CFP National Championship Game Preview: ESPN’s MegaCast Features 17 Viewing Options, 250+ Cameras

Stay tuned for SVG's live onsite coverage throughout the weekend

For ESPN’s fifth College Football Playoff National Championship, MegaCast will be bigger than ever on Monday, offering 17 ways for fans to watch the Alabama-Clemson matchup and more than 250 cameras inside Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. 

In addition to the traditional telecast, ESPN will debut Monday Night Football Film RoomField PassBlimpCast, and TechCast feeds as part of the MegaCast, as well as bringing back Command Center, Sounds of the Game, DataCenter, SkyCam, Hometown Radio, and other alternative viewing options. Overall, the 17 presentations will be available across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, SEC Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN3, ESPN Radio, and ESPN Deportes Radio. All presentations are available on ESPN App.

SVG’s Ken Kerschbaumer and Brandon Costa will be onsite delivering Live From CFP National Championship coverage throughout the weekend. Stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more in-depth coverage from Santa Clara.  

Gargantuan Camera Complement Topped by Ultimate Pylon Angle, AllCam 
ESPN’s 250-camera complement inside Levi’s Stadium will be headlined by Ultimate Pylon Angle and AllCam. In addition, as it has for much of its high-profile college football coverage this year, ESPN will also deploy cameras inside officials’ hats, the line-to-gain marker, and a movable pylon.

Ultimate Pylon Angle will focus on plays occurring around the goal-line pylons. ESPN will have 40 cameras focused on each of the four pylons along the two goal lines. The cameras will composite together the multiple angles, providing a replay that will be used on hard-to-determine scoring plays around the pylons.

AllCam (watch here) captures the entire playing surface on every play. Paired with zoom capabilities, the system provides views of any action on the field at any time.

RefCam (watch here) will be affixed to four referees’ hats, providing a similar camera view as the refs’ line of sight. Expected to wear the cameras are the line judge, field judge, side judge, and back judge.

Located inside the top of the Line-to-Gain Marker, the Line-to-Gain Marker Cam (watch here) is a rotatable camera that can pan and scan the action, providing views along the first-down line and just before and beyond it.

Line-to-Gain PylonCams (watch here) are wireless camera systems built into two movable pylons and repositioned throughout the game by the chain crew, providing a replay angle straight down the line-to-gain on both sides of the field.

Among New Productions, TechCast To Offer 12 Unique Camera Views
MegaCast will feature five new productions this year: Field Pass (ESPN2), Monday Night Film Room (ESPNEWS), Thinking Out Loud (SEC Network), BlimpCast, and TechCast (ESPN3).

Field Pass will offer free-flowing commentary of the CFP National Championship, anchored by Adam Amin and Steve Levy, who will roam the sidelines of Levi’s Stadium. The two play-by-play announcers will call the action from the vantage point, joined by a rotation of ESPN analysts, notable personalities, and celebrities throughout the game. The Field Pass concept has been used in the past two national championships during the pregame, providing fans an alternate angle of the warm-up period.

Monday Night Film Room will house ESPN’s MNF trio — Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, and Booger McFarland — along with college-football and NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay. The four football minds will break down the game in real time the way active players and coaches do leading up to and following each game. The production, which replaces the Coaches Film Room feed from previous years, will take place within the compound of Levi’s Stadium and be presented with limited commercial breaks.

ESPN will debut a new TechCast presentation as part of its CFP National Championship MegaCast.

The SEC Network’s weekly college football season show Thinking Out Loud makes its CFP National Championship debut following a CFP Semifinal appearance. The trio of Marcus Spears, Greg McElroy, and Alyssa Lang will host the presentation, joined by other guests during the game.

SportsCenter’s Matt Barrie and Elle Duncan will be inside the Goodyear Blimp for the full duration of the game for the BlimpCast feed. The viewing option will be tri-box, — showing the duo in one screen, the game telecast in another, and the view from the blimp in the third — with the entire presentation accompanied by the two hosts’ commentary throughout the duration of the game.

TechCast will spotlight the best of ESPN’s innovation throughout the game, with 12 camera views showcased in small boxes surrounding a split-screen view. The split-screen views will rotate between the 12 options throughout the game. Among the vantage points: SkyCam, High SkyCam, RefCam, PylonCam, AllCam, and Marker Cam.

Returning Feeds: Command Center, DataCenter, SkyCam, All-22
As for the returning MegaCast feeds, ESPN continues to focus on offering stats and analytics, as well as the game telecast, on one screen and a variety of multiple vantage points.

ESPN is bringing back the Command Center for its MegaCast presentation

Command Center (ESPNU) is a split screen with simultaneous multiple camera views, which could include the main ESPN camera angle, the SkyCam, High SkyCam, and All-22, along with 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 traditional telecast’s call of the game will be part of the presentation.

Sounds of the Game (ESPN Classic) allows fans to enjoy the natural sounds of Levi’s Stadium as if they were sitting inside. Fans will watch the ESPN traditional game telecast, sans commentators, and hear the complete pregame on-field festivities, including band performances, the public-address announcer, and referee calls. The presentation’s audio will be amplified with dozens of microphones positioned throughout the stadium. Both schools’ halftime band performances will also be featured.

The MegaCast DataCenter feed will also be back for the CFP National Championship MegaCast.

DataCenter (ESPN3) features on-screen graphic content, including analytics, real-time drive charts, win probability updates, and curated social-media reaction. ESPN Radio’s call will be part of the presentation.

The SkyCam (ESPN3) and High SkyCam (ESPN3) presentations feature a continuous feed of the two aerial -camera systems maneuvering above the field of play, providing a behind-the-offense look at game action and an alternate view well above the action, respectively.

All-22 (ESPN3) allows viewers to watch the game the same way players and coaches study film, with a vantage point high above the field of play. The angle allows the 22 players on the field to be seen at all times, providing the ability to distinguish how plays develop.

Hometown Radio (ESPN3) is a partnership with Learfield (Alabama) and JMI Sports (Clemson), pairing the ESPN telecast with the hometown-radio call. Broadcasters for the Alabama feed will be Eli Gold, John Parker Wilson, Rashad Johnson, and Chris Stewart. The Clemson feed will be called by Don Munson, Rodney Williams, Reggie Merriweather, and Tim Bourret.

ESPN Deportes will carry the Spanish-language call of the game, featuring Lalo Varela and Pablo Viruega. ESPN Deportes Radio will carry the game with Kenneth Garay and Alex Pombo. ESPN’s presentation of the game will also be seen in 179 countries around the world through ESPN networks and streaming services.

ESPN’s fan-activation billboard in Downtown San Jose, CA.

From San Jose to Santa Clara
ESPN’s onsite studio coverage began this morning (Jan. 4) and will continue until kickoff on Monday at 8 p.m. ET, bringing fans more than 30 hours of content across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and SEC Network. ESPN will be live from multiple locations, including The Quad at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the San Jose Convention Center, the SAP Center, and ESPN’s fan activation billboard — all in San Jose, CA and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Over the course of the four days, nearly every live show will feature coverage from the West Coast, including Get Up!, NFL Countdown, and all editions of SportsCenter, along with special CFP National Championship-centric editions of Championship Drive and College Football Live. SEC Network will also have an extensive presence in the Bay Area, including its signature studio show SEC Now from The Quad at Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

Click here for a ESPN’s full slate of studio programming leading up to the game.