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ESPN Goes Big For CFB Playoff Final

Jason Barrett

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After finding critical and production success with its “BCS Megacast” for last year’s BCS National Championship Game, ESPN has plans to super-size its coverage for the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship on Jan. 12, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Though specific staffing plans are still being finalized, ESPN will offer multiple viewing options for what it is calling the “CFP Megacast,” the network’s biggest production to date. This upcoming Megacast will offer a different production on every ESPN television network (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line), multiple options on ESPN3, and the game coverage on ESPN Radio and ESPN International. The main broadcast will appear on ESPN.

As a reminder, ESPN used six of its television platforms last year as well as audio and digital outlets to offer viewers extra content for the Florida StateAuburnthriller. What stood out most for me — as well as ESPN execs — was the “BCS Film Room” featuring Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Boston College coach Steve Addazio and Pitt coach Paul Chryst as well as ESPN analysts Matt Millen, Chris Spielman and (a really good) Tom Luginbill providing X-and-O analysis. It was smart television, minimally produced. It was one of the rare debut products by ESPN that produced near universal acclaim.

The Film Room will return, which is great news for X’s and O’s junkies. The network is still working out which coaches and ESPN talent will be part of the room.

• Other CFP Megacast platforms include “ESPN Voices,” which will be similar to last year’s BCS Title Talk. That platform (which played flat last year) had a rotating group of ESPN staffers discussing the game in real time.

• There will be a platform featuring only the natural sounds of the game and coverage of the halftime performances by each band.

• For the AlabamaOhio State Sugar Bowl semifinal on Thursday, ESPN will air an edition of the “Finebaum Film Room” on the SEC Network during the ESPN broadcast of the game. The program aired on the SEC Network for the Iron Bowl and featured SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum hosting his popular call-in show throughout the game, joined by SEC Network regulars. If Alabama defeats Ohio State, ESPN officials say they will consider airing an edition on the SEC Network for the title game.

• A new Megacast option with great potential: “Off the Ball” will feature former players and coaches, and current ESPN analysts, focusing on the plays away from the ball, including offensive and defensive line play, wide receiver-defensive back matchups, and coaching strategy.

• There will be a “DataCenter” featuring analytics, curated social media reaction and more.

• ESPN will have a channel called “Command Center” with enhanced statistics utilizing a split screen application with live game action and immediate replays of every play. The coverage will use the ESPN Radio broadcast call.

• There will be a platform where viewers can watch the title game from the above stadium “SpiderCam” angle.

• For those who love crowd shots, there will be a dedicated “Taco Bell Student Section” featuring a camera in the student section of each team.

One bit of staffing news for the semifinals: The following reporters will be embedded with each of the playoff teams leading up to the games: Tom Rinaldi (Oregon), Samantha Ponder (Florida State), Kaylee Hartung (Alabama), and Marty Smith (Ohio State).

Last year’s title game averaged 25.572 million viewers on ESPN, When the Megacast elements were added from ESPN2 and ESPNNEWS (the other ESPN platforms do not get rated), the game drew 26,061,000 viewers.  ESPN said WatchESPN (ESPN3) generated 773,000 unique viewers for viewers across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN3 and ESPN Goal Line collectively.

Credit to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated who originally published this article

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Hugh Douglas and Joe Giglio Celebrate Anniversary on 94 WIP

“Happy Anniversary, Hugh!…Yes, it is the one year anniversary of the midday show, of the change at WIP. Our key cards still work here, they still let us in this morning.”

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Logo for WIP Middays with Hugh Douglas and Joe Giglio
Courtesy: 94 WIP

94 WIP hosts Hugh Douglas and Joe Giglio celebrated their one-year anniversary as the midday show in Philadelphia today. Following Angelo Cataldi’s retirement in 2023 and the subsequent move of DeCamara and Ritchie taking his place in mornings, Douglas and Giglio formed the station’s new midday show.

Giglio started the show, “Happy Anniversary, Hugh!…Yes, it is the one year anniversary of the midday show, of the change at WIP. Our key cards still work here, they still let us in this morning.”

Douglas, who had been part of the morning show at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta prior to starting with Giglio on 94 WIP, had mixed emotions. He was excited for the show, but was also reminded that he had been in Philadelphia now for a full year and had yet to find his permanent place to live. Giglio said he believes the reasoning is simply Douglas’ attention to the show and nothing else.

Giglio took a moment to thank those who help with and listen to the show. “We appreciate everyone who has been a part of the show for the last year,” he said. “We are excited for the next year to get started.”

