If you’re a college football fan, we probably don’t need to tell you who Imagine Dragons are. As The Ringer once noted, their inoffensive brand of motivational rock has become de rigueur in corporate America, who love to wrap their programming in popular and easily digestible musical interludes. That’s especially true in the world of sports where songs like “Radioactive,” “Warriors,” “Believer,” and “Natural” seemed created in a lab to become soundtracks for highlight reels and ad bumpers.
So much so that, as you’re probably well aware, “Natural” was chosen as ESPN’s “anthem” for the 2018 college football season across their programming.
As Emeka Ofodile, ESPN vice president of sports marketing, said at the time, “‘Natural’ embodies the energy, spirit, and drama of each team’s journey to the College Football Playoff, and that is why it was chosen as this year’s anthem.” And hey, if you’re going to name a song the official anthem for the journey to the College Football Playoff, you might as well see this thing through and play some more god damn Imagine Dragons before it’s all over.
Hence, the band will highlight ESPN’s halftime show during the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 7.
While the game itself will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Imagine Dragons will perform from Treasure Island, an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay a little over an hour away. According to ESPN’s release the performance “will be integrated into halftime of ESPN’s telecast of the College Football Playoff National Championship.” Fans will also be able to attend the show for free, though passes will be required. Details are TBD.
Imagine Dragons might not be an exciting choice but it’s the kind of dependable, inoffensive option that probably feels good internally considering the pushback the network received last year when Kendrick Lamar performed during halftime of the championship game. You may remember some folks being very mad online, including Phil Mushnick, who chided the network for embracing the “racial slur rapper” with an argument full of false equivalencies. Of course, Lamar’s halftime show was also memorable and electric, which probably isn’t in the cards this time around. Life is full of trade-offs.