The Many, Many Networks of ESPN
So, you may have heard that the first-ever National Championship for college football is being played tonight and broadcast on ESPN. But it's not that simple. Do you have any idea how many of the ESPN channels the game will be on?
If you answered 10, you're...well, too low. The answer is 12.
The game will be on ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line, several ESPN3 online channels, the ESPN radio network, and the ESPN channel for armed services.
Obviously it won't be the same coverage everywhere. Rather they're providing different broadcasts on each channel.
The main play-by-play is of course on ESPN. But for the other channels they'll be having things like -- one channel with coaches analyzing the game. Another will have a range of ESPN analysts giving commentary. Another with have a camera focused just on the coaches. And one with the camera overhead looking down. One channel will be focusing on the student sections. And another will be providing a stream of statistics. I believe one channel will be split screen. And so on.
Actually, I like this. Yes, it's overkill -- obviously. But I'm sure ESPN doesn't expect high viewership for any of these -- yet they probably figure that their base of sports fans will mostly be watching the football game anyway, and the other channels won't have many viewers anyway. But mainly, I like when anything in the media uses the technology it has at its disposal. And this surely does that. (For instance, a lot of sports coverage bothers be that it doesn't use its technology very well. I don't know why most TV sportscasts almost never use split-screen. In baseball, when a runner is on first base, likely to steal, why on earth not split the screen and show the pitcher and runner? In football, why not split the screen and put the quarterback in one half, and a linebacker in another? The options are near-endless, yet they almost never do.
So, that ESPN recognizes that they have all this technology and channels at the ready under the umbrella of their network and has chosen the use them at their fullest, most power to them and godspeed. Yes, it's overkill -- a couple channels showing some other sport, like basketball or soccer, for fans would have been okay -- but doing this is, at its heart, a good idea. And to put it on every ESPN channel, purely for the sake of promotion, makes sense, as well.
My only fear is that they'll do this next year every time the Yankees play the Red Sox...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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