ESPN announces details of MegaCast for Clemson-Alabama
ESPN’s unrivaled, multi-network production capabilities will be on full display for the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T between Clemson and Alabama on Monday, January 9, at 8 p.m. ET with the presentation of the fourth MegaCast. The traditional game telecast airs on ESPN with alternative productions on ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN3. ESPN Deportes has the Spanish-language telecast of the game, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio provide audio in English and Spanish.
In total, ESPN will present 14 variations to follow college football’s season finale from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
The Rematch – Clemson vs. Alabama
The third annual College Football Playoff National Championship will feature Clemson vs. Alabama, a rematch from last season’s classic national championship game. The Crimson Tide will be looking for their second consecutive national championship after defeating the Tigers 45-40 last season, a game which had 40 fourth quarter points. Clemson returns quarterback Deshaun Watson who threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns in last year’s game. Alabama starts quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is attempting to become just the second true freshman to lead his team to a national championship.
ESPN Production: More than 90 Cameras, Industry-Leading Technology; Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Samantha Ponder and Tom Rinaldi Call the Game
Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will be in the booth, the duo’s third consecutive year calling the CFP National Championship. Samantha Ponder, making her CFP National Championship debut, reports on Clemson and Tom Rinaldi reports on Alabama. Rules expert Dave Cutaia will be available and Dr. Jerry Punch provides medical advisement on a serious injury that is potentially game changing.
ESPN has more than 90 cameras inside Raymond James Stadium, including staples of ESPN’s production: SkyCam, Pylon Cameras (all eight), and a full complement of RF cameras and steadicams. Additional production highlights:
Super Slow-Motion: Nine super slow-motion cameras, including a super slow-motion camera on the SkyCam
Arial Coverage: Both the DIRECTV and Goodyear blimps have coverage from high above the stadium
Goal Posts: Cameras affixed to both goalposts
Replays: More than 35 replay machines
4K Cameras: Four different 4K cameras
Virtual Graphics: SkyCam with the ability to provide virtual graphics
ESPN has more than 1,000 staffers onsite, 65 transmission paths between Tampa and Bristol and have added 70,000 feet of cable in around the stadium.
Homers Telecast Returns with Tajh Boyd and Barrett Jones
The Homers Telecast (ESPN2) returns and features Clemson’s all-time leading passer Tajh Boyd and former Alabama center and three-time national champion Barrett Jones for the second consecutive year. The duo will serve as quasi-‘game analysts’ with a decidedly partisan view as they did last year for the national championship. Joe Tessitore handles the majority of the play-by-play and Adam Amin interviews additional personalities and assists with the game call. All four will work from field level of Raymond James Stadium, which can result in game action happening inches from them and Boyd and Jones celebrating with the teams – such as last year when Alabama’s Kenyan Drake returned a fourth quarter kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown.
Coaches Film Room Features Five Coaches; Forgoes Most Commercial Breaks
The popular Coaches Film Room (ESPNEWS) is back with a new wrinkle: Limited commercial breaks. During some breaks in the action on the other networks, ESPNEWS will stay with the Bristol, Conn., based production as the coaches provide in-depth analysis from a film room equipped with multiple camera angles, clicker technology and telestration – like last year during this Deshaun Watson TD throw.
This year’s coaches include:
Dino Babers (Syracuse)
PJ Fleck (Western Michigan)
Mark Helfrich (former Oregon head coach)
Mike MacIntrye (Colorado)
Matt Rhule (Baylor)
Brian Griese, ESPN college football analyst and national championship winning quarterback with Michigan (1997), joins the coaches to add his insight.
Additional coaches may be added
ESPN Voices, Finebaum Film Room, Sounds of the Game and Command Center among Additional MegaCast Productions
Additional MegaCast offerings include ESPN Voices (ESPNU), Finebaum Film Room (SEC Network), Sounds of the Game (ESPN Classic and ESPN3), Command Center (Goal Line and ESPN3), Home Town Radio (ESPN3), Data Center (ESPN3) and SkyCam (ESPN3)
ESPN Voices (ESPNU): ESPN personalities watch the Crimson Tide-Tigers matchup unfold in a living room-type setting. Participants include Michelle Beadle, Keyshawn Johnson, Bill Walton and Marcellus Wiley. Additional guests could be added for the Los Angeles-based production. This is the third year of ESPN Voices. Video example from last year as Alabama converted a surprise onside kick.
Finebaum Film Room (SEC Network): Paul Finebaum and SEC Network analysts Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland along with Florida head coach Jim McElwain watch the game and provide instant analysis and reaction. The show, which will be produced at a location near Raymond James Stadium, will also take live calls throughout the game. SEC Network will have on-site coverage all weekend leading up to the game, with full details here.
Sounds of the Game (ESPN Classic and ESPN3): This offering has pre-game on-field festivities, including
band performances, as well as ESPN’s entire game telecast — sans commentators. The presentation’s audio will be amplified with dozens of microphones positioned throughout the stadium in addition to the public address announcer and referee calls to simulate the in-stadium fan experience. Both school’s halftime band performances will also be featured.
Command Center (ESPN Goal Line): A split-screen with simultaneous multiple camera views, which could include the main ESPN camera angle, the SkyCam view and isolated camera feeds of both Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Enhanced statistics and real time drive charts supplement the game action. The Command Center was utilized during this year’s College Football Playoff Semifinals.
Home Town Radio (ESPN3): In cooperation with Learfield Sports, the ESPN telecast will be available with the Alabama and Clemson home radio broadcasts serving as the commentary (separate feeds) along with a customized viewing experience that includes full-time isolated shots of head coaches and star players. Alabama’s radio team is Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Chris Stewart; the Clemson radio team is Don Munson, Rodney Williams and Patrick Sapp.
Data Center (ESPN3): On-screen graphic content ranging from analytics, real time drive charts, win probability updates, curated social media reaction and more. ESPN Radio’s call will be part of the presentation.
Sky Cam (ESPN3): A continuous feed of the camera that maneuvers above the field of play and often provides a behind-the-offense look at game action.
ESPN Radio has Sean McDonough calling play-by-play, Todd Blackledge as the game analyst, Holly Rowe on the Alabama sideline and Ian Fitzsimmons on the Clemson sideline. Rules expert Bill LeMonnier will also be available for the broadcast, which is available throughout the country to more than 400 ESPN Radio stations, ESPNRadio.com, SirusXMRadio, the ESPN app, Apple Music, TuneIn and Slacker Radio.
ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio
Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega call the game for ESPN Deportes and Kenneth Garay and Sebastian M. Christensen for ESPN Deportes Radio. Nación ESPN will precede the game and a special SportsCenter will follow on ESPN Deportes.
ESPNU Televises Pregame Field Pass Featuring Team Warmups
New this year, Pregame Field Pass (6:30 p.m. on ESPNU) brings viewers the pregame atmosphere inside the stadium and at field level starting 90-minutes before kickoff. Joe Tessitore and Adam Amin anchor the coverage as the Tigers and Crimson Tide take the field for pregame routines and warmups. The duo will be joined by numerous guests on hand for the championship game rematch.
ESPN will also bring the CFP National Championship Game to fans in more than 179 countries around the world through ESPN networks and streaming services.
ESPN Social Media
ESPN social media will provide a unique view in and around the national championship game with on-site coverage emanating from @espn, @SportsCenter, @CollegeGameDay and @ESPNCFB accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Original elements will include:
SidelineCam on Twitter
Snapchat coverage will include a College GameDay Show before the game and a Live Story during the game, with additional coverage in the Tuesday morning edition of ESPN on Snapchat Discover.