René Perez is having a moment…
The 37-year-old Puerto Rican singer and Calle 13 member, better known by his stage “Residente,” has recorded the track “Respira El Momento,” ESPN Deportes’ anthem for the 2015 Pan American Games.
The sports network premiered a promo video on Monday featuring Perez singing in New York’s Electric Lady studio, intercut with scenes of athletes training.
“Respira el Momento” is a track from the Grammy-winning 2014 album Multi_Viral, but it seems tailor-made for the international sporting event.
“It’s a song about life and about seizing the moment and the momentum to achieve something,” Pérez tells Billboard. “It seemed like the perfect song for the games.”
ESPN will broadcast over 270 hours of the Pan American Games in Spanish and English. Coverage will include the opening ceremonies, which have not been show on English-language television since the 1970s. ESPN has exclusive U.S. rights to the games.
Santa Brito, director of consumer marketing for ESPN Deportes, says that coverage of the 2015 Pan Am Games is a priority. The network is increasing its broadcast hours of the event on its Spanish and English-language stations after its coverage of the 2011 Games in Guadalajara received notably high ratings. The video promos featuring the music, the athletes, and Pérez himself, will be used in- and off-channel, across Pan Am programming and multiple platforms.
The Pan American Games have historically been crucial for athletes in Latin America, and a must-see event for audiences there, and by extension for U.S. Hispanics. The games were first held in Buenos Aires in 1951.
In preparation for the promo campaign, called “Yo Digo Presente,” ESPN Deportes crews traveled through the U.S. and Latin America interviewing athletes.
“There was a common theme,” Brito says. “In their training, the athletes were visualizing themselves in the Pan American games. They were breathing the moment.”
A lifelong baseball fan, Pérez grew up playing the game in a field across the street from his house in Puerto Rico. Last year, he drafted the great Willie Mays to appear in the clip for “Adentro,” another song from Multi_Viral.
“I thought I was going to be playing in the major leagues,” says the rapper, singer and songwriter, who currently lives in Brooklyn. “But in the end I had to decide between baseball and art. And I chose art.”