ESPN’s College Football Playoff Megacast was once again a great success for the network.  Although once again a vast majority of the audience chose the main feed (33.4 million of the 34.1 million total viewers – roughly 98%), the twelve alternative channels and ways to watch the game gave viewers an incredible amount of options.  It also created a lot of buzz and positive interest in ESPN’s broadcasting innovations, which is exactly where the self-proclaimed worldwide leader should be in the sports world.  ESPN should be leading the way in creative, new, insightful, and transformational ways to watch sports.  In purely sports media nerd terms, it’s one of the more fascinating and interesting things that we’ve had the opportunity to cover in the last two years.

To this point, we’ve only seen ESPN break out the Megacast for the BCS or CFP National Championship Game.  But given the amount of buzz it creates and the opportunities to experiment, it’s time for ESPN to expand the Megacast concept.  And even if the network didn’t want to use its various television platforms at its disposal, there’s an unlimited number of available options on ESPN3 to use.  Here now are a few ideas that ESPN and other networks might consider to implement the Megacast elsewhere…

Super Bowl Megacast – NBC

This is really an obvious choice, but also the easiest.  What better venue for a Megacast than the most watched three hours in all of television?  NBC has the Super Bowl this year and while it might be a bit too close to the big game to put a Megacast together, perhaps CBS could think about some of these options for Super Bowl 50…

NBC – Main telecast
NBCSN – NFL Film Room
USA – All 22 Camera
CNBC – Commercial Analysis
MSNBC – Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow, and Chris Matthews bash Republicans for three hours and completely ignore the game.  No seriously, this is what they would do.
E! – Halftime Show Expanded (E! would naturally go the celebrity route and use the game-time as a pregame and postgame channel surrounding the halftime performance)
Bravo – The Dan Patrick Show Live
NFL Network – NFL Films Live (all the sights and sounds that NFL Films has at their disposal in real time would be fairly awesome)
NBC Sports Live Extra – Radio Simulcast #1
NBC Sports Live Extra – Radio Simulcast #2
NBC Sports Live Extra – Spidercam
NBC Sports Live Extra – Refcam
NBC Sports Live Extra – Sounds of the Game

Masters Megacast – ESPN/CBS

To a certain extent, the Masters already has its own Megacast through DirecTV and online options.  Viewers can watch Amen Corner, 15 and 16, or one of two featured groups.  But with The Masters unique as a television experience in golf, how cool would it be to bring some of these different options to television?  Imagine ESPN and CBS teaming together to produce something like this during the Final Round…

CBS – Main Telecast
ESPN – Final Group Only
ESPN2 – Tiger Tracker
ESPNEWS – Film Room (instead of breaking down X’s and O’s, top instructors and former players could analyze swings and various strategies on shots.)
CBS Sports Network – Amen Corner
ESPN3 – Holes 15 and 16
ESPN3 – Advanced Stats/Infographic
ESPN3 – Blimp Cam

Final Four Megacast – CBS/Turner

CBS and Turner experimented in this regard with the “Teamcast” concept last year but it wasn’t quite the success of the Megacast.  The networks brought in announcers that had loose connections to the programs and hadn’t worked together before.  If CBS/Turner want to go ahead with alternate viewing options once again, they should consider following the ESPN3 model and going with simulcasts of the local radio feeds if rights allow.  It could look something like this…

CBS – Main Telecast
TNT – Radio #1 Simulcast
TBS – Radio #2 Simulcast
truTV – Inside the NBA Special (imagine watching the game with the cameras turned on in the studio with Kenny and Charles, yes, I’d want to watch that too)

NBA Finals Megacast

The NBA/NHL/MLB championship series might be a little awkward for the Megacast concept because of them being series instead of one-off events.  Would you roll out the Megacast for each and every game or just for a select few?  For the purposes of this column, let’s say ESPN commits to the Megacast for Game 1 of the NBA Finals…

ABC – Main Telecast
ESPN – Grantland Basketball Hour Live (if Simmons is still around of course)
ESPN2 – NBA Film Room
ESPNEWS – Above the Rim cams
ESPN3 – ESPN Radio Simulcast
ESPN3 – Floor cams
ESPN3 – Local Radio Simulcast #1
ESPN3 – Local Radio Simulcast #2
ESPN3 – Iso cam following the game’s best player for each team

MLB World Series

Just as in the above idea, Fox could go all-in for Game 1 of the World Series.  We saw them test the waters with their “Just A Bit Outside” simulcast during the LCS that focused more on the analytical realm.  That feed was met with positive reviews, so it’s one we’ll likely see Fox come back with for the 2015 postseason.  And while they’re doing that, there’s plenty of other possible ideas…

Fox – Main Telecast
FS1 – Just A Bit Outside Analytics
FS2 – Fox Sports Live… Live!
Fox News – Bill O’Reilly has a special three and a half hour long Talking Points Memo about how he doesn’t like change
Fox Sports Go – Sounds of the Game
Fox Sports Go – The Art of Pitching (a feed where former pitchers solely focus on the mindset and approach of the respective pitchers)
Fox Sports Go – Radio Simulcast #1
Fox Sports Go – Radio Simulcast #2
Fox Sports Go – Clay Travis says Alabama would beat both MLB teams on an endless loop.

So there you have it?  What do you want to see from the next Megacast?

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