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ESPN's FSU-Auburn Game Plan: 'BCS Megacast'

Programmer Will Present National Championship Contest On Six TV Platforms, Plus Audio, Digital Plays 12/26/2013 10:27 AM Eastern

For college football’s big game, ESPN is going mega.

The sports programming giant will tilt all six of its TV platforms, plus audio and digital plays, toward its “BCS Megacast” presentation of the Vizio BCS National Championship between Florida State and Auburn on Monday, Jan. 6, at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

The gambit builds on ESPN’s “Full Circle” presentations featuring various coverage approaches to a single event across multiple TV and digital networks and radio platforms beginning in 2006.

The megacast move also precedes multiple-telecast coverage of the 2014 Final Four. Turner Sports and CBS will produce three different telecasts for each of the two national semifinal games, each with its own set of announcers. The traditional national telecast will run on TBS, while TNT and TruTV will simulcast the same games with announcers and camera angles tailored to each specific team.

“BCS Megacast takes our previous multiplatform telecasts to the next level,” Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, programming and acquisitions, said in a statement. “We realized it would be a tremendous undertaking to coordinate so many coverage variations of the same game when we began brainstorming ideas in September. The exciting part is how much the original idea has grown in the past few months.”

The BCS Megacast initiative will begin with a simulcast of ESPN’s BCS National Championship pregame show at 8 p.m. across ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic and broadband service ESPN3.

Traditional game coverage will be available on ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN International networks and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.

“BCS Title Talk” on ESPN2 will allow fans to eavesdrop on the casual and organic conversations of ESPN college football analysts and special guests such as coaches, players and celebrities discussing the game from an on-site room. On-screen graphics will incorporate game statistics and information as well as a “social stripe” that will provide live social media feedback throughout the telecast.

ESPN News will be home to the “BCS Film Room” featuring ESPN experts, as well as guest coaches and players providing in-depth X and O analysis of the game as it happens from a film room equipped with multiple camera angles and touchscreens.

For its part, ESPN Classic will go audio, serving up a “Sounds of the BCS” presentation featuring only the natural sounds of the game. The telecast will couple ESPN’s on-screen game coverage with the audio originating from numerous microphones located within the stands, field and more as well as the in-stadium sound system. The network’s coverage will encompassthe  halftime performances of the Florida State and Auburn marching bands.

“BCS Command Center” on ESPN Goal Line, the programmer’s ad hoc highlight/scoring channel, will showcase a split-screen application with live game action and immediate replays of every play. The coverage will use the ESPN Radio broadcast call and incorporate live game statistics on the screen.

In cooperation with IMG College, ESPN3 will offer radio calls from the teams’ perspectives. The Florida State- and Auburn-specific coverage will feature the team’s home radio broadcast with an on-screen presentation providing fans with the game feed plus isolated cameras on key coaches and players from that team. The coverage also will include the halftime performances of the Florida State and Auburn marching bands.

“BCS Campus Connection” on ESPN3 will showcase live fan reactions from various watch parties within the home markets of Auburn and Florida State into the game coverage.

ESPN will also afford vistas via “BCS SpiderCam,” which will show the entire game from the above-the-stadium angle at the Rose Bowl.

Each of the ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNEWS presentations will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, on Apple TV and Roku to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

Elsewhere, the worldwide leader is also all-in on the final BCS contest. ESPN The Magazine will extend its popular image-driven “1 Day 1 Game” showcase of an entire day around a specific event with a live feed of pictures posted across the platforms and ESPN social media accounts during the Championship game.

In addition to ESPN.com’s extensive lead-up, in-game and post-game coverage, the PlayCenter app will serve fans with in-progress highlights from the site’s homepage.

ESPN’s game plan also calls for it to use its various social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter within the coverage. Potential content includes behind-the-scenes insights, statistics and information, and interaction with fans.

Beyond the domestic borders, ESPN International networks will televise the BCS national title game in Australia/New Zealand (ESPN Pacific Rim); Latin America North & South; Brazil; Caribbean; Japan (via J-Sports) and Canada (via TSN and RDS). 

ESPN’s broadband service, ESPN Player will provide live and on demand coverage in to more than 40 countries in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while ESPN syndication partners will televise the BCS in the UK, parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Malaysia, India and China.

March