CFP National Championship Preview: ESPN Improves MegaCast With 4K Viewing Options, Refcast
SVG will be onsite in New Orleans for more coverage
For the big game in the Big Easy, ESPN’s MegaCast will once again roll out a laundry list of offerings for the sixth straight College Football Playoff National Championship. When No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson square off on Monday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. ET in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, fans from the Pelican State and the Palmetto State will have as many as 15 ways to watch the action across the ESPN television networks and ESPN app.
As the traditional broadcast airs, MegaCast will offer new options: Refcast and two presentations from last year, FieldPass and Skycast, now in 4K courtesy of Samsung QLED on DirecTV, Comcast, and Altice. Rounding out the offerings are staples Command Center (ESPNEWS), DataCenter (Goal Line), Sounds of the Game (ESPN Classic), the Spanish-language telecast (ESPN Deportes), Hometown Radio (Clemson on ACC Network, LSU on SEC Network), Coaches Film Room (ESPNU), and digital contributions from Techcast and All-22 on the app.
SVG’s Brandon Costa and Kristian Hernandez will be onsite delivering Live From CFP National Championship coverage throughout the weekend. Stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more from New Orleans.
An Overflow of Technology Under the Dome
In recent years, the College Football National Championship game has been a paradise for tech-savvy viewers, and that will be true this year. Out of the 100 cameras, the network will have equipment onsite for different vantage points, including wide or iso shots with the AllCam, end-zone coverage with eight total PylonCams (back-line pylons now have the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom), an aerial view with a double dose of Skycam, and POV shots from RefCams affixed to the cap of multiple referees.
ESPN’s camera arsenal will include dedicated cameras on LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney at all times, as well as unique camera placements providing views of the teams as they enter the playing field. The Goodyear Blimp will provide aerial shots of New Orleans and the Superdome.
In addition to the expansive fleet of cameras, the production team will integrate virtual-reality graphics that can extend across the entire field and be seen from multiple cameras at once. From a sound perspective, more than 100 microphones will be added to the mix to capture the ambient sounds of the raucous environment.
New and Familiar Looks: Finale To Showcase Techcast, Refcast
Fans who want the unique viewpoint of an official will have that opportunity with the debut of Refcast. Leveraging the RefCam and other cameras throughout the stadium, former referees will provide detailed opinions on what they see on the field and explain the process behind decisions made during the game. Based in Bristol, CT, John Parry (former NFL referee), Matt Austin (former SEC referee), and Judson Howard (Pac-12 replay official) will take the reins during this new presentation.
After debuting in last year’s championship game, Techcast will be an amalgamation of all the main camera angles on one screen. Fans can experience up to 12 simultaneous feeds of gameplay, including Skycam, high Skycam, RefCam, AllCam, PylonCam, and Line-to-Gain.
On the Call: ESPN’s Best Flock to New Orleans
Reuniting as the voices of the College Football National Championship, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will be in the main broadcast booth for the last game of their 24th college football season as a duo. Sideline reporters will be assigned a team for dedicated insights, with Tom Rinaldi covering LSU and Maria Taylor covering Clemson. Current ESPN rules analyst Bill Lemonnier will be in the booth with Herbstreit and Fowler.
On ESPN Radio, Sean McDonough calls his fourth CFP National Championship alongside analyst Todd Blackledge and reporters Holly Rowe (LSU) and Ian Fitzsimmons (Clemson). The radio broadcast is available throughout the country on more than 400 ESPN Radio stations, the ESPN App, ESPNRadio.com, SiriusXM, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. For Spanish-speaking listeners, the game will be presented on ESPN Deportes with Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega, and Raul Allegre.
To set the table and clean up leftovers, studio host Marc Kestecher and analyst Trevor Matich will provide onsite pregame, halftime, and postgame content.
Another Year in the Spotlight: Field Pass, Coaches Film Room, Command Center
For any fan tuning into the ultimate game of the college football season, ESPN’s MegaCast has something for everyone. A few deployments will make their debut, but more than a handful of offerings are returning.
Field Pass (ESPN2), anchored by Adam Amin and Steve Levy on the sidelines of the Superdome, will be a free-flowing commentary on the game. Joining the pair as special guests on this alternative pregame show will be college football analysts Pat McAfee and Dan Orlovsky.
With a room full of current college football coaches, Coaches Film Room (ESPNU) will break down the X’s and O’s of each play throughout the game.
DataCenter (Goal Line) will focus on the digital side of the game with real-time stats, analytics, social-media commentary, and player information.
Command Center (ESPNEWS) will be somewhat of a light version of DataCenter, providing up to four viewing perspectives at once with statistics and real-time drive charts on the side.
In partnership with JMI Sports (Clemson) and LSU Sports Radio Network, ESPN will serve up some home cooking. For Hometown Radio, radio broadcasts of the participating teams will be aired on the ACC Network (Clemson) and SEC Network (LSU Radio). The Clemson faithful will hear the voices of Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Brad Scott, and Reggie Merriweather; the opponents will listen to Chris Blair, Doug Moreau, and Gordy Rush.
In an added auditory bonus, Sounds of the Game (ESPN Classic) will enable viewers to imagine themselves inside the Superdome: the game presentation will feature all the natural audio from the stadium, including the band performances.
On the ESPN App, Skycast will reside above the action and behind the offense on most plays. In a new wrinkle, replays will be shown regularly throughout the presentation. Also, All-22 will place 22 players within the same frame to track the development of each play.
The fun gets started with live shows inside Jax Brewery Friday, Jan. 10. before shifting to the Superdome for the game on Monday, Jan. 13.