Pat McAfee and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions have agreed to a deal to simulcast six college football games on ESPN2 this season.
Manning’s team will produce the broadcasts while McAfee hosts. The feed should be similar to the ManningCast in that the traditional broadcast airs on ESPN while McAfee and Omaha provide a looser alternate just up the dial.
ESPN has not announced the specific slate of games that McAfee will broadcast, though he says the network has ensured him marquee matchups.
McAfee and guests are to broadcast from the Thunderdome, the site of WWE during the COVID-19 pandemic. For those unaware:
McAfee and Manning discussed the partnership on Thursday:
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 4, 2022
The success of the ManningCast has prompted a newfound interest in alternate feeds. Networks are looking for existing stars to provide a unique broadcast experience that appeals to demographics bored with robotic, tiresome game-calling.
ESPN added the KayRod feed with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez to Sunday Night Baseball this season as its MLB equivalent to Peyton and Eli.
We now await for the inevitable Stephen ACast during the NBA season.
It’s not just ESPN. Amazon Prime Video, which also held talks with McAfee, signed the viral sports-comedy group Dude Perfect to host a Thursday Night Football feed this season.
Like McAfee, Dude Perfect has a large built-in social following. We reported on the partnership between Amazon and the group this week:
“Thursday Night Football stands to lose older viewers this season. The average NFL viewer is over 50 years old — and people over 65 don’t know what an Amazon Prime Video is. They’d rather watch re-airs of “Gunsmoke” than learn how to stream a football game.
“So the NFL needs to replace potentially lost viewers with younger fans, many of whom follow games via social media. Dude Perfect helps in that regard.
“On YouTube, Dude Perfect has 58 million subscribers, second only to WWE among sports channels.”
McAfee should provide a similar experience during the college football season, even if he doesn’t have a state-of-the-art “Dunk Tank Drive” at his disposal — no wonder Dude Perfect got the gig.
ESPN hopes to see McAfee and Omaha Productions appeal to viewers who’d otherwise be indifferent to the matchup on screen, as the ManningCast did during even the most anticlimactic of games.