The “Voices” broadcast has been one of the most entertaining parts of ESPN’s Megacast over the last few years, featuring popular ESPN personalities hanging out in a house party-esque atmosphere during the CFP National Championship. The 2017 edition was particularly entertaining, with Bill Walton dressed as Uncle Sam and saying very Bill Walton things.

For tonight’s Alabama-Georgia game, ESPN changed up the “Voices” format, which is airing on ESPNU. Rather than just the one group of ESPN personalities, there are five, and they’re all shown on their own box on the ESPNU screen (along with the ESPN broadcast of the game, making for six boxes on the screen).

There’s the “Cool Room”, “ESPN at LA Live”, SportsCenter, Dan Le Batard Show,  and NFL Live (which doesn’t seem necessary with the Coaches’ Film Room on ESPNEWS).

The idea is neat with this much variety, but it isn’t going all that smoothly (and doesn’t feature Bill Walton this time).

https://twitter.com/Adam_Jacobi/status/950536603218464769

https://twitter.com/JMKTV/status/950534862896844800

One issue is that the viewer can’t even control which of the five feeds they’re able to listen to on ESPNU; the feed is just randomly changed in the middle of conversations.

It’s hard to tell who’s talking on each feed if you’re watching on TV, since the feeds are in these tiny boxes. And it’s even more difficult to tell who’s talking when the feed constantly changes (especially if you’re not paying attention to the TV screen the whole time).


And here we have all five feeds talking at the same time:

The separate feeds are available on the WatchESPN app, but many users tweeted about buffering issues and the delay of those feeds (along with all 20 feeds of the Megacast).

https://twitter.com/tyduffy/status/950545224333438982

So, the recommendation here would be to go back to the previous “Voices” format on next year’s Megacast (and ideally with Bill Walton back).

And if ESPN really wants to stick with the current format, there should at least be an interactive option for fans to be able to pick their feed on the channel, like DirecTV users can for game mix channels on sports packages and events (such as NFL Sunday Ticket and The Masters).

Regardless, at least there’s always the Film Room channel option, which remains fantastic.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.