College Football Conference Championships Notebook: CBS, Fox, ESPN Line Up Big Shows on Critical Final Weekend

Onsite shows. digital enhancements pepper the operations plans for all three networks

As the picture for the four-team College Football Playoff comes into focus, numerous national-championship implications — and conference-wide bragging rights — are on the line this weekend as major sports networks pack their programming schedules with conference-championship games from across the college-football landscape.

From onsite studios to larger camera complements than many of these networks have ever deployed on many of these contests, here’s a quick look at what the major sports nets have in store.

For the ninth straight year, Fox will carry live coverage of the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday from Indianapolis.

CBS Deploys REMI from NY for Studio Coverage of SEC Championship in Atlanta
The Southeastern Conference has a pair of top-four teams matched up, with LSU taking on Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (4:00 p.m. ET, CBS).

The high-end production will feature multiple super-slow-motion cameras, an aerial camera, and the addition of a RF handheld camera on the field.

Studio coverage will deploy a REMI model for onsite pre/postgame and halftime studio shows produced from a control room in New York.

Craig Silver will produce and Steve Milton will direct the live game broadcast; Vin DeVito will produce and Linda Coppola direct all surrounding studio coverage.

Fox Adds Digital Elements To Surround Big Ten Title Game
Saturday marks the ninth consecutive Big Ten Championship Game to air on Fox as Ohio State battles Wisconsin (8 p.m., Fox). According to a Fox Sports rep, the network will deploy the largest complement of production tools that they ever have for this game.

Heading into the game, though, the network is putting a major focus on its digital-centered efforts to surround the game. Those social-media–based efforts begin on Friday with game analyst Joel Klatt hosting a Facebook Live show from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Breaking the Huddle sponsored by Dr Pepper. On both Friday and Saturday, former Ohio State running back Beanie Wells will host Wendy’s All-Access on both Facebook and Instagram, taking viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the festivities.

ESPN Hosts Saturday Marathon Featuring Big 12, ACC, Pac-12 Championships
A college football season in which ESPN produced and distributed more than 1,000 regular-season games culminates in a wall-to-wall Friday and Saturday of conference championships.

It starts Friday night with the Pac-12 title game between Utah and Oregon (8 p.m., ESPN) at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. On Saturday, the Big 12 pits Baylor against Oklahoma (noon, ABC), and the Atlantic Coast Conference lines up Clemson and Virginia (7:30 p.m., ABC).

The new ACC Network celebrates its first football conference championship game by going big from an onsite-production standpoint. ACCN’s daily morning show Packer & Durham is also onsite at ACC FanFest in the Charlotte Convention to host live studio coverage beginning at 4 pm. That will lead into The Huddle, ACCN’s flagship football studio program, which will be located at Bank of America Stadium prior to the game from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The Sun Belt (noon, ESPN), the Mid-American (noon, ESPN2), the American (3:30 p.m., ABC), the Mountain West (4 p.m., ESPN), and the SWAC (4 p.m., ESPN) will also crown their champions on the ESPN family of networks.