Super Bowl XLIII is expected to draw the biggest television ratings of the year. Last year’s Superbowl was viewed by a record 97.5 million people nationwide. Super Bowl 43 will be seen in 223 countries and broadcast in 33 languages and covered by some 5,000 credentialed media.
CBS, Fox and NBC currently rotate coverage of the National Football League event. NBC is providing coverage this year. NBC’s production team won’t deviate from the successful formula it has used to broadcast Sunday Night Football for the past three seasons, says Broadcasting and Cable. Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, normally holds 65,000 people, but a new endzone green sections increases it to 72,500.
They will utilize 14 mobile units, 14 office trailers, nine support trucks, three uplinks and five twin-unit generators. The network’s technical crew will number 200, and the total on-site production and engineering personnel in Tampa will be around 400. NBC doesn’t plan to unveil any new gimmicks for the broadcast.
Some 50 miles of fiber-optic cable will transmit feeds from its hi-def cameras instead of relying on the lower-bandwidth triax cable that currently runs through Raymond James Stadium.
NEP owns a fleet of HD production trucks. They’ll use their ND3 and ND4 for game coverage, and S24 for pre- and post-game coverage. Each of these trucks is actually a complement of three HD trucks for a total of nine. The mobile control rooms will pack 138 monitors, a Sony MVS 8000 A Switcher (pdf) and Abekas DVEous Digital Video Effects system. Six wireless Link HD units will provide HD camcorders with wireless connections.
Specialty cameras for the Super Bowl include robotic units on the goalposts and in the hallways outside each team’s locker room, dedicated goal-line cameras, overhead Cable Cams, and X-Mo ultra-high-frame-rate cameras that will be used to deliver incredibly detailed slow-motion replays.
Last year, more than 30 Sony HD cameras were used for the production of Super Bowl XLII from the University of Phoenix Stadium in AZ.
|Superbowl XLIII: By the numbers|
technical, administrative and support crews
NBC will use Avid nonlinear editing systems to produce packages for the pre-game show, and Apple Final Cut Pro units to handle in-game editing. Graphics will be generated by Chyron HyperX systems.
NBC will backhaul feeds using a mix of Level 3 Communications‘ Vyvx fiber and SES Americom satellite links. Level 3’s Vyvx unit has backhauled Super Bowl traffic for 20 years and will handle 27 feeds out of Tampa, including a backhaul to NFL Films in New Jersey.
In total, over 2,800 hours of video content will be acquired, encoded and transported across the Level 3 Vyvx services platform for Super Bowl coverage.
Other communications-related news about the SuperBowl:
- AT&T Mobility is increasing voice and data capacity by 400 percent. In addition to two existing cell sites AT&T Mobility has inside the stadium, the company is setting up two mobile cell on wheels, or “COWs”, at the southeast and northeast corners of the stadium parking lot.
- Verizon will deploy is largest Cell on Light Truck featuring a 75-foot telescoping antenna.
- Sprint will deploy a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) in the stadium with 18 new cell sites in the Tampa area to enhance coverage in and around the stadium. They’ll deploy three Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) near the stadium for additional coverage.
- ADC equipped Raymond James Stadium with its InterReach cellular solution to allow large numbers of simultaneous cell phone calls. The stadium can now handle as many as 10,000 to 15,000 calls simultaneously. ADC’s InterReach cellular solution includes 19 main hubs, 23 expansion hubs, and 109 remote antenna units that reproduces wireless signals and distribute among the antennas deployed at several places across the stadium.
- PCS designed and installed a turnkey video control room and multi-media display system for Raymond James Stadium. The video control room feeds two Daktronics LED scoreboards and the network feed areas.
The NFL selected Motorola as the official supplier of 802.11a/b/g (Wi-Fi) solutions for all media covering Super Bowl XLIII. Motorola has deployed their RFS6000 wireless switches, AP300 access ports, AP5131 mesh-enabled access points and AirDefense Solutions wireless security sensors.
Anritsu Company supplies the NFL with MS2721B Spectrum Master handheld spectrum analyzers. The MS2721B spectrum analyzers are being used by the NFL’s Game Day Frequency Coordinators (GDC) to research, troubleshoot, and analyze the RF spectrum at the league’s 32 stadiums before, during, and after games.
Radio systems are used by coaches to communicate with players on the field, all broadcast TV and radio entities, medical teams, team security, and public safety personnel.
