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Hit music maker DJ Khaled stars in MNF open for Colts-Saints tonight; an ESPN producer provides some behind-the-scenes details

"He worked with our script on site to put it in his own words and give it an authenticity that only he could achieve."

“DJ Khaled was excited to be a part of this project and he brought all of his passion, experience and personality to it,” said ESPN senior associate producer Brian Arnold. (Ivan Berrios)

ESPN’s Creative Content Unit (CCU) produces close to 20 tease opens a year to kick off Monday Night Football and other NFL game telecasts. Each tease is unique and they often feature sports and entertainment celebrities.

Tonight, ESPN tabbed one of the biggest names in music, DJ Khaled, to star in the Indianapolis Colts versus New Orleans Saints MNF open (8 p.m. ET).

DJ Khaled was the perfect choice to headline this game. The New Orleans-born, Miami mogul highlights the 10th anniversary of Super Bowl XLIV – when the Saints defeated the Colts in Miami – which will be a theme tonight in New Orleans as the Saints hope to make a return to South Florida for Super Bowl LIV in February. The DJ Khaled song “Just Us” with SZA also will be featured.

“DJ Khaled was excited to be a part of this project and he brought all of his passion, experience and personality to it,” said senior associate producer Brian Arnold, who helps lead the CCU and was part of the shoot last week at DJ Khaled’s home in South Florida.

Arnold added: “He worked with our script on site to put it in his own words and give it an authenticity that only he could achieve.”

A collaboration across ESPN’s CCU, production and music teams, this season’s MNF tease opens have featured Hall of Fame athletes such as Joe Namath, Julio Cesar Chavez and Gary Payton, renowned chef Emeril Lagasse, TV personality Ryan Seacrest, and more. They have also featured music from artists ranging from The Rolling Stones to Nas and even transported fans to a Galaxy Far, Far Away last week with a Star Wars Rise of Skywalker theme.

“These opens are really a blank canvas for our production team to showcase its creativity,” said Arnold. “Our goal is to create a cohesive and exciting element for the broadcast that gets fans hyped for the matchup.”

Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. for another one.

Khaled was raised in New Orleans but lives in South Florida. (Ivan Berrios)
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