Beneath Mile High Stadium, opposite the stall that mascot Thunder uses as a green room, a battalion of video vans is parked and ready.
New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos Lights blink and screens hum on the bank of super high-tech, high-def, Internet protocol-based gizmos lining the CBS Sports control truck.
Last year’s AFC game averaged 42.1 million viewers. Sunday’s telecast has the potential to score much higher, given the dire weather forecast in much of the country.The specially commissioned, state-of-the-art truck exceeds anything used before in size and scope, according to Ken Aagaard, CBS Sports executive vice president for operations. More cameras, more angles, more info-laden graphics.
As if deploying a military invasion, the CBS Sports staff is in Denver with 16 newly minted pylon cameras in the end zones, a super-slo-mo camera, a prototype Sony speciality camera that provides higher resolution on replay — at least 65 cameras, all told.
Fans can look out for EyeVision 360, in which 36 cameras circling the stadium’s upper deck allow a 360-degree view on replay. It will offer “a ‘Matrix’-like look,” Aagaard said, freezing a moment in time and looking around within it. Graphic animation will allow a pane to pop up and see, for instance, if the ball crossed the first-down line.
Next-gen stats will pepper the broadcast. CBS will use the NFL’s matchup based statistics, comparing players in terms of distance and speed. A collapsible stage for pregame, postgame and halftime shows, commissioned by the NFL, sits on the sideline. The crew has rehearsed repeatedly how to collapse and roll it back in 90 seconds. They’re glad the game isn’t in Boston, given the weather. “It’s not about money as much as risk,” Aagaard said. Moving this volume of people and equipment is a logistical nightmare.”
This is Aagaard’s 47th year in the business. It will be his 20th Super Bowl. He’s seen it all. He was there for Super Bowl I, the first time “live and in color!” He was there for the start of instant replay, the introduction of the first-down-line graphic, the Telestrator, John Madden’s chalkboard and the bow of surround-sound in the ’90s. The biggest leap was high-definition, he says.
The next leap could be drone cameras, but don’t expect it in this week’s AFC coverage. Cabled sky-cams will prowl the field, but drones won’t be common practice for sportscasts in the near future, Aagaard said.More Patriots Live Stream Game & Information Stay With Us All Updates.