With the College Football Playoff Megacast over for another year, let’s take a look at some of the Bests and some of the Worsts for the concept. ESPN gave the Film Room a bigger audience by programming it on ESPN2 this year when it was on ESPNU last year. ESPN Voices was streamlined this year with six personalities in a studio rather than people being shuffled in and out last year.
And there was the new Off the Ball feature which allowed fans to focus on matchups away from the ball. There was a lot of potential for this year’s Megacast as ESPN tweaked the concept compared to 2014,
Let’s go over some of the best and some of the worst of the Megacast in 2015 and some suggestions for 2016.
The Film Room on ESPN2 was the best of the Megacast by far. Fronted by ESPN analysts Tom Luginbill and Chris Spielman and analyzed by coaches including Dan Mullen (Miss. St.), Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh) and Mike Riley (Nebraska), this was some of the best television of the night. They were on top of plays, weren’t afraid to criticize and gave viewers some insight into coach’s thoughts. The coaches weren’t happy with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer for laying a 40 burger late in the game and did not pull punches.
Sounds of the Game on ESPN Classic which featured the natural sound and no announcers was very good for a stretch. It also had uninterrupted feeds of the bands at halftime.
ESPN Voices. This had to be seen to be believed. There were six ESPN personalities on ESPNU, Michael Wilbon, Mark Schlereth, Julie Foudy, Barry Melrose, Aaron Boone and Jay Bilas. They talked about 1970’s sitcoms to being a grandparent (Schlereth with the line of the night: “You know why grandkids and grandparents get along so well? They have a common enemy: the parents.”). There was eating, silence and did we mention Barry Melrose? This was like your friends hanging around and talking about the game, except it was on TV. We need this for Monday Night Football next year and with beer.
Home Team Radio on ESPN3 gave the home calls from Ohio State and Oregon and it provided a feel for what the broadcasts sounded like in the home markets.
Off the Ball on ESPNews. This had some very good potential, but turned out to be very dull. We switched away very quickly and didn’t go back.
Student Section on ESPN3. Just random shots of the students, mascots and cheerleaders. Didn’t do much for viewers.
ESPN Voices. With Barry Melrose channeling his inner Don Cherry, he got the most air time he’s had since the NHL left ESPN. Plus we had shots Aaron Boone eating and holding a football. The director seemed to be focusing on Boone a lot.
LeBron James tweet. In the first hour of the game, ESPN had to put a James tweet on the screen. Why?
Mark May. He wasn’t seen during the Megacast, but we put him here just because we can.
Overall, the Megacast is a very good concept. The Film Room, Sounds of the Game and yes, ESPN Voices were the channels we visited the most. For next year, the Film Room has to return and perhaps Sounds of the Game could move from ESPN Classic to ESPNews. And maybe adding some outside network voices (like Hoda and Kathie Lee or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler!) to ESPN Voices would make for some interesting television.
The Megacast is an idea whose time has come and would be wonderful if used in moderation and on just a handful of big events.