Super Bowl XLII: Digital Tech Set-Up to be Massive

The technical preparations for Fox Sports to carry Sunday’s Super Bowl XLII to the world will be, as usual, monumental, and the HD and other state-of-the-art field-coverage equipment will be the most sophisticated yet for the event. The game will also boast a few simple additions that are not typical of most NFL games, such as cameras mounted above each end zone.

Yet the still-new University of Phoenix Stadium will present some unique problems: The facility has hundreds of miles of permanent fiber built into its structure, which also boasts a retractable roof. But because the opening above the field does not allow enough sunshine to penetrate the real turf, the entire football field is literally wheeled outdoors to receive maximum sunlight. Thus, because the field itself is not stationery, technicians cannot wire the sidelines with cable until the last night, according to TV Technology (Jan 23, 2008).

The main truck for pre-game works to be used by Fox Sports is a Patriot 53-foot Expando mobile unit, built for large-scale HD production. The Patriot also has been used by ESPN/ABC. Gear on the truck will include a Grass Valley Group HD Kalypso Duo Video Production Center; GVG Dual-Twin HD GVEous MX; PESA 128x128 HD broadband router with 64 monitoring downconverters; PESA 256x256 Cheetah analog video router; Nvision 512x512 mono audio router; and a dozen Sony HDC Sony HDC 1500 1080/60P cameras with Canon DigiSuper 100x9.3 lenses.

For game coverage itself, Game Creek is bringing to Phoenix four of its five mobile units, which were built exclusively for Fox Sports to cover NASCAR and the NFL. As for the facility itself, at least no one will have to worry about the University of Phoenix tearing up the turf. The university is a for-profit institute of higher learning (most online and with night classes at sites scattered nationally) with no regular campus, and no football program of its own. It has purchased the naming rights to Phoenix’s two-year old stadium.