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Volume 22 No. 18
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No alternate camera angles for Fox Sports’ Super Bowl live stream

Fox Sports will not be showing alternate camera angles such as the popular “All-22” view during its live stream of Super Bowl XLVIII because of contractual ties between the NFL and technology partner Microsoft Corp.

League and network officials confirmed that Fox Sports will not be reviving the alternate camera angles, which CBS Sports used during the Super Bowl live stream last year. Instead, Fox Sports will offer a straightforward, live simulcast of the televised game feed through its Fox Sports Go mobile application, and a first-ever stream of the game in Spanish.

Fox Sports is removing for the Super Bowl its typical authentication used for the app, using the game as a means to showcase the product to a far larger audience. The alternate camera angles, however, are covered under Microsoft’s broad partnership with the league signed last spring. During the earlier playoff games shown on CBS and NBC, users of Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform were able to get a specialized experience that included alternate angles, live statistics, curated social media and other content.

For Sunday’s Super Bowl, however, Fox Sports elected to not alienate users of platforms that would not be able to access the additional feeds, and instead chose to focus on the first deployment of the Super Bowl through an app. The game will be available to anyone through computers and tablets. Smartphone distribution of NFL game action is covered under a separate deal the NFL has with Verizon.

The All-22 angle was the most popular view of the game in last year’s Super Bowl stream besides the repurposed TV feed itself, and generated significant social media buzz. The use of the All-22 angle in last year’s game was the first live, U.S. distribution of the view, widely favored by coaches for scouting and evaluation.

Despite the lack of a return of the alternate angles for Super Bowl XLVIII, Fox Sports executives are planning for a record online audience for the game. Last year’s game generated 3 million unique viewers, a record by far for the most watched live sports stream ever in the U.S.

“I would certainly expect big numbers,” said Pete Vlastelica, Fox Sports Digital senior vice president. “We’re planning from an infrastructure and bandwidth standpoint for record-level interest in this.”

The network did not disclose specific audience expectations or its guarantee to advertisers. Fox Sports thus far has sold online ad inventory to 25 sponsors, up sharply from the 15 companies that bought online Super Bowl inventory last year, and the network is still in the market. Those online ads will run in place of the televised spots, though as in past years, Fox will make those ads available as well on a near-real-time basis.

Fox Sports, meanwhile, has created on its website a Super Bowl hub that will include extensive Super Bowl shoulder programming, including coverage of Media Day, Radio Row, vignettes on the New York Super Bowl locale, and a Super Bowl-specific fantasy game.

The network last week also used the Super Bowl run-up to launch the “Fox Sports Digital Videofest,” a contest among YouTube content creators to develop a new digital sports series. The winner will get a Fox Sports development deal to create an online series as well as six months’ worth of content funding.