The Storytellers of the 2020 CFP National Championship

The Storytellers of the 2020 CFP National Championship

While many focus on the Heisman winner, Joe Burrow, or Coach O winning the big one for the Big Easy as the story of the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, I tend to focus on those who helped build and tell the story itself. This year, some of the most unique storytelling took place right within the Mercedes Benz Superdome, and simultaneously from a studio back in LA.

While the College Football Playoff (CFP) team leveraged the screens within the stadium to tell their story to fans in attendance, the team at Fox Sports took to the second screen connecting with fans in an innovative and socially-driven show separate from the national game broadcast. Both approaches brought forth entertaining and engaging moments that we as storytellers can all learn from.

Bringing the National Conversation to New Orleans

For fans in attendance in New Orleans, they had a front row seat to the top commentary nationwide throughout the game as the CFP team brought the conversation to the big screen. Whether it was congratulatory tweets from alumni and celebrities after the game, or reactionary comments during, the content highlighted on screen at the game elevated the moment and added context to the play on the field.

By leveraging content already out on social, the CFP team added a new layer to their game production and kept fans engaged in the show throughout. Instead of scrolling through their phones looking for entertainment during stoppages of play, fans had the most relevant and entertaining posts right in front of them each timeout. Let’s have a look at some of the top highlights from the show:

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Big Cat of Barstool Sports, Pardon My Take, enjoys some pregame Jambalaya
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Hall of Famer, Barry Sanders, poses with a crew of fellow Hall of Famers
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Former standout Clemson wide receivers, Deandre Hopkins & Sammy Watkins show support for their alma mater
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Congratulatory posts flood the stadium as the final whistle blows and the confetti falls

Storytelling on the Second Screen

Fox Sports capitalized on the large audience around the College Football Playoff National Championship game by running their own second-screen experience that streamed live across Twitter, YouTube, and Caffeine. They gave their viewers a chance to enjoy the game with some of Fox Sports’ biggest talent including Joel Klatt, Reggie Bush and Mike Pereira. This group brought a wide range of expert perspectives to the stream, from officiating in big games to having actually played in them.

Fox invited the audience to predict scores, ask questions about potential missed calls and hear backstories from Bush’s college career including his National Championship experience. This approach created a unique second screen experience where the viewer could get a much deeper level of analysis that went beyond your traditional play-by-play.

In second screen shows like this, the format is inherently social, and Fox Sports embraced that by leveraging the audience tuning in to power the conversation within the show. During pregame, viewers wrote in with questions to the talent about how they expected the game to go like this one directed to Reggie Bush.


After the game to wrap up the show, it was only fitting that the LSU social team took center stage.


Though the CFP and Fox Sports producers had different mediums to work with, they both told powerful stories that resonated with, and engaged their audience. They leaned on social to capture the gravity of the moment and drive the content of their show. They leveraged the voice and stories of others to help write their own, and it was a powerful one that we’ll all remember.