25th Season of Notre Dame Football on NBC Brings Big Production Enhancements
It has been a quarter of a century since the University of Notre Dame and NBC Sports forged their groundbreaking television partnership, and, today, production of Fighting Irish football has never been more technologically advanced.
“What started off as a 3½-hour programming window has grown to nearly five hours,” says Rob Hyland, coordinating producer, NBC Sports. “The production levels have also increased significantly since my first season [in 2009].”
In this 25th season, NBC Sports will deploy upwards of 25 cameras, including a new RF Steadicam on primetime telecasts. There is also a new cable-suspended aerial camera system provided by Skycam called Wildcat (which is also used on Sunday Night Football), which Hyland says provides a greater fly zone and more-dramatic imagery than the original Skycam system.
Working out of NEP Broadcasting’s ND6, the production crew will also add specialty Sony Super Slo-Mos to fill out the camera complement. An onsite crew of approximately 105 staffers will deploy 43 microphones and 11,250 ft. of fiber throughout the stadium.
Also new this season will be a permanent rules official, Doug Rhoads, in the booth alongside on-air talent Dan Hicks and Doug Flutie. Rhoads, a former ref and ACC coordinator of officials, will wear a broadcast headset and will have the ability to open his mic and speak when needed, although Hyland expects that Rhoads will likely offer most of his communication off-mic to clear up any on-field controversies.
NBC also will continue its commitment to bringing the viewer deeper into the Fighting Irish football experience with all studio shoulder programming hosted onsite at Notre Dame Stadium. On camera, Jonathan Vilma has joined the broadcast team as a pregame/halftime/postgame analyst, slotting in with veterans host Liam McHugh and analyst Hines Ward.