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“A perfect fit”: How ESPN chose a Lenny Kravitz rocker for its NFL Draft promos

"Are You Gonna Go My Way" captures sentiment of prospects

ESPN has worked with Lenny Kravitz on several occasions; licensing his song “Are You Gonna Go My Way” for the NFL Draft is the latest instance. (Photo by Mathieu Bitton)

The 2018 NFL Draft continues today on ESPN and ABC (simulcast beginning at noon ET) with concluding Rounds 4-7. For dozens of potential draftees still waiting for their names to be called by NFL teams, they are hoping fate goes their way and they are selected.

When planning the promotional spots showcasing the top prospects in this NFL Draft, ESPN Music and ESPN NFL production teams searched for a song that they felt captured all of the prospects’ wishes.

The answer: Lenny Kravitz’ rocker “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” the title track of his double-platinum-selling 1993 album.

The pulsating track has been heard throughout ESPN’s NFL Draft-related promotions – including the spots featuring top prospects photographed by the 3-ton robotic camera KIRA – and programming.

“We have worked with Lenny numerous times, licensing his songs,” said Kevin Wilson, ESPN’s Music Director. “We all shared song ideas and gravitated to ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way.’

“We wanted to make sure the song was easily recognizable but also spoke to the theme of the show: “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” is a fitting lyric with the players wondering who will be drafting them.”

“Creatively its lyrics were a perfect fit,” ESPN Post Production content producer Jeremy Anderson said, “but on top of that it helped build drama. We’re always trying to make that happen at the beginning of a show.”

Said ESPN Creative Services’ Creative Director Lucas Nickerson: “Jeremy and I have always wanted to use this song, and the energy of the original track juxtaposed perfectly with the re-imagined violin prologue.”

The production crew even submitted a “pitch board” to Kravitz incorporating a picture of the musician in the middle of a mosaic of the top draft prospects as photographed by KIRA. In the right margin of the graphic are some of the lyrics to the song.

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