The 2015 season of ESPN’s Monday Night Football opened to a new graphics package designed by Big Block and ESPN Creative. Football fans were introduced to a historical show open created by ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports coverage, plus new graphics, animation, Team History bumps specific to each game and a redesigned MNF shield logo from the award-winning production and design studio Big Block.

The heightened energy and adrenalized pace of the new graphics are intended to build excitement and anticipation for MNF viewers, bringing the in-arena experience to an audience that increasingly lives through screens, yet has a high level of expectation from their IRL experiences with spectacular rock concerts and extravagantly staged shows.

For the MNF graphics package, Big Block and ESPN Creative returned to the collaborative process that produced the epic 18-month rebrand of ESPN’s entire lineup of NFL shows last year. Big Block Creative Directors Curtis Doss and Shaun Collings, ESPN Creative senior director of motion graphics Spike Szykowny and art director Lucas Nickerson extended the visual language of the rebrand to the design of the MNF franchise, keeping the look consistent, cohesive and seamlessly integrated with ESPN’s gameplay graphics.

While the ESPN rebrand informs every element of the graphics, the creative team drove an evolutionary approach for MNF’s own distinct identity. Every meticulously crafted element (more than 100, complete with tool kits) has a reason to be there and ties back to the DNA of the ESPN identity, down to the shifting planes of action which mimic the monumentally stacked video screens that are impressively arrayed in ESPN’s 9,000 square foot NFL studio. Projection mapping onto the sleek LED-lit panels create a double exposure effect that transcends space and makes players appear larger than life.

The package features the intense luminosity of arena concert lighting displays and saturated tones of black, red, blue and white, echoing the colors of the reimagined MNF logo, now with a more modern and more abstract appearance. It was important to both ESPN and Big Block to retain the equity of the well-known logo, but also infuse it with a new aesthetic to elevate the brand.

The 2015 season of Monday Night Football reveals other revolutionary innovations from ESPN, including a full 16:9 frame for its NFL insert graphics, which allowed Big Block greater latitude to design more freely. ESPN’s intuitive new score bug disappears during certain plays, opening up the screen during gameplay. A new goal-line camera provides a unique viewpoint of the game and has been described by the media as “the coolest innovation in football in years.”

The combined ESPN and Big Block creative teams met twice a week to challenge and collaborate with each other. Taking cues from Jay Rothman, ESPN Monday Night Football producer as well as ESPN’s Vice President of Production, and Chip Dean, ESPN Monday Night Football director, who are experts in staging with years of live broadcast experience, the group strove to push all parameters to recreate the drama and production values of an supercharged stage show. Production on the MNF graphics package began on March 1 and delivered on August 1, transforming traditional broadcast formats for new digital screens and realizing ESPN’s desire to set a precedent for all sports network branding with a highly sophisticated, premium channel identity.

Kenny Solomon, managing director of Big Block, said, “Thank you to our friends at ESPN for entrusting us with the Monday Night Football brand. And kudos to Curtis, our entire Big Block design team and our ESPN creative partners Spike, Lucas and Jay. They really nailed it!”

Big Block has expanded and diversified exponentially since its inception in 2011 and now creates, produces and distributes media and content for commercials, interactive, television, feature films and Broadway theater, with several digital entertainment ventures in development. The company is set to move into a newly purchased 11,400 square-foot studio in elevon at Campus El Segundo, an innovative environment for media, entertainment and tech firms designed by Ehrlich Architects. The new, larger studio, which Big Block will customize to their specifications, will allow expanded content production, including 12 more original feature films. Also sharing the on-site restaurants, al fresco gardens, fire pits and walking paths at elevon will be the Los Angeles Lakers and their new 5-acre training facility. 

Based in Santa Monica and New York, Big Block is the production and design studio division of Big Block Media Holdings. Big Block specializes in digital content, VFX, design, DI (digital intermediate) and finishing for commercials, broadcast, interactive, feature films, television, gaming, mobile and enterprise platforms. From concept and design to live action direction, advanced filming techniques and visual effects, Big Block represents the ultimate in integrated end-to-end services for multimedia campaigns and branded content.

A key component of Big Block’s culture is its Emmy® Award-nominated design group, whose creative leadership infuses design sensibility and brand strategy throughout the totality of the studio’s productions from inception through live action and production. 

In New York, Big Block’s production studio extends the company’s mandate with an emphasis on live action and branded content, as well as an entertainment group that focuses on the development and production of live theater, feature films and television.

Big Block was launched by business developer Scott Benson and executive producer Kenny Solomon, whose collective experience with the production of branded content makes them uniquely suited to meet the challenges of creative communication. Big Block is majority co-owned by Jamie Bendell, an executive producer of the company’s Off Broadway run of “Heathers: The Musical” and other live theater productions, making Big Block a Certified Woman-Owned Business.

Big Block is housed in the Art Deco Ilona Building on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica and at 110 E. 25th St. in New York.

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