ESPN Takes Over the French Quarter: Extensive, On-Site, Four-Day Studio Presence Leads Up to College Football Playoff National Championship

College Football

ESPN Takes Over the French Quarter: Extensive, On-Site, Four-Day Studio Presence Leads Up to College Football Playoff National Championship

  • 40+ Hours Featuring More than 60 Personalities Begins Friday, Jan. 10
  • Seven Hours of Pregame Coverage Leads into Dynamic Presentation of 1 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson
  • Six-Time National Champion Head Coach Nick Saban to Have Prominent Role on Pregame and Halftime Coverage
  • Ohio State’s Ryan Day and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher Among Numerous Guests Throughout Championship Monday
  • ACC Network and SEC Network Both On Site in the Big Easy 

ESPN is taking over the New Orleans’ French Quarter marking a four-day celebration of college football in advance of the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T between No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson (Jan. 13, 8 p.m.). ESPN’s studio coverage will originate predominantly from Jax Brewery beginning the morning of Friday, Jan. 10, and continue through Championship Monday, with 40+ hours of coverage across multiple networks featuring more than 60 of the network’s most notable personalities.

ESPN’s studio programming will hit its apex on Championship Monday, as the network offers seven hours of pregame coverage and all day programming from New Orleans leading into the sport’s finale. Throughout the day, the network will be the home to all the latest news around the game and both participating teams throughout the day, as well as some of the sport’s biggest names headlined by Alabama’s Nick Saban. The six-time national champion head coach will have a prominent role on ESPN pregame shows leading into kickoff and also appear on the network’s halftime coverage.

Overall, ESPN’s Championship Monday lineup features 25 hours of programming originating from the Big Easy across all of its networks, headlined by special editions of College Football Playoff Pregame (7:30 p.m.-8 p.m.),  Championship Drive (6–7:30 p.m.), College GameDay Built by the Home Depot (3 p.m. – 5 p.m.), and College Football Live (1– 3 p.m.).  Ohio State’s Ryan Day and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher will be among the additional guests joining multiple shows throughout the day’s coverage.

In addition to the shows originating from New Orleans, over the course of four days, nearly every ESPN show will feature flavor from the Big Easy including SportsCenter and Get Up! For the first time, NFL Countdown will be onsite at the CFP National Championship with special editions on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m., and Sunday, Jan. 12, at noon. Championship Drive: Countdown to Kickoff will conclude Sunday’s programming, with a two-hour special beginning at 8 p.m.

ESPN’s extensive studio presence is a prelude to its CFP National Championship presentation, which will feature cutting edge technology on its main telecast and 15 MegaCast productions.

LSU and Clemson Coverage Highlights

  • Tom Rinaldi will report on LSU throughout the weekend while Maria Taylor reports on Clemson. Both reporters will join multiple shows, providing the very latest on each of the participating teams.
  • Chris Fowler sits down with LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney for a joint interview.
  • Kirk Herbstreit spent time on campus with LSU’s Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow and Clemson’s quarterback Trevor Lawrence
  • Trevor’s Last Loss: Trevor Lawrence has never lost a game as a starter at Clemson, and almost went his final three years of high school without one . . . Almost–and it still haunts him. Gene Wojciechowski reports.
  • The Burrow Effect: When Joe Burrow highlighted the issue of food insecurity in Athens County, Ohio during his Heisman speech, it started a movement. With donations now over half a million dollars to the Athens County Food Pantry, a look the impact and meaning that the speech has had to those in need. Jen Lada reports.
  • ESPNU will air a special program around Media Day (9:30 a.m. – noon) on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Inside the College Football Playoff, a four part, all-access series, is available on ESPN+ with the third episode available today. The latest episode provides an inside look at LSU and Clemson’s preparation for the national championship before they arrived in New Orleans. The final episode, available Jan. 16, will follow both teams through Championship Monday.  The series debuted on December 24 following all four College Football Playoff teams into the Semifinals, with the second episode showcasing an in-depth look at the two games.  Sport & Story and Jim Jorden Productions produced the series.

ACC Network and SEC Network will both have an extensive presence in New Orleans with complete coverage of Clemson and LSU. Complete details on ACC Network coverage plans available here. Complete details on SEC Network coverage plans available here.

Championship Monday
Championship Drive will be hosted by Rece Davis and joined by the legendary Lee Corso, Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack from Champion Square just outside Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the show’s first hour before shifting inside the Superdome for the final hour leading into kickoff. Kevin Negandhi, will host from a second set, joined by an array of personalities. Corso will close the show as only he can, with his signature headgear pick—his 348th  headgear pick over the stunt’s 23-year history.

Before ESPN shifts its programming to the Superdome area, College GameDay Built by the Home Depot will air from Jax Brewery, hosted by Davis with Howard, Jesse Palmer and Pollack who will be joined by an array of personalities and guest.

Additional Championship Monday programming includes:

  • Wake up with ESPN’s full day of coverage on Championship Monday as on-site hits from Jax Brewery begin early on SportsCenter, Get Up! and Good Morning America.
  • Golic and Wingo begins at 6 a.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN Radio with Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, Mike Golic, Jr. and Jason Fitz from Walk-Ons Bistreaux and Bar just a stone’s throw from the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
  • Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and host Molly Qerim will take over the Board of Trade at 10 a.m. for two hours of First Take with guests Ryan Clark, Leonard Fournette, McFarland and Marcus Spears.
  • College Football Live begins at 1:30 p.m. from two separate locations. Kevin Negandhi hosts from Jax Brewery, joined by Joey Galloway, Palmer and Jonathan Vilma while Matt Barrie hosts from the riverfront joined by McShay, Jim Mora, Mark Sanchez.
  • Ohio State’s Ryan Day and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher will be on-site throughout Championship Monday coverage appearing across multiple shows. Additional coaches may be added to the line-up.

Multi-Network Pregame Shows

In addition to Championship Drive, ESPN presents a multi-network, multi -platform countdown to kickoff:

  • Pregame Field Pass ( ESPN2 at 7 p.m.), features Adam Amin, Steve Levy, Pat McAfee and Dan Orlovsky with all access from field level as the duo gives fans a glimpse of the pre-game atmosphere inside Mercedes-Bez Superdome and a focus on the pregame warmups of both teams.
  • ACC Network’s The Huddle (6 p.m.) will air from the Superdome with Chris Cotter, Eric Mac Lain, EJ Manuel and Mark Richt.
  • SEC Network’s SEC Nation Presented by Dr. Pepper (6 p.m.) hosted by Laura Rutledge and joined by Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears, Paul Finebaum, Ryan McGee and Marty Smith. Analysts Gene Chizik and Greg McElroy will also join the crew for pre-game insight.
  • ESPN’s digital programming includes The College Football Playoff Show (7 p.m.) with Golic, Jr., Fitz and Trevor Scales, streamed on ESPN App, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Harry Douglas and Omar Raja join the show this year.


Media contacts:

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

Kimberly Elchlepp at 860-424-2923; [email protected] and @kimelchlepp

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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