ESPN's "GameDay" Starts, Ends In Ft. Worth; "Fox College Saturday" Canceled
ESPN will "begin and end its coverage of this year’s college football season from Sundance Square Plaza," bringing its "College GameDay" broadcast to downtown Ft. Worth next month and again in January, according to Sandra Baker of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer for "College GameDay" Lee Fitting said, "It’s a can’t-miss spot. Sundance Square has great natural energy and it’s got a great vibe to it." Baker notes the first "GameDay" telecast will be around the Florida State-Oklahoma State Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on Aug. 30 and the final show will be around the inaugural CFP National Championship on Jan. 12. Fitting said that ESPN chose setting up at Sundance Square Plaza instead of outside AT&T Stadium "in the hopes of drawing out not only fans for the two teams, but all college football fans." Fitting: "We want to set a GameDay attendance record here. We want fans to come out and make signs. We want to be blown away" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/30).
OFFSEASON CONDITIONING PLAN: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote Fox Sports execs have "made some excellent moves during the offseason to improve" the net's college football broadcasts. Tim Brando was "brought in to call games on Thursday and Saturday," which is "an excellent hire." Fox execs also are "very high" on newcomer Dave Wannstedt after he "crushed an audition." In addition, sideline reporter Molly McGrath has "been promoted to the No. 1 broadcast team," and it is "clear from speaking to Fox Sports executives and on-air staffers that McGrath has been tabbed for big things." Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel give Fox "some much needed college football reporting gravitas." Meanwhile, the net has "abandoned" its "Fox College Saturday" pregame show "after getting crushed by GameDay both in viewership and editorial smarts." Fox instead is "considering debuting a Friday night pregame show" on FS1 that would "include a segment in Las Vegas that focuses on gambling lines" (SI.com, 7/28).