ATLANTA – Welcome back, MegaCast.
ESPN’s annual biggest single-event production will be activated tonight when Georgia and Alabama take the field for the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
A concept that was thought of over a decade ago, then incubated and tinkered with for many years, came to life in January 2014. After fans got a taste of its capabilities, the multi-network presentation quickly became a staple of ESPN’s season ending college football production.
“We had tested different variations of secondary productions for a number of years, including something in 2006 we called Full Circle,” said ESPN senior coordinating producer Ed Placey, who is at the forefront of the production each year along with managing producer Bryan Jaroch.
Back then and now, the concept was simple: How to make a big game even bigger.
“I remember getting a call from Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions Ilan Ben-Hanan who asked simply, ‘If we were to put a game presentation on every channel, what would you do?’” Placey said.
A simple question resulted in ESPN employees’ passion project.
The result? Tonight’s MegaCast will feature 20 different productions, offering fans a plethora of unconventional ways to watch the sport’s season finale on 10 different ESPN platforms, up from around seven offerings for the first MegaCast. Though the options have expanded, tonight’s MegaCast still offers some of the original ideas, such as the extremely popular Coaches Film Room (at 4:33 mark) and Sounds of the Game telecast
However, fans can now watch the game in a number of alternate views, (All-22, SkyCam and high SkyCam for example) and many of the different presentations now bring in many ESPN personalities into the fray.
“You can’t push these alternate presentations too far,” Placey said. “The main telecast of the game on ESPN is done at the highest level, so anything we do around that on the other networks are exploratory and innovate. It is a safe playground.”
That “playground” has resulted in a number of great moments including some of the examples, presented here from last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T.
Yesterday, less than 24 hours before this season’s MegaCast, Placey confessed, “We think about this year around.”
But ask Placey if he has a favorite MegaCast production, he immediately cracks a smile.
“It is like asking a parent, ‘Who is your favorite child?’”
Tonight, it is time for ESPN’s children to shine, and for many of its employees see their hard work on mega display.