ESPN announced that British singer, musician, songwriter and actor Yungblud will provide the musical backdrop for the 2022-23 college football season. The new single from the artist – ‘The Emperor’ – will serve as the anthem for ESPN’s college football coverage, which kicks off on August 27, ahead of Yungblud’s forthcoming self-titled album release on September 2 (Locomotion/Geffen Records).
This continues the collaboration between ESPN and IGA, which includes tracks that have been featured for ESPN’s coverage of the NBA postseason, previous college football seasons, and more. Previous artists to soundtrack the anthem include Imagine Dragons (Natural), Juice WRLD (Come & Go) and Thirty Seconds To Mars (Walk On Water).
The music from the labels’ biggest artists will be featured within ESPN’s college football programming, promotion and games again this season.
“In previous years we’ve selected music that matched the tone of college football. This year, with ‘The Emperor,’ it feels like a custom built song for college football from Yungblud. The chants, hype, and tone match perfectly to what we expect to feel around and inside college football this season,” said Curtis Friends, senior director of sports marketing for ESPN. “The up-tempo pace and energy of the song feels like the release of all the bottled up energy and intensity fans, players, and teams have had in anticipation for the upcoming season. It’s the perfect fit thematically for the ebbs and flows of the season that will end with one team being crowned the next Emperor of College Football.”
“It’s a massive honor to have my song ‘The Emperor’ chosen as the anthem for ESPN’s college football season. I wrote this song when I was 17; it was just an outburst of unfiltered energy that I knew would have its moment one day,” Yungblud said. “ I played it live for years, but never found the right time to release it until now. College football is such a massive part of American culture, and all I ever want to do is bring energy to people, so I can’t wait for the song to bring that energy to the fans and the players at the games all season.”
The song is featured within an ESPN-produced college football hype trailer, and Yungblud is highlighting the collaboration by developing social content to amplify the excitement as fans enter a new college football season on the network. ESPN is also revamping its flagship Spotify playlist to commemorate the college football season with a Yungblud takeover. The playlist, curated by Yungblud, will feature a mix of today’s biggest hits and sports anthems.
This season, college football fans will hear music from Yungblud, as well as other top artists from Interscope Records, Capitol Music, and Disney Music Group, including Halsey, Ciara, Quavo & Takeoff, Tyler Hubbard, DNCE, and Dreamers. ESPN’s industry-leading college football presentation will feature several marquee matchups to kick off the 2022 college football season, including defending National Champion Georgia vs. Oregon (Sept. 3: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC), Notre Dame at Ohio State (Sept. 3: 7:30 p.m., ABC) and Florida State taking on LSU (Sept. 4: 7:30 p.m., ABC) in a Labor Day Sunday showdown.