ESPN employees have had an eye on a variety of ways to cover next season’s debut of the College Football Playoff since the network signed an agreement to televise every game for 12 years. The network teased fans with a promo during Monday’s megacast of the final BCS title game, and now attention turns more directly to coverage plans for the four-team, three-game playoff to decide the national champion.
Front Row spoke with Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions Ilan Ben-Hanan to get his thoughts on coverage plans and more for the playoff.
When will you start the planning for ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff?
We have already begun laying some groundwork for College Football Playoff coverage. This year’s BCS Megacast provided a lot of key learnings for how we plan to cover next year’s championship game.
Will it make it more difficult or easier to schedule marquee non-conference matchups?
We have already seen schools reaching out to schedule tougher non-conference games because the College Football Playoff has made it clear that the Selection Committee will be looking long and hard at the kind of challenges teams give themselves. Fans will benefit for sure.
Other than a four-team playoff, what other differences will fans see with next year’s coverage?
The August launch of the SEC Network is something we’re all looking forward to – we’ve seen that fan appetite for college football is insatiable, and adding one more network to our mix will allow us to serve fans better than ever before. New Year’s Day 2015 will be the best day on the sports calendar.
Lastly, what’s your favorite memory of the BCS?
I don’t think I’ll ever experience a more electric atmosphere than the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4, 2006 when Texas defeated USC for the National Championship.