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Inside ESPN's Super Bowl Situation Room

February 1, 2008 2:40 PM

ESPN SetEntrenched in downtown Scottsdale, about 10 miles from the University of Phoenix stadium where the NFL will host the championship game, is the ESPN facility where the world's largest sports network is airing 90 hours of domestic Super bowl coverage. That’s the lead-in to the big game. They’re also preparing 65 hours of radio, with a home production facility tucked into several floors of a next-door building.

The ESPN moniker alone has drawn hundreds of fans outside for the outdoor live broadcast, from die-hards to hecklers.

The energy is the same for both fans, producers and talent alike.

"If it ever gets to the point where I don't care about the game, then its time for me to get out," said Chris Berman, host of "Monday Night Countdown." "The Super Bowl is a gathering point, a holiday that's truly American. This one in particular is going to be historical no matter who wins, wither it’s an undefeated season or one of the biggest upsets ever."

Raul Alegre, EPSN Deportes analyst, noted that the NFL frenzy has continued to pick up pace around the world. He says that in recent chats, he has been receiving questions from areas as far south as Peru.

"We follow the same template that domestic does but we have to try a little harder because we appeal to a broader audience," said Mr. Alegre, whose ESPN unit broadcasts in Spanish. "When you go outside the U.S. there are really two segments of audience: 1) knowledgeable abut the game, or 2) just learning the game. So it’s challenging for us to balance both sides of that and not alienate anyone."

On Sunday, during a three-hour "Sunday NFL Countdown," coordinating producer Mike Cambareri and feature producer Greg Jewell have lined up "Grizzly Adams" for a feature on the Patriots beard trend.

They also tracked down the six quarterbacks taken in the NFL draft before Patriots' playcaller Tom Brady to seek their thoughts on the All-Pro quarterback. ESPN lined up everyone from John Elway and Matt Leinart to Pamela Anderson and Stacy Keibler for Kenny Mayne's weekly segment.

“This has been a television person's dream season," said Mr. Cambareri. "I don't think you can ask for much more than an 18-0 team pursuing history."


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