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Volume 23 No. 14
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Fox Sports stacks its Super Bowl coverage with enhanced tech and veteran production, on-air teams

Fox Sports will deploy a High Sky camera that will be able to venture outside the stadium.
Photo: Fox Sports
Fox Sports will deploy a High Sky camera that will be able to venture outside the stadium.
Photo: Fox Sports
Fox Sports will deploy a High Sky camera that will be able to venture outside the stadium.
Photo: Fox Sports

Fox Sports is planning several innovations for Super Bowl Sunday, which will be the network’s biggest broadcast in at least three years — the last time Fox had the Super Bowl.

 

Fox will roll out advancements with the SkyCam and PylonCam. It will be the first Super Bowl shot with 8K cameras and it will be the first one produced in HDR, which provides brighter highlights and more color to television pictures.

“Every time you do the Super Bowl, you want to raise the bar for everybody else in the industry,” said Brad Zager, executive producer, executive vice president and head of operations for Fox Sports. “We feel like we’re doing that. A few times throughout the day, we want to catch people’s eye with something they’ve never seen before.”

For the past several years, broadcasters have shot the Super Bowl with two SkyCams — one regular SkyCam and something referred to as a High Sky camera that shows all 22 players on the field. This Sunday, Fox will take that High Sky camera even higher — outside of the stadium.

“Because of the way Hard Rock is built, the High Sky cam will be able to actually raise above the roof of the stadium, which will be a cool feature that we worked out with engineering to figure out how to utilize the stadium,” Zager said.

Not only will Zager’s team have cameras in every pylon in both end zones, it plans to install high-speed cameras in them for the first time, which will allow for a much clearer replay than pylon cameras have provided in the past.

Fox’s telecast will use augmented reality graphics, and will use more high-speed cameras than it has in the past.

“With those cameras, we’ll be able to blow video up to be able to see if that guy’s foot was inbounds or not inbounds eight times before it gets somewhat blurry,” Zager said.

Fox will not just rely on technical bells and whistles. Its game talent in front of and behind the camera has a lot of experience with producing Super Bowls. This will mark the sixth Super Bowl produced by Richie Zyontz. “There’s been 54 Super Bowls, and Richie has done more than 10 percent of them,” Zager said. 

Play-by-play announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling their sixth Super Bowl. Rich Russo will be directing his third.

“The fun part about planning this Super Bowl was starting with a position of strength — both in front of the camera and in the truck,” Zager said. “It alleviates a lot of the stress in planning for Sunday.”

John Ourand can be reached at jourand@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ourand_SBJ and read his twice-weekly newsletter.