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Metallica’s music fuels three highlight packages on SportsCenter today

Matt Jason editing Thursday’s videos. (Photo courtesy of Matt Jason)
ESPN producer – and mega Metallica fan – Matt Jason has been busy melding the band’s music with highlights for Thursday’s “SportsCenters.”
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Here are the songs and sports that will be paired on today’s SportsCenters (Times are ET)

Noon – “Fuel,” NFL
6 p.m. – “Ride the Lightning,” College Football
11 p.m. – “Hit the Lights,” NFL

There may be “no cheering in the press box,” but there was probably some air guitar in the edit room where Matt Jason was creating three pieces to run on today’s noon, 6 and 11 p.m. ET SportsCenters.

“Metallica is my favorite band by far and has been since I was a kid,” Jason said of his 60-second spots of sports highlights and exclusive footage of the band’s 3D film release Metallica Through The Never in theatres tomorrow. “I’ve worked on video projects for Kevin [Music Director Kevin Wilson] so he knows my taste in music. He discussed the project with me, and said he had already told SC management he had the perfect candidate for this assignment!”

The assignment came as the result of a long-standing relationship between Wilson and the band, and their recent talks to clear “Enter Sandman” across all ESPN platforms for the pending retirement of the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera.

“We were talking about a couple of things, and their manager asked if we’d be interested in debuting some songs from the movie,” Wilson said. “So we targeted three songs, and worked out the best way to do it. It’s exciting — we’ve debuted songs before, but never footage. This is special for us.”

Metallica (Photo courtesy of Metallica)
Metallica (Photo by Ross Halfin)

Jason, a Bellows Falls, Vt. native who joined ESPN in May 2000, said, “Kevin is great at negotiating deals with bands, and knows the value entertainment brings in strengthening the SportsCenter brand.”

A sports/Metallica combo is nothing new for Jason, who has seen the band nine times.

“In 2004, they performed at the Fleet Center [in Boston] the very same night the Red Sox were playing across town in Game 2 of the World Series,” he said. “Metallica kept showing clips of the game during the concert and the place would always erupt. The Sox won that night with [former Red Sox pitcher, current ESPN analyst] Curt Schilling on the mound – remember the bloody sock? I passed by Fenway on the way home and the lights were still on – it was just a great night and one example of a Metallica experience.”

The videos give Jason a chance to share his experience.

“It’s a chance to create some flashy eye candy for our SportsCenter viewers who love football and appreciate Metallica,” he said. “My goal is to get people to stop what they are doing at home or at work for 60 seconds on Thursday and turn up their TV sets or computer speakers and rock out on SportsCenter.”

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