ESPN is treating Monday’s inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship like it’s the Oscars, Super Bowl and M*A*S*H finale all rolled into one. And for good reason. The two semifinals drew the largest audiences in cable television history.
For the title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, viewers have more options than Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has on a rollout. And the contrasting alternatives to ESPN’s main telecast with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit are as varied as an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run for Ohio State.
“It’s the era of options,” laughed Fowler, who welcomes the “Megacast,” as ESPN calls it. Fowler is calling his first title game after taking over the lead role from Brent Musburger before the season. “We feel like we’re serving the needs of the viewer. I thought it was great and probably over time it’s only going to grow.”
Monday’s viewing options:
ESPN: Main broadcast with Fowler on play-by-play and Herbstreit on color, and Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi on the sidelines.
ESPN 2: Film room: Debuted last year to much acclaim. Analysts Chris Spielman and Tom Luginbill, along with Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi and Nebraska coach Mike Riley will offer live in-depth analysis with multiple camera angles and telestration.
ESPNU: ESPN personalities (from outside of college football), including Jay Bilas, Aaron Boone, Julie Foudy, Barry Melrose, Mark Schlereth and Michael Wilbon discuss the game as it happens in a “specially created viewing theater.”
ESPNNEWS: Off the Ball: Bob Wischusen hosts a live-game discussion among analysts, including Kevin Carter and Matt Millen, as they dissect the game by focusing on plays away from the ball.
ESPN Classic: Don’t want announcers getting in the way of your viewing? Here you can watch the game while hearing the natural sounds captured by 100 microphones positioned throughout AT&T Stadium. Will also include pregame and the halftime performances of the Oregon and Ohio State marching bands.
ESPN3: On the Internet, fans can choose to watch the game with the home broadcasts of either Oregon or Ohio State while enjoying the game feed, plus isolated cameras on their team’s coach and top players. Also, on ESPN3, view the entire game from the SpiderCam hanging from the stadium ceiling.
ESPN Goal Line: Online fans can watch commercial-free with a full-time split screen application showing the live action, along with replays, isolated camera feeds of both coaches, statistics and ESPN’s radio broadcast.
ESPN Deportes: Spanish-language telecasts with Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega.
Each option is also available through WatchESPN, which is available online.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760