ESPN Studio Shows Blanket Arizona Leading Into the College Football Playoff National Championship

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ESPN Studio Shows Blanket Arizona Leading Into the College Football Playoff National Championship

  • More than 70 Hours of Coverage across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network
  • Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer Join Multiple Shows
  • ESPN: SportsCenter, Face to Face with Hannah Storm, College Football Live, College GameDay and Championship Drive lead into College Football Playoff National Championship

ESPN will offer more than 70 hours of coverage – across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU  and SEC Network —  from Arizona leading into and following the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T featuring Alabama vs. Clemson (Jan. 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). College head coaches Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Urban Meyer (Ohio State) will join ESPN’s array of commentators, analysts and guests spanning multiple shows, which include SportsCenter, College GameDay Built by The Home Depot, Championship Drive, College Football Live, SEC Nation, SEC Now, ESPNU Championship Drive Tailgate Special, Mike & Mike and First Take.

ESPN will be live from four primary locations: Block 23/Fan Fest, Phoenix Convention Center, The Duce (local restaurant), University of Phoenix Stadium. SEC Network will also televise inside the JW Marriot in Scottsdale.

Championship Monday – January 11
ESPN will be live from in-and-around University of Phoenix Stadium for 11.5 hours (9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.) leading into the national championship game. ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter, will begin (9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) and end the day (postgame). Highlights:

  • SportsCenter – from inside University of Phoenix Stadium

Morning edition

  • Anchors: Hannah Storm, Cari Champion, Kevin Negandhi, Jaymee Sire (9 a.m. to noon), Matt Barrie and Sara Walsh (noon – 2:30 p.m.)
  • Analysts: Butch Davis, Jesse Palmer, Mack Brown and George Whitfield, among others
  • Guests: Freeze and Kelly
  • Reporters: Sam Ponder and Tom Rinaldi


Postgame edition

  • Anchors: Scott Van Pelt and Steve Levy, followed by Neil Everett and Stan Verett.
  • Analysts: Kirk Herbstreit, Brown, Ryan Clark, Desmond Howard, Ron Jaworski, David Pollack, as well as SEC Network’s Tim Tebow
  • Guests: Interviews will be conducted with notable participants in the game
  • Reporters: Ponder, Rinaldi and Gene Wojciechowski

ESPN’s college football-centric shows, College Football Live (3 p.m. – 4 p.m.), College GameDay (4 p.m. – 6 p.m.) and Championship Drive (6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) will lead into ESPN’s presentation of the national championship game, available on ESPN and 14 alternate productions.

  • College Football Live – from inside University of Phoenix Stadium
    • Hosts: Joe Tessitore and John Saunders
    • Analysts: Brown, B. Davis, Joey Galloway, Mark May, Jesse Palmer, Todd McShay and Whitfield
    • Guests: Freeze and Kelly
    • Reporters: Ponder and Rinaldi
  • College GameDay – from outside University of Phoenix Stadium
    • Hosts: Rece Davis and Saunders
    • Analysts: Brown, Howard and Pollack
    • Guests: All three coaches – Freeze, Kelly and Meyer
    • Reporters: Ponder, Rinaldi and Wojciechowski
    • Elements: (More to be added in coming days)
      • Features on Alabama kicker Adam Griffith, running backs Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
      • Tebow will sit down with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson
      • Memorable moments of the 2015 college football season will be revisited and more
    • Championship Drive – from inside University of Phoenix Stadium
      • Hosts: Davis and Saunders
      • Analysts: Lee Corso, Howard, Herbstreit and Pollack, along with Brown and Booger McFarland
      • Guests: All three coaches – Freeze, Kelly and Meyer
      • Reporters: Ponder, Rinaldi and Gene Wojciechowski

On SEC Network, SEC Nation (6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) will be live from inside University of Phoenix Stadium, as well, with Tessitore hosting and analysts Greg McElroy, Marcus Spears and Tebow alongside. SEC Now will provide post-game coverage from the field following the trophy presentation.  The Paul Finebaum Show (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.) begins at its normal Monday time, but from outside the stadium instead of its Charlotte, N.C. studio home. Full details on SEC Network’s comprehensive coverage all weekend can be found here.

Additional Highlights on Championship Monday:

  • Face to Face with Hannah Storm: Head coaches Nick Saban (Alabama) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson) will sit down together for an in-depth interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm (ESPN at 2:30 p.m.). The two coaches will discuss the game, their seasons and other subjects in the half-hour special.
  • Mike & Mike: Live from The Duce in downtown Phoenix and in front of a live audience, the four-hour program (ESPN2 and ESPN Radio at 6 a.m.) will feature numerous guests, including ESPN’s Chris Fowler, Herbstreit, Pollack and Clark. Notre Dame’s Kelly will also join the show, as well as SEC Network’s McFarland. Russillo & Kanell will also record their ESPN Radio shows Monday and Tuesday from Phoenix (ESPN Radio at 1 p.m.)
  • First Take: Also live from The Duce, Molly Qerim, Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith will debate the hottest topics heading into Monday’s game and welcome ESPN’s Pollack and McShay, as well as SEC Network’s McFarland (ESPN2 at 10 am.).
  • ESPNU Championship Drive Tailgate Special: Live from outside University of Phoenix stadium, Matt Schick hosts along with Mike Bellotti, McFarland and Elika Sadeghi (ESPNU at 1 p.m.)
  • College Football Final: Live from the sidelines, a special championship post-game edition hosted by Adrian Virk with analysts Galloway, McShay and Kanell (ESPN2).

Friday, Jan. 8 – Sunday, Jan. 10
ESPN’s multi-network coverage from Arizona begins Friday, Jan. 8, with SportsCenter segments throughout the day, (starting at 9:30 a.m. ET) a full edition of College Football Live (1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) and SportsCenter (6 p.m. – 7 p.m.), all from Block 23. 

College Football Playoff Media Day at the Phoenix Convention Center (Saturday, Jan. 9) will be covered on ESPN (8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.), ESPNU (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.), SEC Network (10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) and ESPN3. Clemson will meet with the media first (10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.) followed by Alabama (11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.). Later that evening, SportsCenter will have two shows (7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.) from Block 23, anchored by John Anderson and John Buccigross.

SportsCenter will be live from inside the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 10 (8 a.m.), for a two-hour show anchored by Storm. The late-night edition of SportsCenter (11 a.m.) will be from Block 23. ESPN2 will air 24-Hour Special: Championship Drive at 8 p.m. hosted by Adnan Virk and he will be joined by ESPN analysts Brown, Davis, Galloway, Danny Kanell, May and McShay.

Tuesday, Jan. 12
SportsCenter (9 a.m.) will have reports from Arizona and the winning team’s hotel on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Additionally, Mike and Mike (6 a.m.) and First Take (10 a.m.) will once again be live from The Duce. The evening SportsCenter (6 p.m.) will be held live from the campus of the winning team, with Lindsay Czarniak hosting.



Additional Materials: 
ESPN Megacast Release

ESPN Front Row: Ryan McGee on Clemson’s Dabo Swinney

ESPN Images: Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl

Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

Gracie Blackburn

Gracie is the Communications Manager for ESPN’s College Networks. She handles all media requests and questions concerning SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Gracie also supports on college sports airing across ESPN networks.
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