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ESPN College Gameday Doesn't Always Want A Stadium Backdrop

Friday, September 26, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:46 PM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Sept 26, 2008) - The ESPN College GameDay caravan - 5 or so tractor trailers, 80 people, and corporate sponsor tents arrived in Athens, GA this week. Most people assumed they would just set up shop at the Tate Student Center like they did in 1998. But construction made this impossible, especially since the size and the scope of the show keeps growing.

With new construction at the Tate Student Center talking up a lot of space, ESPN needed a different location for the ESPN College GameDay compound.
Photograph Copyright 2008 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

So working with the university, ESPN ended up setting up on Myers Quad, which has no view of the stadium. "How could this be?!" screamed fans and bloggers. "ESPN always wants the stadium as a backdrop!" "It just won't be GameDay without a stadium!"

Well it turns out that the protesters are wrong. Michael Fountain, the Senior Coordinating Producer for ESPN College GameDay, says "We would actually prefer to get away from the stadiums and onto the actual campus itself. This is especially true when we are at the school for a night game, and our show is taking place 9-10 hours before kick-off. We get a much better atmosphere by being on the campus. Most schools just assume we want to be by the stadium."

ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer Michael Fountain takes questions from David Hale of the Macon Telegraph (left) and Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News (center).
Photograph Copyright 2008 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

In fact, the only time GameDay will be in the stadium is for the halftime show. The actual show (10:00 AM -Noon ET), the pre-game show, and the post-game show will all be done from Myers Quad. Fountain hopes that they get a good crowd turnout for the pre- and post-game shows, as well as the show. However, this location may backfire on him at those times as most people will be heading to north campus or remote parking.

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