The Syndicate Scores with Monday Night Football

(Sorry for the lame PR-ish sounding title. I just couldn’t resist.)

The 3D work and cinematography in The Syndicate‘s new opener for ESPN’s Monday Night Football is simply insane. Live action 35mm footage of downtown LA is beautifully blended with a hyper-real CG city to create a believable sense of space. The whole spot is brimming with detail. This is definitely a project worthy of repeat viewing after repeat viewing after repeat viewing.


And I actually like the concept, too. It reminds me of those moments in Broadway musicals when one guy bursts into song, and then inexplicably the guy sweeping the street next to him joins in. They are followed shortly by the florist, a businessman and a whole crew of construction workers, all perfectly choreographed.

Well, the Monday Night Football opener isn’t nearly asâ€â€?how should I say it?â€â€?flamboyant, but it does have that sense of spontaneous drama. It’s clever, entertaining, and in The Syndicate’s hands, visually bad ass.

Here’s the press release, which goes into a fair amount of detail about the making of the spot.

Clarification: The spot was directed by Matt Checkowski and Kurt Mattila. The Syndicate supervised shots and handled the vfx.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



i disagree, this is actually flamboyant to the extreme.


that looks like a huge budget…do tv stations budget so high for show package? normally they dont right?


I think ESPN was super stoked about getting the Monday Night Football deal, so they may have spent more than normal. I don’t know. Just conjecture.


this spells major bucks for ESPN which isn’t simply a TV-Station. They are a billion dollar corporation.

A big-budget graphics package is pretty much lose change to them…



geez, the espn budgets are really peanuts from where im from..

enuff for 1800 big macs..


This is why I hate ‘motion graphics’ but then again this isn’t motion graphics.

There used to be somre really goo stuff on this website!!!


I meant really good stuff


its still damn good, this website.

perhaps justin shd remove the feedback page..too many unnecessary criticisms

leave the criticisms at the pubs


so over the top. Joe suits transforming into uber football players in an urban setting – lame. They should have used actual players rotoscoped or full frame and based it in the Heartland or South where the majority of the footbal fanatics are based. ESPN is beginning to lose focus. BTW – Love the feedback page and absolutely love the site!

Glenn Riverside

Dude, so many haters here. This spot was awesome.

My one critique is that the energy of the visuals greatly surpassed that of the music. Aside from that, they really captured the excitement of a football game in a special way.

Glenn Riverside

Actually on second watch, the music was spot on, but at the end it was a little bit of a let down to hear the same tired old theme.


although i would term this more VFX, it’s still insane. I would say the budget came from GMC, you see their shitty logo about 17 times during the sequence.

But, it is pretty well done. Looks like some day after tomorrow work.


Upon second view. I only counted 10 times I saw the GMC logo.

The other thing i noticed the second time around, is that EVERY vehicle is a GM vehicle. God damn I hate american vehicles and their manufacturers.

sorry. this is not a diss on motionographer, i love motionographer, i just hate GM.


it is pretty whack that gmc is shoved in our face consistently throghout the spot. i at least hope they mention it was sponsored by gmc in the end frame when the open airs on broadcast… and not try to not-so-subtly just embed gmc in the open.


Wow, that was totally nuts. Would have loved to see that businessman mow down some hapless bystander after he transforms into a football player though.


More crass americana with no style.


“More crass americana with no style.”

It’s for monday night football. I’d say they got it just about right.


daniel, well said! any love from nyc yet?



its cool how people a lot of american mographers praise other countries styles but not once have i read, oh thats a cool american style.. nah, only if something bad is done here is it commented on in terms of the region it came from.

im as liberal as the next guy but what the fuck people.

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