A popular alternative was the "Field Pass" option, which had four announcers calling the game from the sidelineGETTY IMAGES
ESPN for the sixth straight year rolled out its multi-channel MegaCast feature for college football's national championship, and last night's telecast of the LSU-Clemson CFP title game generated some buzz for the "Field Pass" feed on ESPN2 that featured Adam Amin, Steve Levy, Pat McAfee and Dan Orlovsky. The Athletic's Richard Deitsch tweeted, "This production -- an insane mix of hyperactivity & camera angles, both genius and unwatchable -- is not easy to pull off. Credit the producer Bryan Ryder. ... This works because Amin and Levy are ego-free tonight when working with McAfee. You have to let the analysts star for this to work. Credit both broadcasters -- and both are very good game callers -- for innately understanding this." Ryerson Univ. sports media professor Ryan Sykes: "12 Production Trucks, 76 Game Cameras (2 Skycams, 16 wireless cams, 122 for all broadcasts), 180 channels of replay, an additional 22 miles of fibre. ESPN goes wild for MegaCast of CFP Championship telecast. ... I can’t even imagine what kind of planning that takes" (TWITTER.com, 1/13).
TOP BILLING: ESPN's lead announcing team of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit received mostly positive reviews on social media. When urged by a fellow Twitter user to check out the "Sounds Of The Game" feed, The Ringer's Chris Vernon tweeted, "I like fowler/herbstreit so would be better for other games for sure." NBA Emerging Media Senior Video Coordinator Ian McCoy: "Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit are awesome. Not [every] sport gets to have it's best guys call the championship, but these guys are the cream of the crop and are knocking it out of the park." Tucson-based KVOA-NBC's David Skinner: "It’s incredible how much better Fowler/Herbstreit are than Tess/Booger." Davidson College Sports Information Dir Joey Beeler: "I wouldn’t be opposed to Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit calling Monday Night Football." Cedar Rapids Gazette's Ben Visser: "Fowler and Herbstreit are very good at their jobs but coaches film room is how football is meant to be watched" (TWITTER.com, 1/13).
APP STATE: In N.Y., Mark Fischer notes many fans on social media "sacked ESPN" last night as the outlet "experienced issues streaming" the title game (N.Y. POST, 1/14). McClatchy's The Compass Experiment GM Mandy Jenkins tweeted ESPN is "promoting the national championship game on its 'mega cast' but I can’t even get a basic stream of the game working on their app or on their website." SB Nation's Robert Schmitz: "ESPN, the multi-billion dollar company hosting tonight's CFB Championship, has a website that seems to be melting under the load being put on it's servers right now. Both app and website are crazy slow due to demand. Football, man. We love this stuff." Advanced Sports Media Digital Marketing Manager Nic Ryder: "Is the ESPN app not working for anybody else? Good thing the last football game of the year isn’t on or anything." Washburn Univ. Dir of Sports Information Gene Cassell: "Wish my @espn app was working. I’d like to watch the game" (TWITTER.com, 1/13).
NICK OF TIME: In Birmingham, Michael Casagrande notes Alabama coach Nick Saban appeared on ESPN's pregame and halftime coverage, and the net's producers said that he was "rabid in the preparation." After his on-air segments, Saban was "due to depart the Superdome before the game ended," having accomplished the "recruiting goal of visibility on the sport's biggest stage" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 1/14). Touchdown Alabama Magazine's Stephen Smith tweeted, "While I'm enjoying Nick Saban's commentary, I can't help but to think he's thinking 'Just wait till next year.' He wants to be back winning a championship." Digital golf outlet 15th Club's Justin Ray: "What’s the golf equivalent of Nick Saban doing pregame and halftime analysis at the CFP title game? Phil in the booth at Augusta on Sunday after missing a cut?" Patriots RB Damien Harris: "Saban has the best suit game out of any coach i’ve ever seen. Period" (TWITTER.com, 1/13).
EMOTIONAL TRIBUTE: USA TODAY's Chris Bumbaca writes Tom Rinaldi's segments on ESPN's "College GameDay" are "triggers for tear ducts." His story on late WDSU-NBC Carley McCord that aired prior to the title game was "no different" (USA TODAY, 1/14).