Covering Every Yard of the Super Bowl

LiveU’s history supporting big game coverage

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been supporting broadcasters with Super Bowl coverage for nearly 14 years. We were first on the scene for Super Bowl XLIV in Miami with heavy reliance on 3G network coverage. Today, our solutions are relying on 4G and 5G networks to provide Super Bowl week coverage and pre-and post-game content. It’s going to be an exciting week of coverage in and around Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII.

But before looking forward to the game, let’s take a quick look back at how the game and its coverage has changed and evolved over the past 10+ years.  

Media Day Becomes a “Star-Studded Event”

Now known as Super Bowl Opening Night, “Media Day” historically presented opportunities for reporters to interview players and coaches about the big game ahead of game day. LiveU was brought on first by national news and sports broadcasters, then regional sports networks and finally individual teams to provide that live ancillary content for news broadcasts and online platforms, giving viewers up-to-the-minute coverage of the big game and to engage with fans. Today this event includes players, coaches of the past and present, as well as celebrities.

NFL teams producing their own Super Bowl-related content  

NFL teams are leveraging this flagship event as a way to create more content and engage with their fans in the offseason. What used to be a traditional media event is now filled with in-house digital and production teams from NFL teams playing in the championship game, as well as other NFL teams looking for great content and interviews to bring their fans into the fold.

For Super Bowl 50, AFC Champs, the Denver Broncos used LiveU to stream up to 40-hours of content to their team website and mobile app. Each day of Super Bowl week, BroncosTV produced and live-streamed content for and a half-hour program featuring Super Bowl discussion and analysis by a team of Broncos insiders. They also shared interviews with players and coaches and practice footage. 

At the time, former Senior Director of Event Presentation & Production, Michael Bonner noted, “The partnership between LiveU and the Broncos provides us with the state-of-the art technology needed to deliver to the fans of Broncos Country — and all pro football fans — the most comprehensive, in-depth pre-game content leading up to the Super Bowl.”

Fan engagement still a top priority!

Fan engagement remains a major driver for continuous coverage throughout the pre and post season.

“We want to provide fans with content they can’t get anywhere else. That resonates with our fans and engages with them. From a business perspective, we can offer sponsorship opportunities and we can monetize our content. We are providing our fans with entertainment, while also creating a business strategy.” – Chris Ubbens, Director of Production Operations at New York Jets. You can see more about how New York Jets are leveraging LiveU’s technology to enhance fans engagement on this episode of The LiveU Sports Show.

Last year, Telemundo Deportes produced its first over-the-air broadcast of the Super Bowl on Telemundo and Universo. Through a collaboration with NBC Sports, the networks joined forces to push each other to figure out ways to enhance the viewing experience.

Telemundo had three handheld cameras roaming the field during pregame and transmitted to its Miami production compound via two LiveU encoders.

“The real goal is to speak to the Hispanic community, regardless of where you’re from. It’s all about being strategic around creating an audience, and we can do that with these musical performances, leaning into the local community, doubling down on culture, and sprinkling in all the great stuff you’re about to see,” said Eli Velazquez, EVP, sports content, Telemundo Deportes.

Prevalence of IP video to power pre-and post-game shows and press conferences

During the regular season, LiveU clients like the New York Jets host 3 weekly live shows varying from 30-60 minutes in length. “LiveU is the main component to our live program. We have cameras on the field and on set transmitting back to our Florham Park facility, where we edit and broadcast to all of our platforms,” noted Chris Ubbens. “

We expect IP video to power the pre-and post-game content for the two teams playing in the Super Bowl, as well as news and sports broadcasters covering the big game. We’ll know more about the planned productions and workflows as we get closer to the official matchup for Super Bowl LVII.

Remote Production Takes Center Stage

Already running on the momentum of saving sports teams and organizations time and money, Remote Production accelerated at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the Fox Deportes crew was contracted by the NFL to produce four shows during Super Bowl week. Because the team could not travel due to restrictions, they created a set in their lobby and relied on the LiveU LU800 to produce the multicamera productions. 

“Remote Production has proven time and time again to cut overall operational costs associated with sending a large crew and truck to an event. We expect networks to do more of the production from their main control room using a streamlined and simplified workflow to edit and distribute their pre and post-game shows and special programming. It’s just more fiscally responsible and upholds the quality the viewers expect from TV and digital viewing platforms.” – Janel Moorefield, LiveU VP of Sales, Sports Division.  

5G is the big technology enhancement

“Back in the early days, LiveU offered customers supplemental bandwidth in cell congested stadiums. But over the years, with the improvements of the cell networks, most recently including 5G and 5G C-band use, we find that extra bandwidth just isn’t needed anymore.”

So besides better connectivity, 5G offered Super Bowl attendees a much more engaging experience. In 2022, Verizon equipped the area around Los Angeles’s SoFi Stadium with $120 million worth of 5G technology in the months leading up to Super Bowl LVI. The improved network capabilities allowed fans in the stadium to enjoy high-tech experiences that included everything from on-demand instant replays to augmented reality competitions.

As the lead up to the Super Bowl LVII, we are excited to hear how the NFL and official broadcaster – Fox will utilize technology to enhance the viewer experience. We expect 5G to be a big part of the plans.

LiveU technology is the premiere choice for nearly every major broadcaster and affiliate station across the globe because of its resiliency and innovative solutions. Our clients trust our dedicated 24/7 support which is the absolute best in the industry, especially during mega events such as the Super Bowl.