College Football Preview: NBC Sports, Notre Dame Share Resources To Enhance Fan Experience at the Game and at Home
Notre Dame’s first-ever university-produced videoboard show marks the effort
When the Fighting Irish return to the gridiron this weekend, fans at Notre Dame Stadium and at home will get to watch their team like never before. Following completion of Campus Crossroads Project, the most ambitious building campaign in the school’s history, fans at this Saturday’s home opener against Temple will see Notre Dame’s very first university-produced in-venue videoboard presentation. And fans watching at home will get to see many of those videoboard shots, thanks to the continued partnership between Notre Dame and NBC Sports.
Rob Hyland, coordinating producer, NBC Sports, remembers the conversations between the university and the network on how the two could share game-day resources beginning nearly four years ago, when Campus Crossroads was in its earliest stages.
“We dealt with their engineers about camera angles, sightlines, light angles in terms of the way the sun sets,” says Hyland. “The conversations began years ago, and, along the way, we would have a follow-up call every four months or so on how we wanted our game cameras to be positioned, how high we wanted them to be, where they wanted their cameras to supplement our game cameras. The dialog began years ago, and, every four months, we would have a call to refine, adjust, and follow up on the plan.”
As a result of those conversations, NBC Sports will deploy 11-17 cameras (depending on the matchup) and take an additional 12 feeds from Notre Dame. The university will have 17 cameras throughout the stadium and take an additional 12 splits — mainly, the Peacock’s game coverage — from NBC Sports.
“We’re going to have a much more robust production utilizing not only our camera sources but a lot of what they’re doing to help complement what we’re doing,” says Hyland. “The school will supply us with the unique views of the stadium: new POV angles of the tunnel and the locker room, incredible vantage points above the stadium looking back at Touchdown Jesus, all things we never had in the past that will help enhance our overall plan.”
NBC Sports’ camera complement will include three Sony HDC-4300 cameras configured for 6X super-slo-mo, a jib, and Skycam at every game, plus an aerial at selected games. After successfully producing seven Notre Dame home games in 4K last year, using a side-by-side mobile-unit configuration with the HD production, NBC opted to pursue only the HD production this year and will be operating out of NEP’s ND6 and ST28.
“The 4K production went really well,” reflects Hyland. “After the first week, it was completely transparent to the linear broadcast. We are not producing a 4K signal this year, but we are really excited about what we will be presenting on NBC this fall.”
NBC Sports has prepared an entirely new graphics presentation for Notre Dame Football, the property’s first graphics revamp since 2009, and has some special production elements up its sleeve for its marquee matchups — in particular, the Georgia game on Sept. 9 and the USC game on Oct. 21. “Those are two of our bigger games this year,” says Hyland, “and we want to make sure we come out swinging for those two.”
In addition, NBC Sports’ coverage of Notre Dame Football includes games against Miami (OH) on Sept. 30, NC State on Oct. 28, Wake Forest on Nov. 4, and Navy on Nov. 18.
Mike Tirico, NBC Sports’ veteran play-by-play commentator and Olympics primetime host, joins the Notre Dame broadcast team this season. He will be accompanied by analyst Doug Flutie and sideline reporter Kathryn Tappen.
The network also plans to have new studio analyst Chris Simms onsite for each home game to do pregame reports (when applicable) and a 20-minute half-time show. Simms’s set will be located in the near right corner of the end zone, near the Notre Dame student section, and will not have a traditional desk; rather, Simms, alongside host Liam McHugh, will either be standing or sitting in directors chairs, or possibly even walking and talking along the sideline.