MegaCast Production and Debut of First-Down-Marker Cam Highlight ESPN’s Presentation of the College Football Playoff Semifinals

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MegaCast Production and Debut of First-Down-Marker Cam Highlight ESPN’s Presentation of the College Football Playoff Semifinals

  • ESPN Airs Traditional Telecast of the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl
  • Coaches Film Room’s Semifinals Debut among 10 Additional Presentations for Each Semifinal across Seven Different ESPN Platforms: Productions Available on ESPN’s Networks and ESPN App
    • Dino Babers, Bret Bielema, Larry Fedora, Dana Holgorsen, and Gary Patterson among Participating Coaches
  • Extensive New Year’s Weekend Studio Lineup Live from New Orleans and Pasadena, Including Twitter-Only Show
  • ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio Carry All Additional New Year’s Six Games:  Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

ESPN’s presentation of the College Football Playoff Semifinals on New Year’s Day will include its acclaimed MegaCast production, as the traditional telecast of the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual featuring No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia (5 p.m.) and the Allstate Sugar Bowl between No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Alabama on ESPN will be supplemented with 10 alternate viewing options across ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Deportes, SEC Network and multiple ESPN3 feeds. Each of the presentations will be available on the ESPN App.

This year’s viewing options are the most-ever for the CFP Semifinals. Details on ESPN’s CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T MegaCast (Jan. 8) will be announced next week.

ESPN’s Presentation of the College Football Playoff Semifinals New Year’s Day
The College Football Playoff Semifinals will return to the Rose Bowl and Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the first venues to hold the premier games for a second time. ESPN will have more than 50 cameras, including 4K cameras, inside the two iconic stadiums, capturing all the action and emotion.

ESPN will debut a camera inside the first-down-marker at the Sugar Bowl, the first time a camera has been positioned inside the equipment. The unique vantage point will provide viewers a look at the line to gain. ESPN tested the technology at this year’s Celebration Bowl.

Additional Production Highlights:

  • Inside the Locker Rooms: Cameras affixed inside the locker room anteroom area will provide unique access as the teams come and go from the field.
  • Super-Slow Motion: Cameras will provide precise, tight camera shots throughout the game and capture the emotion of the matchups.
  • Pylon Cams: All eight pylons will be equipped with four cameras, allowing for camera angles along the goal line, sideline and backline.
  • Aerial Coverage: The Goodyear Blimp will fly high above, providing views above Pasadena and New Orleans.

Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Tom Rinaldi and Maria Taylor will call the Rose Bowl Game while Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe and Laura Rutledge will work the Sugar Bowl. This will be the fourth straight year Fowler, Herbstreit and Rinaldi call a CFP Semifinal together and they welcome in Taylor, who makes her debut. This is the second year that Tessitore, Blackledge, and Rowe have worked together for a CFP Semifinal and Rutledge’s first. Overall, this is Blackledge and Rowe’s fourth semifinal.  At the Rose Bowl, Rinaldi will report on Oklahoma with Taylor covering Georgia.

College Football Playoff Semifinals MegaCast:
ESPN’s traditional telecast will be accompanied by a number of alternate presentations for both games. Each presentation is available on the ESPN App:

  • Command Center Telecast (ESPN2 and ESPN App):A split-screen with multiple camera views displayed simultaneously, which could include the main ESPN camera angle, the SkyCam view and isolated camera feeds of both head coaches at any given time. Enhanced statistics and real-time drive charts supplement the game action.
  • Coaches Film Room (ESPNEWS and ESPN App):The popular Coaches Film Room makes its CFP Semifinals debut after successful, well-received airings during the CFP National Championship Megacast the last three seasons. Dino Babers (Syracuse), Bret Bielema, Larry Fedora (North Carolina), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), and Gary Patterson (TCU) are among the participating coaches. The presentation features coaches providing in-depth analysis from a film room equipped with multiple camera angles, clicker technology and telestration.  Once again, it will be presented with limited commercial breaks.
  • Finebaum Film Room(SEC Network and ESPN App): Airing for both CFP Semifinals for the first time, Paul Finebaum, along with a bevy of analysts will watch the games, while providing constant banter and analysis. Along with Finebaum, Gene Chizik, Greg McElroy, Booger McFarland, Jesse Palmer, Marcus Spears, and Tim Tebow will rotate throughout the two games. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason will also join the show, and, in Finebaum tradition, the group will take phone calls from fans. Complete details on SEC Network’s CFP Semifinals coverage can be found here.
  • Hometown Audio (ESPN3 and ESPN App): The local radio broadcasts from all four participating teams, in conjunction with IMG, JMI Sports and Learfield Sports synched up to ESPN’s main telecast.
  • DataCenter (ESPN Goal Line and ESPN App): ESPN’s main TV production is supplemented by statistics, social media reaction and additional relevant information for an enhanced real-time experience on one screen.
  • SkyCam (ESPN3 and ESPN App): A view ESPN has offered for many years and gained traction this season across the sport: A permanent view from above the action and behind the offense on most plays.
  • All-22 (ESPN3 and ESPN App): Watch the game the same way players and coaches study the game. This vantage point comes from high atop the stadium, in the end zone, providing a consistent view of all 22 players on the field at the same time.
  • ESPN Deportes and ESPN App: Kenneth Garay and Sebastian Martinez-Christensen (Rose Bowl Game) and Lalo Varela, Pablo Viruega (Sugar Bowl) on the Spanish-language calls of the game.
  • ESPN Radio and ESPN App: Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Todd McShay (Rose Bowl Game) and Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Ian Fitzsimmons (Sugar Bowl) call the games. The broadcast is available throughout the country to more than 400 ESPN Radio stations,, SirusXMRadio, the ESPN app, Apple Music, TuneIn and Slacker Radio.

