ESPN's CFP MegaCast Viewership Up Slightly Over Last Year's Game
The ESPN MegaCast for LSU's win over Clemson in the CFP National Championship averaged 25.6 million viewers, up 1% from last year's Clemson-Alabama matchup. The MegaCast audience is for the broadcasts on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNews. LSU-Clemson is down from two years ago, when Alabama's last-second win over Georgia drew 28.4 million across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. LSU-Clemson is the best audience for any cable TV telecast -- including non-sports -- since that Alabama-Georgia game. The game peaked at 29.2 million viewers late in the second quarter (9:45-10:00pm ET). ESPN alone averaged 25 million viewers for the title game, up 3% from last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
HIGHS AND LOWS: In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal wrote using a "MegaCast" would help ESPN "improve 'Sunday Night Baseball,' 'Monday Night Football' or any other game it hopes to showcase." It would be "great if every game had the option of pairing coverage with the competing teams' home radio feeds, a Sounds of the Game channel with no announcers and the Command Center offering as many as four simultaneous vantage points with statistics." MegaCasts like ESPN's for the CFP title game "just might be the future." However, Rosenthal also wrote ESPN's streaming was a "loser" for Monday night's game, with many fans reporting "problems on social media." Alabama coach Nick Saban also was listed as a loser, after he "offered excellent analysis with Rece Davis and company," but was "sorely tested by all the talk of how great LSU and Clemson were." Rosenthal also listed ESPN's Kenny Mayne as a loser, as the AT&T commercials featuring Mayne "fashioned to look like interview segments were just ... sad" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/14). THE ATHLETIC's John Walters wrote the addition of Saban to ESPN's coverage was "not only smart but insightful." Meanwhile, Pat McAfee has a "bright future with ESPN's pre-game coverage for a number of reasons: he's comic relief, he's an outlier in terms of ESPN personality types, and finally, and not insignificantly, [Kirk Herbstreit] is fond of him." McAfee "does all the things on air" that Herbstreit "would like to do" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/14).