SBD/January 7, 2014/Media

Coaches' "Film Room" The Breakout Feature Of ESPN's BCS Title Game Megacast

Coaches including BC's Steve Addazio (l) predicted Florida State's fake punt
ESPN's "Megacast" for last night's Florida State-Auburn Vizio BCS National Championship game attempted to "give a little something (or a lot, depending how often you clicked the remote) to every fan," according to Reid Cherner of USA TODAY. Viewers who wanted a "wonkier breakdown" of the action than offered by game announcers Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN "could move to ESPNews and get coaches," such as Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Pittsburgh's Paul Chryst and Boston College's Steve Addazio, breaking down the game along with ESPN's Matt Millen and Chris Spielman. The group, which "seemed to relish coaching two other teams, not only gave the why of the past play but ventured into making the next call." None of the participants "held back on criticism of how Florida State struggled early with Auburn's speed." They also called an FSU "fake punt seconds before it happened in the second quarter." Meanwhile, the "party was on ESPN2, where things were looser with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith hosting," and guests such as actors Cheryl Hines and Columbus Short appearing (USA TODAY, 1/7). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes the concept of ESPN Classic's "Sounds of the Game" was "excellent -- no play-by-play, just natural audio, perfect for the bedroom acoustics -- but the channel isn’t in HD." Meanwhile, the coaches featured on ESPNews' "Film Room" were "definitely in their element -- respectful, insightful and manageable in the ways they could foresee plays and formations." This approach "really worked well as an entertaining and informative dynamic." However, ESPN2’s "Title Talk" concept "became the place to go if watching the game was secondary to hearing yourself yack incessantly" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/7). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette writes "Film Room" was an "ideal option for viewers that are football junkies, providing you were willing to put up with seeing the game on a much smaller screen" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/7).

FINDING GOLD IN THEM HILLS: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote on his Twitter feed the "Film Room" is a "great reminder that when ESPN dials back on the self-promo & embrace debate BS, they can be revolutionary and great." Golf Channel's Gary Williams wrote, "ESPNews crushing it with film room format in real time of BCS title game. Very clever." The South Bend Tribune's Tyler James: "Like the Megacast on ESPNews. They could show less of the back of their heads, but cool to see coaches dissecting the game live." ESPN Radio 950 Richmond's Greg Burton: "Enjoying the megacast on ESPNNews. Very cool idea. Commentary exposes alot of armchair QB's seem." CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco: “I just loved watching the Coaches Room for the title game. Spielman is really, really good. Sumlin too.” Houston-based KILT-AM's Sean Pendergast: "I love the honesty of the Film room Megacast. Guy drops ball they all groan openly at how bad it is. Like watching on couch w buddies. Great." The San Antonio Express-News' Tim Griffin: "This megacast stuff is kind of cool. How 'bout doing the Super Bowl this way, too." SI's Stewart Mandel: "ESPN's experiment seems to be wildly successful, more people tweeting about the alt channels than the game itself."

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: While the "Film Room" feed on ESPNews played to rave reviews, words were not as kind for ESPN2's "Title Talk." Bleacher Report's Dan Levy wrote on Twitter, "Is anyone watching ESPN2 over Brent/Herbie? If so, tell me the exact moment Jesse Palmer freaks out and yells 'I put on a tie for this!?!?'" From Awful Announcing's feed: "By the 4th Quarter, this ESPN2 feed may devolve into some of the best trainwreck television that’s ever been produced."
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