Live From Super Bowl LI: Fox Sports Kicks Off Full Slate of Pregame Coverage
Shows air from Discovery Green Park and the main pregame set at NRG Stadium
The pregame-show excitement is starting to ratchet up now that the Fox Super Bowl Pregame Show, a 4½-hour programming extravaganza complete with celebrity interviews from the Red Carpet Show, interviews, analysis, and much more. It also begins at Discovery Green Park before the on-air team makes the 15-minute journey from downtown to NRG Stadium where they will get into position at the main pregame set inside the stadium.
“It’s been a divide-and-conquer effort with the biggest challenge being some adjustments in the scenic design,” says Steve Grigely, VP, technical operations, Fox Sports Network. “We’ve gone away from having LED panels in the background and have a new desk as well as an open roof.”
The set was built on a 30- x 30-ft. platform installed in the corner of the stadium behind one of the end zones. It was a custom build by Filmwerks and features hydraulics enabling it be raised and lowered. The new desk was designed and built by New Jersey-based Black Walnut and includes a custom-built LED screen from AV Design Services. VER provided LED panels on the back of the set that fold in half when the stage is folded up. Cuescript prompters are a new element this year, and Soundtronics is providing all the RF microphones for the pregame show.
“We have four cameras on the set, plus a jib and a Steadicam that works the field for interviews and more,” says Grigely. “There are also 25 shared cameras from the game that are available.”
Nicole Candela is operations manager on the pregame show, and, while Grigely spends most of his time in the pregame truck, Game Creek Video’s Cleatus unit, she will be at the stage, ensuring operations there run smoothly.
“One of the biggest advantages of this show is the engineering design and compound setup by [Fox Sports Senior Production Manager] Dave Carbray and [Director, Technical Operations,] Kevin Callahan,” says Grigely. “This the biggest compound I’ve ever seen for a Super Bowl, and the space gave us the freedom to design things the way we wanted to.”
The Red Carpet Show, featuring interviews with celebrities as they head into the NFL Tailgate party, is also a bit of a team effort.
“It operates more or less like a remote into the pregame show,” says Grigely. The Red Carpet Show will be produced out of Game Creek Video’s Chesapeake unit.
Also operating as a remote was the first half of the pregame show today, with the camera signals sent from Discovery Green Park and cut within the Cleatus truck. That allowed the entire production team in the truck to be in position so that only talent need to make the move from one set to the other.
The pregame-show production involved more than 200 people, proof positive that the super-sized Super Bowl coverage that has been going on all week long will continue to be a key component of Super Bowl programming for years to come.