Versus College Football Coverage Gets a Boost as NBC Sports Group Closely Aligns
As NBC Sports Group enters the home stretch of 2011, preparations for the rebranding of Versus to NBC Sports Network — which takes effect Jan. 2 — are well under way. There’s still a full college football season before that, however, so the minds at NBC plan to use the upcoming months to more closely align its brands across the board.
As a result, Versus telecasts will appear fresher and more advanced, capitalizing on NBC broadcast technology.
“We’re in the business of storytelling,” says Ken Goss, VP of sports operations and production planning for NBC Sports. “That’s a credit to [NBC Sports Coordinating Producer) Rob Hyland, and that’s what we’ll bring to Versus. We are going to stick to his vision and tell great stories.”
To help tell those stories, Goss notes, camera complements for broadcasts have been increased to eight, including the addition of new low–end-zone cams for iso shots. Versus games will also welcome the addition of an updated telestrator that will put it on par with ones used during Sunday Night Football and Notre Dame broadcasts.
For Versus telecasts, NBC will continue its partnership with Mira Mobile Television, which will supply trucks for Mountain West (Mira 11HD 53-ft. expando) and Pac-12 (Mira 5HD 53-ft. expando) matchups. Ivy League games will also operate out of Mira 11.
More Than Just the Irish
Although NBC Sports Group’s college-football coverage is typically synonymous with the “Golden Domers,” the group is making a strong effort this season to offer deeper analysis of its other conference properties, including the Pac-12 and Mountain West.
NBC will air seven games this season, including the first Fighting Irish home primetime game in 21 years when they host No. 25 USC on Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET. This season’s coverage resumes this Saturday when the Irish host long-time rival Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. ET. NBC will once again team play-by-play commentator Tom Hammond with analyst Mike Mayock and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan.
On Nov. 12, the NBC Sports Group will air four games across all the college-football properties it covers. Versus will kick off the day with an Ivy League game featuring Penn at Harvard at 12 p.m. ET, immediately followed by the much anticipated showdown between 2010 Mountain West champion TCU and Boise State at 3:30 p.m. NBC will then air Notre Dame-Maryland at 7:30 p.m. in an off-site home game from FedEx Field in Landover, MD. Versus will wrap up the quadruple-header with live coverage of a Pac-12 game at 10:30 p.m.
On Nov. 26, NBC will once again air the State Farm Bayou Classic, the annual matchup of Grambling State University and Southern University.
Back to the Studio
This season, NBC has introduced a live college-football studio show on Versus, providing pre- and post-game coverage as well as halftime reports for every game on both NBC and Versus. The show, broadcast from the network’s studio at 30 Rock, features Liam McHugh, 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, and former NFL tight end and Super Bowl champion Roland Williams.
Additionally, during each Notre Dame game on NBC, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night in America and Mike Florio of Website ProfootballTalk will join the studio crew at halftime with NFL insider information.
On Mondays, Versus has added a one-hour show titled College Football Talk at 5 p.m. The show, hosted by McHugh with former NFL lineman Ross Tucker as analyst, will feature all the top college football stories and highlights from the weekend, with a large portion of the show devoted to Notre Dame Football news. Williams will also be a contributor to the show.
For the second consecutive season, all of NBC’s Notre Dame games will be streamed live on NBCSports.com. “Notre Dame Extra” will feature a simulcast of the broadcast feed in Full HD quality plus one additional online-only bonus camera. The video player will include picture-in-picture capability and full DVR functionality, allowing the user to pause the live video and even review plays in slow motion.
New features for this season include live in-game tweets by sideline reporter Alex Flanagan and a live in-game chat by Inside the Irish blogger Keith Arnold. Additionally, fans can also watch live coverage of the Notre Dame and visiting-team bands at halftime, in-game highlights, and live, online-only postgame footage that will include head coach Brian Kelly’s press conference.
iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users can get complete NBC Sports coverage of the Notre Dame 2011 football season with the Notre Dame Central app. Users can get free, live access to every NBC Sports broadcast of Notre Dame football games. Plus, the app includes live scores, news, video highlights, and much more. The iPhone and iPad updates for the 2011 season will be available prior to the Sept. 3 season opener against South Florida.
NBCSports.com’s college-football coverage will also feature video highlights and features from all of Versus’s Mountain West, Pac-12, and Ivy League games. In addition, NBCSports.com will feature online-only analysis from all of Versus’s college-football experts.