The 2021 college football bowl season is upon us! The regular season has come and gone, conference champions have been crowned, and the College Football Playoff field has been set.
ESPN will carry 41 bowl games this season. That begins Dec. 17 at noon with the Bahamas Bowl featuring Middle Tennessee and Toledo and ends Jan. 10 with the CFP National Championship game in Indianapolis.
The network announced on Wednesday its broadcasting teams on the TV and radio sides for the CFP semifinal games, the Capital One Orange Bowl featuring top-seeded Alabama versus number four seed Cincinnati, and the Cotton Bowl Classic featuring a 2 vs. 3 seed matchup in Michigan and Georgia.
In Miami Gardens for the Orange Bowl, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will be in the TV broadcast booth while Holly Rowe and Marty Smith will handle sideline reporting duties. For ESPN Radio, Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III and Quint Kessenich will be on the call.
In Arlington for the Cotton Bowl, play-by-play will be handled by Sean McDonough, color commentary from Todd Blackledge, with Molly McGrath and Laura Rutledge reporting from the sidelines. Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones and Ian Fitzsimmons will handle radio duties.
Kevin Winter and Kirk Morrison will be back in Bristol, Conn. handling pre-game, halftime and post-game festivities for ESPN Radio.
The network has yet to announce its broadcast crews for the national championship game.
But ESPN did announce who would be calling the New Year’s Six lineup of games, which includes the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One, the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
In Atlanta for the Peach Bowl will be Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III and Quint Kessenich. Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky and Kris Budden will be in Glendale for the Fiesta Bowl. Fowler, Herbstreit and Rowe, along with Tiffany Blackmon, will call the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, while in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl will be Joe Tessitore, Greg McElroy and Katie George.
The full lineup of broadcasters being used for all 41 bowl games the ESPN family of networks is carrying can be found at this link.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.