For NEP, Super Bowl XLIII Is Biggest Show Ever

By Carolyn Braff

NEP has provided production support for hundreds of high-profile events, from the World Series to the Olympics, but nothing compares with what the facilities provider has driven into Tampa, FL, for Sunday’s Super Bowl. Twenty-two production, transmission, and support trucks parked at Raymond James Stadium all proudly display the NEP logo, and 55 company employees are on-site to ensure that the monster production goes off without a hitch.

“In a show of this size and complexity, making sure that we work with our broadcast and cable partners to ensure we fulfill their needs is a long, complicated process,” explains Mike Werteen, SVP, sales, for NEP Broadcasting. “As important an event as the Super Bowl is, you can’t miss anything. The toughest part is to make sure that everything is coordinated appropriately.”

NEP has been involved with the Super Bowl for 18 years, so the show itself is nothing new for this veteran team. Appropriately, NEP’s trucks began pulling into the compound on Jan. 21, a dozen days before kickoff.

The 22 trucks on-site are providing support for NBC Sports, ESPN, NFL Films, and the BBC, among other national and international broadcasters, which will broadcast the game in 235 countries worldwide. In the past two weeks, more than 85 cameras, dozens of microphones, and thousands of feet of cable have been laid out in preparation for this super broadcast.

“It’s not just the television side of it; it’s all the resources that are here,” Werteen explains. “We have NEP Screenworks that has the screens displaying images in The NFL Experience and other public areas, Denali is here doing the Bruce Springsteen halftime show, and we have the new ESU here.”

ESU, NEP Supershooters’ repackaged engineering-support unit, is making its debut at Super Bowl XLIII. Able to accept HD or SD feeds in all formats, ESU is receiving all the video and audio sources from the NBC show and distributing them to broadcasters across the globe. ESU’s audio distribution and conversion can handle analog, AES, Cobranet, and MADI, with incorporated audio and video delays to ensure lip-synch integrity.

“This is the most resources that we’ve ever had at one single venue,” Werteen explains. “It is a complicated set. Everybody has enough on their plate from a content standpoint, so we want to make sure that, from a technical standpoint, there’s not going to be anything to impact what they need to do in their production.”

As a Pittsburgh-based company, NEP has a special stake in this production: the crew will be rooting for the Steelers all Sunday long.

“We’re a Pittsburgh company so it does have a special meaning that we have so many resources here,” Werteen says. “I’m excited that we’re going to be watching our home team playing in the biggest television event that there is.”

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