The Super Bowl is treated as a Level One National Security threat because of its extreme high profile status. Vice president of security for the NFL, Milt Ahlerich, a former FBI agent, oversees security for the NFL. At earlier Super Bowls, sensor fusion technology from Distributed Instruments monitored a constant flow of data from multiple sensors at a centralized command center.
Some sensors will be mounted in fixed positions, while others will be carried by National Guard personnel as they move around the stadium during the event with handheld computers. Distributed Instruments uses the Transducer Data Exchange Protocol (TDXP), which is being submitted for consideration as a standard protocol. Facial-recognition software helps identify suspects in crowds.
The Microsoft Surface device will display a Microsoft Virtual Earth map of the entire region tracking events, incidents, resources and tasks in real-time.
A device the size of a Motorola RAZR is keeping track of NFL vehicles. Oklahoma-based U.S. Fleet Tracking is live tracking 104 vehicles with a small device (right) that can be attached to clothing of the vehicle’s driver. The company’s solution works on Kore Telematics network and provide updates of a vehicle’s whereabouts every five seconds.
The NFL has partnered with IBM and is using a series of four IBM BladeCenter S chassis, one at each of four venues the league has set up around Tampa. The briefcase sized blades run VMware’s virtual platform to give the league the ability to run virtualized operations at each of its four venues in Tampa.
This year, NBC will be able to sell all 33 ½ minutes of commercial time, even at a record price estimated to average $3 million for each 30-second spot.
Pepsi-owned SoBe LifeWater is running a 3D Super Bowl ad, powered by Intel’s InTru3D technology. It has produced nearly 130 million pairs of 3D glasses, distributed at LifeWater displays in supermarkets. ColorCode 3-D uses a new anaglyph format that enables any TV to render accurate 3-D colors when viewers use amber-blue lenses instead of the traditional red-cyan 3-D glasses.
The biggest Super Bowl advertiser is often the network broadcasting the game. NBC will show the nation’s most-watched event, and executives hope the network’s five minutes of free promotional time — a $30 million value given the estimated $3 million cost of a 30-second spot — will help draw new viewers to its struggling prime-time lineup.
Sprint customers can download a mobile formatted Super Bowl site by texting “TAMPA” to 7777 using Sprint or Nextel service. Burger King, Emerald Nuts, Anheuser-Busch, Degree and Sprint will be running mobile advertising campaigns in conjunction with their television spots.
The Super Bowl won’t be telecast to mobile phones, but NFL Mobile Live will offer subscribers a variety of features including a recap of the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers’ seasons, rosters, stats and video highlights of past Super Bowls. More than 1 million of Sprint’s subscribers have signed up for its NFL Mobile Live program.
Other major wireless carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, have mobile TV services available, with plans starting at $15 a month. MobiTV uses regular cellular channels while Qualcomm’s MediaFlo (available through AT&T and Verizon), uses a dedicated television broadcast channel (on Ch. 55). Super Bowl-related clips and news are available via mobile channels from ESPN as well as the major networks.
The ReadWriteWeb Guide to Super Bowl XLIII has definitive linkage and mentions the real-time Friendfeed Super Bowl room and official Facebook apps for the Steelers, and the Cardinals as well as a Bloggers’ Guide to Super Bowl XLIII.
More than 10 million mobile phone users in the United States watch video content on their phones each month, from YouTube clips to broadcast channels, says Nielsen. Sports and sports-related news are fourth in popularity among mobile viewers, after comedy, weather and music videos.
NBC has not yet said whether it will have a live social component to its Super Bowl coverage. Hulu, its online video joint venture with News Corp., has a relationship with Facebook Connect. Don’t look for the SuperBowl on Hulu, though.
The Super Bowl Twitter feed is alive and well. Hotel availability, community events, private and public parties, and other news about Super Bowl XLIII are available on VisitTampaBay.com/Blogs, VisitTampaBay.com/Facebook and VisitTampaBay.com/Twitter.
Get your stats from Sports Data Hub, Sports Genie, Sports Reference, Oleole Football and Stat Sheet. Live streaming media and HD uploading services include; LiveCast, Qik, Seesmic, Justin.tv, UStream, Mogulus, Yahoo Live and Zannel among others.
ESPN.com, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, Sports Shooter, NYTimes.com, and other Sports Television Networks will have videos, photos, and reporting from the event. Here are Sports Illustrated’s photos and their photo tips. Tampa Bay Online, Yahoo Full Coverage and Google News have additional news and links.
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