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College Football

College Football Playoff National Championship: Tampa Overtaken by ESPN Studio Shows Beginning Friday through Tuesday


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ESPN Megacast Release:
SEC Studio Release:
Chris Fowler/Kirk Herbstreit Media Call transcript:

Downloadable ESPN Images: Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl

  • More than 70 Hours of Coverage across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network
  • 24-consecutive Hours of Preview Content Leading into Game
  • Several Editions of SportsCenter, College Football Live, College GameDay and Championship Drive lead into College Football Playoff National Championship

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network will offer more than 70 hours of coverage starting Friday, Jan. 6, leading into and following the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T featuring Alabama vs. Clemson (Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN) from downtown Tampa and Raymond James Stadium. Beginning Sunday, there will be more than 24-consecutive hours of College Football Playoff National Championship preview content flooding ESPN networks.

ESPN will be live from four primary locations: Curtis Hixon Park, Amalie Arena, Tampa Convention Center and Raymond James Stadium.

A deep roster of ESPN analysts, as well as college head coaches Gus Malzahn (Auburn) across ESPN networks and Jim McElwain (Florida) on SEC Network, plus a variety of special guests, will appear on multiple shows, which include SportsCenter, College GameDay Built by The Home Depot, Championship Drive, College Football Live, SEC Nation, SEC Now, Mike & Mike and First Take. In addition, ESPN analysts will appear on ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight.

Championship Monday – January 9
ESPN’s college football-centric shows, College Football Live (1-2 p.m.), College GameDay (2-5 p.m.), Championship Drive (6-7:30 p.m.) and College Football Pregame (7:30-8 p.m.) will lead into the presentation of the national championship game, available on ESPN, ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes, as well as 11 alternate productions.

  • College Football Live – from inside Raymond James Stadium
    • Hosts: Joe Tessitore and Adnan Virk
    • Analysts: Paul Finebaum, Joey Galloway and Booger McFarland
    • Reporters: Samantha Ponder and Tom Rinaldi
  • College GameDay – from outside Raymond James Stadium
    • Hosts: Rece Davis and Stan Verrett
    • Analysts: Galloway, Mack Brown, Desmond Howard, Mark May, David Pollack, Tim Tebow,  Todd McShay, Jesse Palmer and Jonathan Vilma
    • Guests: Malzahn and Ice Cube
    • Reporters: Ponder, Rinaldi and Marty Smith
    • Elements: (More to be added in coming days)
      • Memorable moments of the 2016 college football season will be revisited and more
  • Championship Drive  – from inside Raymond James Stadium
    • Hosts: Davis
    • Analysts: Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Howard, Pollack, along with Brown and Vilma
    • Guests: Malzahn
    • Reporters: Ponder, Rinaldi and Smith
  • College Football Pregame  – from inside Raymond James Stadium
    • Hosts: Davis
    • Analysts: Corso, Herbstreit, Howard, Pollack, along with Brown
    • Reporters: Ponder, Rinaldi and Smith

On SEC Network, SEC Nation (6-8 p.m.) will be live from inside Raymond James Stadium, with Maria Taylor, Finebaum, Tebow, McFarland, Marcus Spears, Greg McElroy, Laura Rutledge and special guest McElwain. SEC Now will provide post-game coverage from the field following the trophy presentation.  The Paul Finebaum Show (3-6 p.m.) begins at its normal Monday time, but from the CFP Tailgate area. Full details on SEC Network’s comprehensive coverage all weekend can be found here.

Highlights on Championship Monday:


  • SportsCenter:AM: Segments from Tampa with anchor Kevin Negandhi and several ESPN analysts (ESPN from 7-10 a.m.)
    • At 9:30 a.m., Negandhi, along with the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame, will announce the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame inductees
  • SportsCenter Coast to Coast: with Cari Champion and David Lloyd in Tampa, and joined by Finebaum (ESPN2 at 11 a.m.)
  • SportsCenter College Football Special: with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill in Tampa, and joined by McFarland (ESPN at noon)
  • SportsCenter Face to Face: with Hannah Storm from Tampa will include a joint interview with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban (ESPN2 at noon)
  • SportsCenter: with Sage Steele in Tampa (ESPN2 at 1 p.m.)
  • SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt (postgame on ESPN): Coverage of postgame press conferences and special guests


  • Mike & Mike: Live from the Tampa Convention Center in downtown Tampa and in front of a live audience, the four-hour program (ESPN2 and ESPN Radio at 6 a.m.) will feature numerous guests.
  • First Take: Also live from the Convention Center, Molly Qerim, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman will debate the hottest topics heading into Monday’s game and welcome Tebow and Finebaum, as well as Cedric the Entertainer and USF head coach Charlie Strong (ESPN at 10 am.)
  • Russillo & Kanell: Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell will also record their ESPN Radio shows Monday and Tuesday from Jackson’s Bistro in Tampa (ESPN Radio at 1 p.m.)
  • ESPNU National Championship Countdown: Host Matt Schick and analysts Tom Luginbill and Mike Bellotti will take an in-depth look at both Alabama and Clemson, including analysis, interviews and feature stories, plus countdown some of the best and worst moments of the season from ESPNU studios in Charlotte (5 p.m.)
  • College Football Final: Live from the sidelines, a special championship post-game edition hosted by Virk with analysts Galloway, Kanell and Vilma (ESPN2)

Friday, Jan. 6 – Sunday, Jan. 8
ESPN’s multi-network coverage from Tampa begins Friday, Jan. 6, with SportsCenter segments throughout the day (9 a.m.-1 p.m. & 6-7 p.m.) and a full edition of College Football Live (1-2 p.m.).

College Football Playoff Media Day from Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa (Saturday, Jan. 7) will air on ESPN (8-11:30 a.m.) with SportsCenter’s Sara Walsh and Matt Barrie anchoring, in addition to coverage on ESPNU (9-11:30 a.m.), SEC Network (9-10:30 a.m.) and ESPN3. Alabama will meet with the media first (9-10 a.m.), followed by Clemson (10:30-11:30 a.m.).

Later that evening following ESPN’s telecast of the NFL Wildcard game, SportsCenter will originate from Tampa at 7:25 p.m. with Steele hosting.

Storm will host a two-hour live SportsCenter from Tampa at 8 a.m. on Sunday, while Jay Crawford will anchor segments between 10 a.m. and noon.  At 11 p.m. Steve Levy, John Anderson and John Buccigross will anchor a live edition from Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park to close the day.

ESPN2 will air a two-hour special Championship Drive on Sunday at 8 p.m. hosted by Virk and Smith, and joined by analysts Finebaum, Kanell, Galloway, McShay and Vilma.

Tuesday, Jan. 10
SportsCenter:AM’s (7-10 a.m.) Negandhi will have reports from Tampa and the winning team’s hotel on Tuesday, Jan. 10. The evening SportsCenter (6 p.m.) will feature segments from Crawford from the campus of the winning team.

Additionally, former LSU coach Les Miles and former South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier will join Mike and Mike (6 a.m.), as well as Spurrier on First Take (10 a.m.) – both live from the Tampa Convention Center. Coverage
From stories to photography to infographics and to video to live commentary and more, ESPN Digital & Print will cover the national championship game from all angles.

Reporters Andrea Adelson, Ed Aschoff, Heather Dinich, Chris Low, Ivan Maisel and Ryan McGee will provide full coverage of Alabama, Clemson and everything else surrounding the College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa.

ESPN Digital will also provide updates from campus sites in Tuscaloosa and Clemson. ESPN’s live coverage on its digital platforms will include insight and analysis from reporters, writers and on-air analysts from every division of the company.