As the New York Giants paraded down the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan to celebrate their Super Bowl XLVI victory, in an office building uptown, preparations were already well under way for Super Bowl XLVII. Now, with less than a month to go before the Big Game, CBS has unveiled its company-wide plan to tackle the pinnacle of the sports calendar.
“As you can tell, we’re making a pretty big deal about this Super Bowl,” CBS Corp. President/CEO Leslie Moonves said to a standing-room-only crowd gathered on the set of The NFL Today for the network’s Super Bowl XLVII Media Day. “Not that it’s that unusual for companies to do that, but, somehow, the Super Bowl, New Orleans, and CBS: it all seems to come together in a pretty magnificent way. Not only is it the biggest media day in the world, it’s probably the biggest day of the year for this entire corporation, and this entire corporation is getting behind this event in a way that I don’t think has ever been done before.”
CBS Sports will broadcast Super Bowl XLVII from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Feb. 3, the network’s 18th Super Bowl. For previous Super Bowls, CBS Sports began its game coverage at 11 a.m. the day of the game. This year, game coverage kicks off at 10 a.m. on the Monday before, Jan. 28.
In addition to the over-the-air network, CBS Sports will cover the Super Bowl across all its platforms, including CBS Sports Network (which will carry more than 50 hours of live coverage throughout the week), Showtime, CBSSports.com, CBS Radio, and the new CBS Sports radio network. Daily coverage will originate from New Orleans’s Jackson Square, christened CBS Super Bowl Park for the week leading up to the Big Game.
Additions to the Gear Complement
CBS Sports will have a full arsenal of production tools at the ready. “With respect to our game production, we will follow the same highest standards we’ve set all year long on our NFL coverage,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “For the first time ever, we’re employing something that we’re calling the ‘Heyeper Zoom’ camera system, a high-resolution replay system that will give our replays four times the resolution of our regular replays. I’ve seen it, and the clarity is absolutely amazing.”
The Heyeper Zoom camera system (that’s Hyper Zoom, with the ‘eye’ for CBS) comprises six For-A FT-One 4K cameras equipped with FUJINON lenses that use 3840×2160-pixel imagers and can capture video at a frame rate between 300 and 500 frames per second. An Evertz DreamCatcher replay system records the 4K video signal, allowing CBS Sports to use the full 4K resolution in zooming in on a play under review. The system is being integrated and housed by NEP.
Of the 60-plus cameras CBS plans to deploy in New Orleans, five will be Ikegami/NAC Hi-Motion II cameras supplied by Fletcher. These high-speed cameras will be in hard and handheld configurations on the field, in the stands, and on sideline carts. Each camera will be able to shoot 300-500 frames per second in 1080i. CBS Sports will also have the ability to simultaneously play back six unique camera views in a quad-split, three-way split, or two-way split depending on the play.
In addition to CBS Sports’ primary game cameras, six additional units will be calibrated with first-down line by SportsMEDIA Technology (SMT), including Skycam and end-zone cameras. EyeVision, supported by Redbee’s Piero 3D-analysis technology, will continue to be used as a multidimensional tool for analysis. Virtual extensions of the goalposts will also be added to determine the flight path of a field goal or extra-point conversion.
Super Bowl XLVII also will serve as the launch of a comprehensive animation and insert graphics package for CBS Sports. That same look will ultimately roll out on CBS Sports Network later in the year, further unifying the on-air branding of CBS Sports.
“We’re also producing a unique second-screen experience this year at the Super Bowl on CBSSports.com,” continued McManus. “Viewers will have access to four additional camera views and complete social-media interaction. Plus, the halftime show will be streamed for the first time ever on CBSSports.com.”
This February, Jim Nantz will call his third Super Bowl, and Phil Simms will provide analysis in his seventh, a record second only to John Madden’s. Lance Barrow will produce the broadcast; Mike Arnold will direct. According to Executive Producer/VP, Production, Harold Bryant, the CBS Sports team will have three sets at its disposal: one in the Superdome, one in Jackson Square, and one in Champions Plaza.
CBS News and CBS Daytime will also join in the festivities. CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley will broadcast live from Jackson Square on Friday and Saturday, and CBS Daytime’s The Talk also will travel to New Orleans. In total, 15 shows from nine CBS divisions across multiple platforms — including broadcast and cable television, radio, and digital — will broadcast live from CBS Super Bowl Park.
The ads have been sold for a record average of $3.8 million, and, while that figure certainly bodes well for CBS’s bottom line, all who spoke at Media Day were quick to remind the audience that the focus of the Super Bowl is the game itself. The teams may not yet be known, but all will have a story worth telling.
“What we try to do here is describe the journey,” explained Bill Cowher, who coached the Pittsburgh Steelers to Super Bowl XL victory and currently serves as studio analyst for The NFL Today. “You ask anybody who’s won it, it’s about the journey. It’s about what took place to get there. And that’s what we have an opportunity to do on that day.”