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ESPN Taps Drake To Bring the Flow To Select Monday Night Football Games

Drake performing on "The Come Up Show" during the Summer Sixteen Tour in 2016.
Drake performing on “The Come Up Show” during the Summer Sixteen Tour in 2016. Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s been quite the beginning of September for superstar musician Drake. After the Sept. 3 release of his sixth album, Certified Lover Boy, ESPN announced that it will work alongside Billboard’s Artist of the Decade throughout the entire NFL season to curate music for select Monday Night Football games. 

Before it was even released, NBA stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant were dropping tweets and Instagram Stories in anticipation of the album. While Drake has been known more for his NBA fandom (as a Toronto Raptors ambassador), he’s now spreading the sports love to a new league. Now that Certified Lover Boy is already a massive hit, it’s no surprise the NFL is seeking to capitalize on that popularity. 

“Now we are here … the kickoff of the football season. And who better to curate music for Monday Night Football than Drake who sits firmly at the intersection of music and sports,” ESPN vice president of sport marketing Emeka Ofodile said in a press release. 

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For 37 years, no artist had ever bested Michael Jackson’s Billboard Hot 100 record of seven top 10 hits stacked up from 1982’s “Thriller.” And for 57 years, no music artist ever touched The Beatles’ 1964 Hot 100 apex as the one and only act to occupy all top five charting songs in one week — until now.  

As of Sept. 18’s charts, Drake knocked out the King of Pop, inscribing his mark on the music history books when Certified Lover Boy launched with nine of Billboard’s top 10 tracks, breaking Jackson’s record and tying the Fab Four’s with hits on each of the Billboard Hot 100’s top five positions. (Coincidentally, Drake samples The Beatles’ Michelle on the album’s opening track, Champagne Poetry.) According to MRC Data music sales figures, the album moved 613,000 albums this week, easily 2021’s best first week.

In an announcement two weeks ago, ESPN said that the sports station plans to collaborate with Drake to choose music that encapsulates “both the energy and mood of select Monday Night Games.” The soundtrack will be a combination of Drake classics, recent releases, and music from other artists. Songs will run during Monday Night Football promotional spots, live telecasts, and pregame shows for ten games this season, beginning this week.

“The music curator role has been a big hit with our fans with Diplo and DJ Khaled in previous years and this season, we will be living inside the moment with Drake,” Ofodile said. 

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Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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