ESPN is planning revolutionary coverage for this year's BCS title game between #1 Florida State and #2 Auburn like nothing the sports world has ever seen before. Bristol is committing its full arsenal of resources, on-air talent, and networks to covering the game with what they're calling the "BCS Megacast." The network announced plans to offer different feeds for the BCS title game across nearly every ESPN platform in news first reported by USA Today.
Not only will you be able to watch the traditional game telecast on ESPN, but you'll also have at least 7 other viewing options in which to consume Auburn vs Florida State on ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, and ESPN3…
ESPN: Traditional game coverage with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit.
ESPN2: “BCS Title Talk”
"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."
ESPNEWS: “BCS Film Room” on ESPNEWS
"will feature 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."
ESPN Classic: “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. Classic’s coverage will include the halftime performances of the Florida State and Auburn marching bands."
ESPN Goal Line: “BCS Command Center”
"will provide 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."
ESPN3: Auburn and Florida State radio feeds
"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 will include the halftime performances of the Florida State and Auburn marching bands."
ESPN3: “BCS Campus Connection”
"will showcase live fan reactions from various watch parties within the home markets of Auburn and Florida State into the game coverage."
ESPN3: “BCS SpiderCam"
"Fans will be able to watch the entire game from the above stadium camera angle"
Some of these alternate feeds look more appetizing than others. BCS Title Talk on ESPN2 looks like a train wreck. Could you imagine Mark May and Lou Holtz analyzing the game with a B level celebrity or ex-reality show star while annoying Tweets from LeBron James about the game are shoved in your face? Yikes. That's enough to give you nightmares.
On the other hand, BCS Film Room could be the total opposite. Coaches and former players breaking down film in real time sounds like an awesome idea if the idea and the technology can be applied live as the game is happening. For the hardcore X's and O's junkie, that might be your go-to option for a completely new, insightful way to watch a football game. The ESPN Classic feed featuring the ambient sound of the game is another appealing option for anyone hoping to avoid a sequel to Brent Musburger drooling over Katherine Webb. (She's an Auburn alum so there's a chance!)
This seems to be an industry trend with networks offering more avenues for coverage of huge live events. We're seeing Turner experiment with team-specific broadcasts for the Final Four next year, but this takes it to another level. This is one of the most interesting examples of the importance of top shelf live events. These enormous corporations clearly feel that unique telecasts of highly watched games will provide more viewers and revenue than whatever else is on the schedule. Sorry World Series of Poker reruns. Clearly ESPN feels the trade-off of eating into their own audience on the mothership is worth this total saturation across their "family of networks" and it'll end up being a net increase in viewers.