Douglas played in the NFL for ten years, spending time with the Jets, Eagles and Jaguars.

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Los Angeles Dodgers Extend with Latino Media Network in LA; Add Coverage in Las Vegas and Fresno

“As a lifelong Latina Dodgers fan, this collaboration is a dream come true,” said LMN founder Stephanie Valencia.

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Los Angeles Dodgers logo along with the Latino Media Network logo

Latino Media Network announced a new partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers which will extend their current agreement in LA and add coverage in both Las Vegas and Fresno.

According to a release from the company, Dodger games will continue to broadcast on the flagship Los Angeles based KTNQ 1020 AM, but will now also expand the broadcast to KLLE 107.9 FM in Fresno and KISF 103.5 FM HD2 in Las Vegas, increasing the team’s reach to more than three million Hispanic potential Dodger fans. Beyond the expanded markets, the new partnership between Latino Media Network and the Dodgers will include more team and sports programming and increased community-based events.

“As a lifelong Latina Dodgers fan, this collaboration is a dream come true,” said LMN founder Stephanie Valencia. “This partnership is beyond baseball – it is about our Latino community. There is arguably no more dedicated Latino fan base to any other team in the MLB than Latinos to Los Doyers and that is in great part to KTNQ, which has been a part of Dodgers history for decades. KTNQ is still how thousands of Latino families listen to Dodger baseball, and I am excited to help expand the Dodgers fan base in a meaningful way in what will be such a historic year for the team.”

“The Dodgers’ history in the Latino community is without parallel in the world of sports, and that includes broadcasts in Spanish dating back to the 1950s and the franchise’s arrival in Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles Dodgers Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Lon Rosen. “We could not be more pleased to team up with LMN not only to extend this arrangement but also expand it on a geographical and programming level. This partnership is great for the Dodgers, great for baseball and most importantly, great for our community.”

LMN’s roster of sports teams include the Miami Marlins, Miami Heat, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Fire, Chicago Blackhawks, Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, FC Dallas, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Christian University.

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Gregg Giannotti: Ryan Clark Wants to “Work Less and Get Paid More”

“If I was an executive, why would I ever hire him? He’s been fantastic, but if I was the one writing the checks…why am I going to pay him for what he did and not what he’s going to do now?”

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Ryan Clark
Courtesy: Allen Kee, ESPN Images

Last week, former NFL player Ryan Clark posted on his X account about his contract status with ESPN. Then, over the weekend, another post made it clear his contract has now expired with ESPN, where he has worked for the last decade.

“I’m so grateful for the decade of work they allowed me to do on the world’s greatest sports platform,” Clark said in his second post.

Where Clark ends up remains to be seen, however, what appears to be clear from his social posts is he is expecting to get paid more than his last contract with ESPN and he would like to put in less work.

“This started three years ago,” Clark says in the video. “[Clark’s deal with ESPN] wasn’t what [he] wanted. I realized I had to do more. Honestly, I felt played. I felt like I deserved something that they didn’t feel like I deserved. And I said, ‘In three years, I’ll be the best in the world doing this, that there will be no stone left unturned, I’ll leave no doubt that there was nobody in the world that was like me.’ I went on every show they put me on and made sure I crushed. So now here we are again, the season’s over, Inside the NFL is finished, and someone’s gotta pay the piper.”

On Boomer & Gio this morning, Gregg Giannotti was joined by Jerry Recco as Boomer Esiason takes some time off. The two discussed the social posts and videos as ‘Gio’ said Clark had, “Put out this hype video about his broadcasting free agency, which is something I have never seen before.”

Giannotti noted he has a bit of a history with Ryan Clark, who was a weekly guest of his when both were in Pittsburgh. According to Giannotti, Clark once called in and said he was sick and could not do the weekly visit and then showed up on a national radio show. Despite that, Giannotti and Recco both said they believe Clark is excellent at what he does and might deserve more money, however, this video did him no favors.

“Not only is this hype video and him feeling himself too much a turn off, but he just bascially said he did all of his work already,” said Giannotti. “And now he wants to get paid for the work that he did, but he wants to work less and make more money.”

Recco replied, “If I was an executive, why would I ever hire him? He’s been fantastic, but if I was the one writing the checks…why am I going to pay him for what he did and not what he’s going to do now?”

Giannotti added, “I had never in my life seen something like that, from a player, much less a broadcaster…I understand that he has done a really nice job and he is going to be a hot commodity and a lot of guys are getting paid in this business and he’ll probably get paid, but if I was someone that was going to hire him I would be like…’I like everything about you but this thing’…I don’t like this video at all…I have never seen anything like it.”

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