Super Bowl Report: Pre-Game Set-up Challenge Compounded by Cruel Weather

When Fox Sports takes to the air tomorrow for its Super Bowl XLV pre-game coverage at 2 p.m. EST it will represent the starting point for a day of broadcasting that is the culmination of what has been arguably one of the most challenging Super Bowl set ups ever.

A week that began with cold and wind transitioned to freezing and ice and then cold and an unexpected five inches of snow on Friday morning challenged not only the staff but the city of Dallas, fans arriving in from out of town, and emergency personnel far and wide.

Mike Davies, Fox Sports, VP of operations, and his team have been at the center of that challenge. “I’m proud of my team,” says Davies. “There wasn’t one complainer and they understand that this is a special event and were prepared to use the backup plan for cold weather.”

The teams working on the pre-game sets that were built by Northern Lights and are located in the area surrounding the stadium have faced the biggest challenge as the wind earlier in the week cause damage to the one tent and the snow that fell on Friday caused damage to the Red Carpet area. But repairs have been made and all is set for tomorrow’s broadcast.

The Red Carpet is where Fox Sports will welcome interview celebrities attending the Super Bowl,

The pre-game show will begin at the outdoor pregame set with action from the Red Carpet area cut into the show during the first 2.5 hours of the broadcast. Then the show shifts inside to the pre-game set located behind the Steelers end zone.

“Our goal is to create a studio environment in the sets that can create a connection between the announcers and the audience,” says Davies. Seven cameras will be connected to the Game Creek Liberty production truck inside the stadium tunnel via fiber. The Red Carpet elements will operate as an island within Game Creek’s Patriot truck. Interviews and content will be shot using six cameras (including a steadicam and jib) and recorded on and played back off of EVS servers in Patriot.

After approximately 2.5 hours the pre-game show will make the transition from the outside sets to the inside set located in a suite right next to the field.

The Super Bowl pre-game set gives viewers a sense of being on the field with Fox talent.

“As terrific as the stadium is there are not too many positions inside for a pre-game set without taking over one of the suites,” says Davies. “But the great thing about it is it functions as a green room in the back area and a stage in the front area.”

One bit of transitioning that will take place is moving a small four-foot deck that needed to be built off of the suite so that the pre-game talent had a place to sit.

“While the desk and the set stay on the platform the back part of the stage will move off of the field,” says Davies. “But all the planning is in place.”