ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ Shines a National Spotlight on the Queen City

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For the second time in three years, Charlotte is set to be the center of attention for college football as it marks the beginning of the first full Saturday of games. The reason for this is the return of ESPN’s popular pregame show, “College GameDay,” to the city’s uptown area.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” at Romare Bearden Park made the Queen City famous nationwide on Saturday morning. The exciting college football event started at around 9 AM in the park before the Dukes Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium.

The most important game of the first full week of college football is the big match between the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina. The game started at 7:30 PM on Saturday.

Desmond Howard, an analyst on “College GameDay,” commented that there are bragging rights on the line in a matchup like this one. He noted that both teams likely recruit from similar regions, adding a heightened sense of competition. Additionally, he highlighted the enthusiastic fanbase who eagerly anticipate such games.

ESPN's 'College Gameday'
ESPN’s ‘College Gameday’ is happening in the Queen City (Credits: The Spun)

The head coaches were interviewed, and Darius Rucker, the famous musician, came as a special guest. Rucker made his band Hootie & the Blowfish when he was in college at USC in the 1980s. Fans had the chance to get into the pit, which is the closest area to the stage, starting at 6 AM.

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What is GameDay?

Just like they did in 2021, ESPN set up their show in Romare Bearden Park. The park is close to Bank of America Stadium, where ABC, a sister network, will broadcast the Duke’s Mayo Classic kickoff game between the University of South Carolina and UNC-Chapel Hill tomorrow night.

The  Charlotte Sports Foundation and other local game supporters are thrilled that the show is returning to Romare Bearden Park. The park, surrounded by office buildings and apartments, will make a nice background for the national audience, which is expected audience, which is expected to be around 2 million viewers. 

In 2021, the “GameDay” show in Charlotte had an average of 1.84 million viewers. Lindsey Lloyd, the show’s managing producer, mentioned that they want to highlight the rivalry between the two Carolinas and celebrate it. They plan to involve some local celebrities and connect with the school to encourage more people to come and participate in the event.

ESPN's 'College Gameday'
ESPN’s’ College Gameday’ (Credits: WBTV)

Who will be in the GameDay?

Some well-known personalities like Rece Davis, Howard, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit will be in Charlotte for the event. Rece Davis will host the show, while the others will provide analysis. They have also added Pat McAfee as an analyst since ESPN’s last visit in 2021. The team is completed with reporters Jen Lada and Jess Sims, betting analyst “Stanford Steve” Coughlin, and insider Pete Thamel.

Unfortunately, a few familiar faces from the previous season won’t be there due to company layoffs. David Pollack and Gene Wojciechowski are no longer part of the team, and Chris “Bear” Fallica, known for his betting insights, left to take a similar role at Fox Sports.

This Weekend, “GameDay” will feature appearances from UNC coach Mack Brown and South Carolina coach Shane Beamer at the Romare Bearden Park set. In 2022, “GameDay” achieved its highest viewership in a regular season in its 37-year history, with an average of 2.1 million viewers. 

Additionally, in December 2017, the ESPN pregame show was broadcast from Charlotte as the lead-in to the ACC Football Championship, which was also held at Bank of America Stadium.

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