ESPN will have expansive onsite coverage on New Year’s Day and the entire final weekend of 2017 from New Orleans and Pasadena, Calif. leading into the CFP Semifinals.  In addition to College GameDay (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., ESPN) and SEC Nation Presented by AT&T (10 a.m. – noon, SEC Network), which was announced last week as part of the more than 15 hours of onsite coverage,  ESPN has added Champ Drive Live with Mike Golic Jr. and Jason Fitz to its New Year’s Day Lineup. The Twitter-only show (4 – 5:10 p.m.) on January 1 is produced for social media and leads into the Rose Bowl Game. The special presentation is an extension of the previous six-episode CFP Rankings Reaction show, which reached 5.75 million viewers on Twitter – with a growing audience for each successive episode, peaking at 3.5 million for the final show (Dec. 3).

Complete details on ESPN’s onsite coverage from the CFP Semifinals, which begins Thursday, Dec. 28, is here.

ESPN’s Presentation of the New Year’s Six
The College Football Playoff Semifinals will conclude ESPN’s exclusive presentation of the New Year’s Six, which begins with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Dec. 29) and continues with the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 30), the Capital One Orange Bowl (Dec. 30) and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Jan. 1). After the CFP Semifinals, ESPN will conclude the season with the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T on Monday, January 8. ESPN’s entire bowl schedule can be found here.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on December 29 at 8:30 p.m.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic features a historic matchup between No. 8 USC and No. 5 Ohio State from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

  • Commentators: Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Allison Williams call the game for ESPN, Lalo Varela and Pablo Viruega on ESPN Deportes, and Brad Sham, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich for ESPN Radio.
  • Additional Viewing Options: ESPN3 will offer the Command Center and All-22 alternate views for the game
  • History: The matchup will be the Buckeyes-Trojans first matchup since 2009 and just the seventh matchup since 1975. The two teams have met six times previously in the Rose Bowl Game, most recently in 1984.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on December 30 at 4 p.m.
The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl between No. 11 Washington and No. 9 Penn State from University of Phoenix Stadium begins a New Year’s Six doubleheader on the final Saturday of 2017.

  • Commentators: Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy and Tom Luginbill call the game on ESPN while Lalo Varela and Pablo Viruega are on ESPN Deportes. Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Ian Fitzsimmons on ESPN Radio.
  • History: The Nittany Lions return to the Fiesta Bowl for the first time since 1996, looking to remain undefeated at the bowl game, having won all six times they have played in the annual game. Washington will be making its first-ever appearance in the game and meet the Nittany Lions for just the third time in the two schools’ history.

Capital One Orange Bowl on December 30 at 8 p.m.
The Capital One Orange Bowl will feature No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Miami from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

  • Commentators: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Molly McGrath and Todd McShay call the game on ESPN with Dave Flemming, Anthony Becht and Rocky Boiman on ESPN Radio. Kenny Garay and Alex Pombo broadcast the game on ESPN Deportes.
  • History: The Hurricanes are making their first appearance in a New Year’s Six game and their 10th appearance in the Orange Bowl. The Badgers are playing in their first Orange Bowl and meet the Hurricanes for the fifth overall time. The two teams splitting the previous four meetings.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on January 1 at 12:30 p.m.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl features No. 12 UCF vs. No. 7 Auburn from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

  • Commentators: Dave Flemming, Brock Huard and Allison Williams broadcast the game on ESPN, with Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers and Cole Cubelic on ESPN Radio. Roger Valdivieso and Alex Pombo on ESPN Deportes.
  • History: The Knights come into the game as the nation’s only undefeated team, looking to complete a perfect season by beating the Tigers for the first time ever. This season is the Tigers second consecutive appearance in a New Year’s Six game, having played in the Sugar Bowl last year.


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


Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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