NFL and ESPN to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month On Monday Night Football

manny-fernandez-72-miami-dolphinsSpecial Events Planned for N.Y. Jets-Miami Dolphins Game October 12; New Dolphins Limited Partner/Singer Marc Anthony to Perform National Anthem

The National Football League and ESPN will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) with a series of special events surrounding the New York Jets at Miami Dolphins Monday Night Football game on Monday, October 12 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes).

The game is the signature event of the NFL’s “Fútbol Americano” initiative celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and a major component of ESPN’s campaign and programming efforts on ESPN Deportes recognizing the accomplishments of Hispanics in the world of sports.

Plans for Hispanic Heritage Month were announced today at a press conference by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, ESPN President George Bodenheimer, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Grammy award-winning singer Marc Anthony.

Anthony, who has joined the Dolphins as a limited partner, will highlight game day activities by performing the national anthem televised by both ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The telecast will kick off with a customized version of the Hank Williams Jr. opening video, featuring Grammy award-winning singer Gloria Estefan. The duet (recorded in Nashville last month) will include lyrics in Spanish. ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown (7 p.m.) and ESPN Deportes’ NFL Esta Noche (8 p.m.) pre-game shows will highlight Hispanic Heritage Month with special features and coverage of in-stadium festivities.

The game telecast on ESPN – part of MNF’s 40th season — will feature special graphic integrations, features and audio from the ESPN Deportes telecast featuring Spanish-language Emmy-nominated play-by-play commentator Álvaro Martín and analyst and former NFL kicker Raúl Allegre. ESPN Deportes, the official Spanish-language television home for all MNF games, will feature its broadcast team – Martín, Allegre and sideline reporter John Sutcliffe – and NFL Esta Noche pre-game from Miami for the matchup between los Jets and los Delfines (the teams’ Spanish names, which will appear on the Land Shark Stadium scoreboards during periods of the game).

The MNF commentator team of Mike Tirico and analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will call the game on ESPN. Reporters Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya, and Countdown’s Stuart Scott, Matt Millen and Steve Young, will all be part of ESPN’s on-site coverage.

“We are excited to again partner with ESPN to shine a national spotlight on Hispanic Heritage Month,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The Monday Night telecast will conclude a month-long celebration by NFL teams across the country to honor our Hispanic players and fans. It’s a passionate fan base – last season, 28.5 million Hispanics tuned in to NFL games – that we are eager to recognize.”

“We are proud to collaborate with the NFL to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Monday Night Football, ESPN Deportes and other ESPN platforms,” added ESPN President George Bodenheimer. “Stephen Ross has brought a renewed energy to South Florida and we look forward to working with Grammy Award-winning performing artist Marc Anthony as part of our presentation of this great MNF rivalry game.”

The NFL, ESPN and the Dolphins will host a MNF Chalk Talk Luncheon the day of the game for 300 invited guests at Land Shark Stadium. Alumni players from both the Jets and Dolphins are expected to participate in the event, which will emphasize the Hispanic Heritage Celebration. ESPN’s Kolber and Tafoya will co-host the luncheon and will be joined by ESPN Deportes commentators. Local Hispanic non-profit organizations will also be recognized for their work in the South Florida community.

Miami Dolphins Owner and Managing General Partner Stephen M. Ross added: “We are honored to be chosen as participants of the league’s flagship game celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a national appearance on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at Land Shark Stadium against the New York Jets in October. We are also excited that Marc Anthony is taking such an active role in these wonderful festivities surrounding the game as a new limited partner for the Miami Dolphins. Marc Anthony is one of the most iconic and celebrated performers on the international music stage, which is why he has been chosen to perform at one of the most prestigious dates on the 2009 football calendar.”

In anticipation of the Jets-Dolphins game, “Fútbol Americano” messaging will be integrated into ESPN’s MNF promotion across television, radio, online and print. The NFL and Dolphins will host an NFL FLAG Regional Tournament on Saturday, October 10 in South Florida. NFL FLAG emphasizes safety, fun, teamwork, self-esteem, goal-setting and fitness, as part of NFL PLAY 60, the NFL’s campaign focused on increasing the health and wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. The tournament will host local NFL FLAG teams, many of which have a high participation level by Hispanic youth. Las Águilas, the national champions of NFL Tochito, the NFL Flag football program in Mexico, will take part in the day-long, round-robin tournament. Las Águilas will be honored at Land Shark Stadium during the Monday Night Football game.

The NFL 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.