Another Television First for the Allstate Sugar Bowl

Todd Blackledge, Sean McDonough and Holly Rowe (Photos by ESPN Images)

NEW ORLEANS (December 26, 2019) – The 86th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl will be the first college football bowl game to be broadcast in 4K adding to a string of television firsts for the venerable annual bowl game in New Orleans.

This year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will be available in 4K as part of ESPN’s multi-network presentation. The Allstate Sugar Bowl brought to you in 4K by Samsung QLED will feature native 4K resolution and is available to fans who receive 4K service through Altice, Comcast or DIRECTV. 4K provides superior picture quality; it is a professional production and cinema standard that is exactly four times the previous standard for digital editing and projection. The term “4K” refers to the fact that the horizontal pixel count is roughly four thousand.

The Sugar Bowl has been a part of many significant television firsts including sponsoring the first live television program in New Orleans history (the 1953 Sugar Bowl), becoming the first bowl televised coast to coast in color (1960 Sugar Bowl), breaking the rating record for bowl games with a 25.3 for the 1973 Sugar Bowl and being the first cable television broadcast to surpass 28 million viewers (2015 Sugar Bowl).

This year’s Sugar Bowl television broadcast crew will be anchored by play-by-play man Sean McDonough, who will be returning to the Allstate Sugar Bowl broadcast for the second straight year. A Boston native, McDonough graduated from Syracuse University and has been broadcasting college football, college basketball, baseball, NBA, NHL and NCAA hockey for ESPN since 2000.

Ian Fitzsimmons (l), Barrett Jones and Sean Kelley (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

Todd Blackledge joins McDonough in the booth providing expert color commentary. This will be Blackledge’s eighth Sugar Bowl as a color commentator, but he has the distinction of also having played in the game. Playing for Penn State in the 1983 Sugar Bowl, he threw for 228 yards, including a memorable 47-yard fourth-quarter touchdown connection with Gregg Garrity to clinch a 27-23 victory over No. 1 Georgia. That win wrapped up the national championship for the Nittany Lions. Blackledge was inducted into the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame last year.

Handling sideline duties for ESPN will be Holly Rowe, who is making her seventh Sugar Bowl appearance. A graduate of the University of Utah, Rowe has worked for ESPN since 1997. In addition to college football, she is prominent in ESPN’s coverage of men’s basketball and softball, as well as the NBA and WNBA.

For the 22nd straight year, ESPN Radio will broadcast the Allstate Sugar Bowl nationally. Sean Kelley will provide the play-by-play call while Barrett Jones handles expert analysis. Ian Fitzsimmons will serve as the sideline reporter. A native of Illinois and the former play-by-play voice of the Tulane Green Wave and the New Orleans Pelicans, Kelley has been part of the ESPN Broadcast team for the past two years and will be making his Sugar Bowl debut. Jones, who played for Nick Saban’s Alabama teams from 2008-12, was a consensus All-America lineman in 2011 and 2012. He was a member of the Crimson Tide’s 2009 Sugar Bowl team and also keyed Alabama’s 2012 BCS Championship victory in New Orleans. In addition to his duties with ESPN Radio, Louisiana native Fitzsimmons has been a prominent radio host in Alabama and Texas. This will be his fifth Sugar Bowl assignment for the network.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 85-year history. The 86th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2020. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade.