SBD/December 19, 2013/Media

ESPN's BCS Title Game Coverage Will Span Six Channels, Each With A Different Approach

ESPN’s family of networks will augment the normal broadcast with different options
ESPN will "offer six different ways to follow" the BCS National Championship game between Florida State and Auburn on Jan. 6, "beginning with the tent-pole program: the game itself," according to Paul Myerberg of USA TODAY. A "number of game-centric viewing options" across ESPN’s family of networks will be "augmenting the normal broadcast," either televised or online via the net’s ESPN3 service. ESPN2 will air "BCS Title Talk," a broadcast "featuring ESPN college football analysts and a number of guest hosts, including coaches ... and celebrities." ESPNNews' "BCS Film Room" will "feature in-depth, play-by-play analysis of the game from a panel of ESPN experts and guests." ESPN Classic will air the "Sounds of the BCS," a feed of the game without "the play-by-play call heard on ESPN." ESPN Goal Line's "BCS Command Center" will "split the screen with live action and replays of the previous play." ESPN3 will provide "team-specific coverage" online with "each school's radio broadcast teamed with isolation cameras on key coaches and players." However, even with the number of secondary shows across the network, no option "takes precedence over ESPN's game broadcast -- the centerpiece of the entire evening’s programming" (USA TODAY, 12/19).

FAIR SHAKE: ESPN Ombudsman Robert Lipsyte wrote sideline reporter Heather Cox's interview with Florida State QB Jameis Winston following the ACC championship game was "one of the more appropriate and professional interviews of the season." ESPN Exec VP/Production John Wildhack in an e-mail wrote, "I thought Heather did an excellent job. Given this was the first time Jameis spoke since the announcement, we felt an obligation to ask questions which pertained to the case." Lipsyte: "I would make a case that Cox’s questions could justifiably have been more pointed and that the unanswered question about Winston’s prior silence could have been asked sooner." Meanwhile, the net's coverage of the "'Famous Jameis' circus leading up to the Duke game ... was suitably restrained." ESPN analysts "went out of their way to remind the audience that issues more serious than X’s, O’s and trophies were involved" (ESPN.com, 12/18).
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