It is all eyes on Indianapolis and Super Bowl XLVI this week as NFL Network gears up for a week of coverage that will take viewers deep inside Media Day, press events, the Hall of Fame selection on Sunday, and, of course, all the pregame hype.
“Indianapolis lays out great for us,” says Glenn Adamo, VP of media operations, NFL. “It’s really compact, the hotels are easy to get to, and the location of the compound and the NFL Fan Experience allows us a lot of flexibility. We don’t have to go across town, so, from a production standpoint, it’s great.”
The majority of NFL Network staffers arrived over the weekend and today. Adamo calls this the “NEP Super Bowl” in honor of the production-services provider that has 23 production trailers on-site working for everyone from the NFL Network to NFL Films to NBC Sports, ESPN, and DirecTV (the units include ND3, ND4, ESU, SS16, SS22, SS24, SS25, and SS42). All told, the NFL will have more than 200 personnel on-site to capture the festivities.
“It’s really a tribute to [NFL Senior Executive of Engineering and Broadcast Technologies] Jeff Howard and [NFL Films Technical Director] Tom Foley, [who] once again design[ed] a production-compound layout that will make things easy.
“The first year or two was intimidating for us as we were finding our way,” Adamo continues. “The good news is, we know the stadium, the town, and the building, and the Indianapolis Colts know us as well.”
Also helping? Being in a city that is used to the potential for inclement weather. Last year posed a challenge as the city of Dallas did its best to deal with a record cold snap that caused icy and snowy conditions all week. This week’s weather in Indy promises to be clear although snow is in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday.
“When they get snow in Indy, it isn’t a shock,” says Adamo, adding that the biggest problem last year was not how the organizing committee responded to the situation but rather that those who lived in the area were simply unfamiliar with icy and dangerous driving conditions.
From a programming standpoint, the goal this week will be to make all the activity around the game accessible for the casual fan as well as the hardcore fan.
“The philosophy starts with [NFL Network President/CEO] Steve Bornstein as he wants to make sure the rabid, avid, and casual fans find the coverage entertaining. Right now, we have a more entertaining group [of talent] than we have ever had,” says Adamo. “The network has found its identity.”
Once the game starts, Adamo will turn his attention to the world feed, making sure NFL fans around the globe get a solid viewing experience. The feed will make use of the cameras NBC Sports uses for the national broadcast and will also have three additional cameras primarily for cutting away from NBC-specific needs.
“I’m looking forward to eight days of multiple hours of being on-air and praying for no power outages,” he adds. “That’s what keeps me up at night. But we are fiber-connected and have redundancy out the wazoo.”