Sweet Sixteen: The College Football Championship Megacast Strikes Back

The college football season wraps up tonight with the national championship game, which pits #1 Clemson against #2 Alabama. When the game kicks off at 8:30 (Eastern) this evening, ESPN will offer sixteen different ways to follow the action live. Let’s count them:

  1. ESPN/WatchESPN: The traditional television broadcast will be on the Worldwide Leader’s flagship television channel both through TV and online;
  2. ESPN Deportes: Spanish-language traditional television broadcast.
  3. ESPN Radio: The traditional radio broadcast will be on your local ESPN Radio affiliate, as well as through WatchESPN and the ESPN mobile app;
  4. WatchESPN: Clemson’s radio broadcast, with isolated camera shots of Dabo Swinney and Tigers players;
  5. WatchESPN: Alabama’s radio broadcast, with isolated camera shots of Nick Saban and Crimson Tide players;
  6. ESPN2: Film Room, featuring live game analysis from Florida head coach Jim McElwain, UNC head coach Larry Fedora, South Florida head coach Willie Taggart, Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi, and newly hired South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, joined by ESPN analysts. This simulcast has been the most well-received alternative broadcast during ESPN’s two previous college football championship Megacasts.
  7. ESPNU: New this year is what ESPN is calling the “Homer Telecast,” overtly biased coverage from Clemson alum (and the school’s all-time leader in passing yards) Tajh Boyd and Alabama alum (and three-time national champion) Barrett Jones, mediated by ESPN/SEC Network’s Joe Tessitore. According to ESPN, other “partisan” guests are expected to join the action, and the broadcast will come from field level, rather than a traditional broadcast booth.
  8. ESPNEWS: Have a few empty spots on your couch?¬†ESPN Voices promises to be a casual, “living room-type” conversation between an assorted bunch of ESPNers, including¬†Michelle Beadle, Jay Bilas, Marcellus Wiley, and Teddy Atlas (sure!).
  9. SEC Network: The Finebaum Film Room, which debuted at last year’s national semifinal game between Alabama and Ohio State, and made a return appearance at this year’s New Year’s Eve semifinal game between Alabama and Michigan State, will make its first appearance in conjunction with a college football championship game tonight. If you’ve never heard or seen the Paul Finebaum Show, this should serve as a good introduction to the program’s host, as well as its many colorful callers, who will be able to phone in during the game.
  10. ESPN Classic: Sounds of the game. Had enough with all the jibber jabber and want to enjoy the game in relative peace? This is the channel for you, featuring nothing but the sounds of the fully enclosed University of Phoenix Stadium. Hear the public address announcer, as well as the full pregame and halftime entertainment programs. Also available on WatchESPN.
  11. ESPN Goal Line: For the true football junkies, this is the “Command Center” feed, with enhanced split-screen action. You’ll see live game action next to replays of every play, isolated feeds of both head coaches, drive charts, and statistics. Over this will play the audio feed from the ESPN Radio broadcast.
  12. WatchESPN: Replay Booth – What purports to be “an authentic recreation of the replay booth experience,” offering viewers the experience of those officials tasked with reviewing every single play and signaling when further review is required. Hosted by replay officials from the ACC and SEC, as well as an ESPN rules expert.
  13. WatchESPN: Data Center – “Significant on-screen graphic content ranging from analytics, real time drive charts, win probability updates, curated social media reaction and more.” Guess you’re just going to have to dial this one in to find out what that means. Hope it works better than the Comcast/Xfinity sports app sidebar. Unclear how it differs from the “Command Center” feed on ESPN Goal Line.
  14. WatchESPN: Student Section – Cameras focused on the student fan sections, bands, cheerleaders, mascots, and, if we’re lucky, a Bojangles outside Spartanburg.
  15. WatchESPN: Pylon Cam – Want the simultaneously best and worst seats in the house? This feed promises to rotate between the twenty-four available end-zone pylon cameras, apparently showing twelve at any one time.
  16. WatchESPN: Spider Cam – Not advisable if you’re extremely susceptible to motion sickness. Fly above the field the entire game with this view. Maybe the spider camera will get nailed by a punted football!

Say what you will about ESPN, and I have, but the Megacast is fun and the sort of thing more of which the network ought to do. Now we just need Bristol to invent a Buffalo-sauce-resistant television remote control. Enjoy the game!

(Header image via Wikimedia Commons)


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Alec is a founding contributor at ALDLAND and a writer at Banished to the Pen and TechGraphs. He interfaces with sports twitter @ALDLANDia.


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