It’s going to be a Cajun-themed weekend for ESPN’s football coverage, with not just one but two studio shows heading to Louisiana.
ESPN’s Saturday morning studio show College GameDay is obviously already headed to Baton Rouge to be on-site for the Top 5 showdown between #1 Alabama and #3 LSU. However, they’re going to have some more company coming from Bristol.
ESPN’s Sunday morning studio show Sunday NFL Countdown will also be making a rare road trip this weekend to New Orleans for a matchup of equal proportion when the 8-0 Rams take on the 6-1 Saints. Host Sam Ponder as well as analysts Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss, Rex Ryan, Charles Woodson, and Louis Riddick will all be on site outside the Louisiana Superdome.
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown is going on the road for just the third time in the program’s 33-year history. This Sunday, Nov. 4, the three-hour NFL pregame show will originate from outside Manning’s Sports Bar and Grill (519 Fulton Street) in New Orleans, just down the street from the Mercedes Benz Superdome, site of the much-anticipated week 9 matchup between the NFC’s top two teams – Los Angeles Rams (8-0) vs. Saints (6-1).
In addition to Countdown in New Orleans, ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depotwill be on the road in Louisiana this weekend. It was announced Saturday that Rece Davis and the GameDay crew will travel to Baton Rouge on Saturday, Nov. 3, for the marquee SEC matchup of No. 1 Alabama (8-0) vs. No. 3 LSU (7-1).
“It’s a big football weekend in Louisiana and ESPN will be a part of it with College GameDay and Sunday NFL Countdown,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Senior Vice President, Events and Studio Production. “With the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team and the No. 1 team in college football playing pivotal away games on consecutive days so close to each other, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to send these two signature shows on the road.”
Sam Ponder will host Countdown (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET) from New Orleans with analysts Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss, Rex Ryan, Charles Woodson and Louis Riddick. NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen, and Adam Schefter, along with senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry, will contribute to the show from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios.
This is actually a really cool idea for ESPN. We all know Sunday morning NFL pregame shows have suffered over the years in trying to find new ways to stay interesting and relevant. Clearly, ESPN has found success with College GameDay over the years by taking the show on the road and making fan involvement a big part of the franchise. While it doesn’t have to be an every week thing, perhaps it’s something ESPN can try more often throughout the regular season to try to make some shows more special and give fans at home a reason to tune in. Anything Countdown can do to tap into the vibe and energy of GameDay is probably a good thing for the franchise.
On the plus side, with GameDay and Countdown happening so close to one another, there should be plenty of opportunities for cross-promotion and interaction between the two shows. Who wouldn’t love to see Lee Corso show up on Sunday morning and put on a mascot head? At least with the Saints, he even has a couple of decent options.