By Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director, Sports Video Group
Super Bowl XLV on Sunday closed out a massive week of global awareness for the NFL as the league’s broadcast and operations team pumped out a steady diet of Super Bowl-related content to 190 nations around the world. And the compound shared by the NFL Network and the team behind the NFL’s world feed continues to evolve.
“Every year the layout changes a bit because we can’t have a cookie cutter approach,” says Glenn Adamo, NFL, VP of media operations and broadcasting. “And our engineering guys did a great job accommodating this large and growing compound into our footprint.”
Adamo credits Jeff Howard, senior executive of Engineering and Broadcast Technologies at NFL Network and NFL Films and Tom Foley, NFL Films, technical director with doing a great job setting the compound up and integrating the network and world feed.
NEP’s Super B unit served as the TOC and master control and during the game also converted the 720p signal from Fox Sports into 1080i, the format the NFL uses for world distribution, using Cobalt converters.
Uncompressed fiber technologies played a big part in the operations as well, connecting the Super Bowl compound at Dallas Cowboys Stadium to the NFL Experience venue and the Media Center in a nearby Sheraton hotel.
“We used a lot more fiber because of the distances here in the facility,” says Howard. “And there were some unique challenges in getting into the stadium without having to run fiber through the tunnel.”
All the venues were also connected via 100 Mbps Level 3 HSIP fiber to NFL Network operations in Culver City, CA, NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, NJ, and Crawford Media Center in Atlanta, where the Network’s master control facility is located. Signiant’s content distribution management software was also used to push files back and forth between the locations and Encompass Digital Media Services provided return feeds.
“Signiant was a life saver for pushing files and delivering more content,” says Adamo.
NEP’s SS25 production unit was used for the world feed while SS28 handled network operations. Corplex Platinum and Iridium were used at the Media Center and the NFL Experience.
Howard says a Cisco JPEG2000 platform was used to deliver content and HD clean feeds over the Level 3 VenueNet Plus system. “There is tremendous connectivity with the Level 3 system,” says Howard. “It’s unparelled.”