Super Bowl Report: NFL Network Finds Success on Three Stages
Rod Conti, NFL Network, director of remote studio operations, and his team have already had a busy week at the Super Bowl producing more than 90 hours of content for the NFL Network. “This whole experience is more than just the game,” says Conti. “And for a 24-hour network that covers the NFL this has been good for us.”
The NFL Network has used three sets to cover all of the action, interviews, and press conferences. A 40×40-foot set in the Super Bowl Media Center on Radio Row where press conferences have been held; a 40×40-foot set from the NFL Experience that has hosted numerous studio shows; and a set between the 40- and 50-yard line at Dallas Cowboys Stadium that is being used on Super Bowl Sunday have been at the core of the Network’s operations.
“There are a lot of moving pieces and entities involved at the three venues,” says Conti. “So the biggest challenge is logistics and planning. And it isn’t like we are on air for two hours. For us it is an eight-hour shift.”
The Network’s coverage began on Monday with the team arrivals and continued throughout the week. Corplex is handling remote operations for the NFL Network are at the Media Center and NFL Experience while NEP Supershooter 28 is handling the pre- and post-game coverage from inside the stadium. Signals pass from those trucks via fiber to NEP’s SuperB unit that is being used as a massive router for incoming and outgoing signals.
Like nearly everyone this week, the NFL Network has to work around nasty weather and they have probably had the biggest challenge of all as they have been broadcasting live all week from three different locations.
“The weather definitely slowed everything down,” says Conti. ”
The large size of the sets has helped out. While a show is shooting on one side of the set another show can set up on the other half and there is even room for side sets and the dotcom side of the NFL to get involved. One of the new technologies at the Super Bowl was a Jita cam, a jib camera that can pan 360 degrees.
Super Sunday will be the busiest day as the network broadcast live from Dallas Cowboys Stadium beginning at 8 a.m. central time. At 3:30 it will then begin broadcasting from the NFL Experience and eventually return back to the stadium for post game reports after Fox Sports ends its broadcast.
For many folks involved in the production of Super Bowl XLV the big game on Sunday signals the beginning of a few months break (and maybe longer given the potential for a player lockout in 2011) from the NFL. But for Conti the big game kicks off a new period where the focus shifts to the NFL combine in two weeks and coverage of the NFL Draft, owner meetings, and the looming negotiations over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players and the owners.
“The NFL season may be only 17 weeks but I have had my busiest tear ever since coming over to the network between the combine and the NFL draft,” says Conti. “There really isn’t an offseason with the NFL.”