Chargers MNF game.) The NFL will air new spots from its “We are fans!” television campaign in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. Also, a print ad will run in USA Today Sports as a complement to the TV campaign, driving tune-in to the MNF Hispanic Heritage Month game.

Hispanic Heritage Month activities in Dallas will begin Saturday, September 7, when Texas Stadium and the Cowboys host the 30th annual Fiestas Patrias, the largest free outdoor Hispanic Music Festival in Texas. ¡En Vivo!, the ESPN Deportes interactive traveling stadium, will be part of the celebration. Local community outreach events continue September 13, with an NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival, also at Texas Stadium. The festival will include NFL Flag clinics, as well as an NFL Flag exhibition game between Los Diablitos from Mexico City and a local Dallas NFL Flag team. Los Diablitos are the national champions of NFL Tochito, the NFL Flag football program in Mexico. They will be honored at Texas Stadium on field at halftime at the Monday Night Football game.

The National Football League is committed to serving football fans of all cultures and recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month as a special time and opportunity to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic players, coaches, front-office personnel and fans.

ESPN’s month-long Hispanic Heritage Month celebration will kick off September 1 with an integrated campaign across various ESPN entities, including television, radio, print and online. Titled “Hispanics in and off the Field,” the campaign celebrates the many contributions Hispanics have made in the world of sports. ESPN’s Hispanic Heritage Month schedule will feature two new programs and daily 30-second vignettes honoring Hispanic athletes. Themed programming will include J.C. Chávez, a film about the feats of Julio César Chávez, undisputedly one of the best Hispanic boxers of all time. Directed by Diego Luna of breakout hit Y Tu Mamá También (2001), the film examines Mexico’s adoration of the iconic six-time world title champion and will make its television premiere Saturday, September 27 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Classic. In addition, dominoes, considered one of the most popular pastimes among Hispanics, will also take center stage during Hispanic Heritage Month with the premiere of the VI World Domino Championship September 23-25 at 8 p.m.