Super Bowl 50 Q&A: Denver Broncos’ Video Team Reflects on AFC Championship, Looks to Santa Clara
The Denver Broncos are on their way to Super Bowl 50, and, for the second time in three years, the team’s video staff will be tasked with covering the team from every angle throughout Super Bowl Week. From Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday at SAP Center in San Jose, CA, (a shift from the Media Day traditionally on Tuesday morning) through the big game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, on Sunday, Denver Broncos Senior Director of Event Presentation and Production Mike Bonner and his team will produce a flurry of original live-streamed and VOD content for DenverBroncos.com.
SVG sat down with Bonner in Denver to discuss what content will be created for DenverBroncos.com, how the team’s video operation has evolved in recent years, and what his team learned from its first go-round at Super Bowl XLVIII in New York two years ago.
What content will you be producing for DenverBroncos.com during Super Bowl week?
Bonner: We will be doing four big initiatives with a team of about 11 people — if you count our talent — and eight LiveU packs [in Santa Clara]. Plus, we will be running everything through our control room [at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver]. We want to give our fans as much content as we can.
First, we will do a half-hour show Monday through Friday with [talent] Phil Milani, Andrew Mason, and Matt Boyer. We’re hoping to bring in some guests from the team headquarters, and that will really tie everything together all week.
Second, we will also be on radio row with Denver Sports 760 AM, doing a live simulcast stream of Dave Logan and Susie Wargin’s radio show and Andy Lindahl and Ed McCaffrey’s show. We will have a LiveU pack and plug into [Denver Sports 760 AM’s audio] board. We will be communicating with someone in the control room [in Denver] and push the stream through there. We’re not taking [the network’s] commercial breaks, so we can fill with our own content, like scoreboard features that we ran during the year, or we can just fill with music and a stay-tuned [graphic].
We have something very cool planned for [Super Bowl Opening Night] that we will be trying out for the first time. We’ll have our talent Sam Boik walking around with an iPhone that we will be streaming using LiveU. From the floor of [Opening Night] at the SAP Center, she’ll get all the interesting personalities. She will shoot that and do interviews with people selfie-style to give it a different, fun, behind-the-scenes feel.
The last of four big things that we’re doing is the biggest undertaking. There are four different media availabilities for the Broncos: Monday night at 5:15-6:15 PT, Tuesday 11-noon, and Wednesday and Thursday 8-9:15 a.m. We will be streaming that to our Website live, providing five feeds that take over the centerpiece [of the home page] that people can click on. So, if they want to watch podium one where Peyton Manning is, they can click on that and watch, or [they can go to] podium two to watch Demaryius Thomas — that’s all available to them right there. We will be using four cameras and LiveU packs and live-stream those. We will take a fifth feed from the NFL Network. Then, on Media Night, we are also going to have Sam Boik’s iPhone cam as a sixth feed.
It’s a model the Seahawks and Patriots did last year [for Super Bowl Week]. I looked at that and said, Wow, this is what we’re doing next year [if we make the Super Bowl]. It’s a pretty big undertaking, with a lot of cameras and LiveU packs involved and a lot of coordination. And, of course, we will clip off all that content separately and archive on the site. So, in case you missed it live, you can watch it later.
In addition to Bonner, SVG’s Jason Dachman also visited Denver Broncos Supervising Producer Nick Young and Manager of A/V Technology and Engineering Jeremy Wecker at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to get a inside look at what it was like in the control room for the Broncos’ nail-biting AFC Championship win over the New England Patriots and get a behind-the-scenes look at what the team has in store for the Super Bowl Week ahead:
How are you deploying LiveU cell-based transmission packs in Santa Clara?
Bonner: We are getting eight additional packs from LiveU compared to two that we had in New York [for Super Bowl XLVIII], so we’ve grown a great deal. We were just starting to support the Web back then, and our primary focus was the videoboard. Now we do both. We were able to learn so much — sometimes by failing — from what we did two years ago.
The difference from New York is that we’re doing it through the control room, which we actually did all season long. What we will be doing is very cool, but, honestly, it’s not very different from what we did all season long, with live pregame shows for home or away games every Sunday — or Monday or Thursday. So none of this is new for us.
What were some lessons from your experience at Super Bowl XLVIII, the last time the Broncos were in the Super Bowl?
Bonner: We learned that you can’t expect people to turn their computers off when they leave work, then go home and turn them back on. The [audience] numbers just won’t be there; daytime is primetime for this [type of content].
The other thing we learned is not to save any content exclusively for our show. This year, we will put all the pieces up on the site and then just wrap them up in one neat bow in the show. If you want to watch an interview we did with one Bronco, you can see that separately. That provides you with the most clicks possible as opposed to expecting everyone to watch a half-hour show. We will give it to them as two minutes here and three minutes there, or they can watch the whole half-hour show if they prefer. So we learned a great deal from New York.
How are you trying to get the word out to fans and drive them to DenverBroncos.com?
Bonner: Social media is going to be really big for us. Every piece that gets posted to the Website will have a close with a graphic promoting the fact that we’re doing a show from the Super Bowl. We’ll constantly put it out there on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it — we’ll throw it out there. So it’s going to be just a lot of coordination between us and social media.
Do you feel like the bar is being elevated every year in terms of team-produced content for the Super Bowl?
Bonner: Absolutely. You just look at what the Patriots and Seahawks were able to do last year, and it was amazing. And what we did the year before that. We hope to take it even further. The way technology is continuing to evolve, there is no doubt that we are able to do a lot more.