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MainConcept TeamFeb 16, 20234 min read

Super Bowl LVII: Star Power and Digital Video Technology for the Win

I’ve never been a huge fan of American football despite my Texan roots (where it is all about the “Friday night lights”). But, while watching a livestream of the Super Bowl LVII match-up between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, my attitude took a dramatic shift. It was an exciting, edge-of-your-seat game that kept us all glued to the large screen at our local concert venue. And I couldn’t help but be thrilled that my fellow native Texan and Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ ability was pivotal to bringing the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl, and he was a key player in their amazing 2nd-half comeback despite an ankle injury.

Star power abounded

Admittedly, I usually watch the Super Bowl for the half-time show and the always entertaining commercials. This year, they did not disappoint. With glorious music from Barbadian singer Rihanna (proudly sporting her new baby bump that announced to the world that baby #2 is on the way) who was flown over the field on one of multiple platforms (along with her backup dancers and a Skycam that captured footage along with the many other cameras), to the Super Bowl commercials and affiliated ads that featured over 50 Endeavor (MainConcept’s parent company) clients—including Elton John, Tony Hawk, Serena Williams and Amy Schumer—the breaks from the game kept us all attentive to the screen.

Endeavor organizations also represent players such as Brandon Graham, George Karlaftis and Justin Reid as well as over 20 sports broadcasters (e.g., Michael Strahan and Molly Qerim) providing game coverage. Endeavor-owned companies represent a tremendous amount of the talent (including Rihanna, who is currently the second best-selling female music artist of all time1) that was on display, both on and off the field.

Technology did not disappoint

This Super Bowl game, much of my focus changed to the technology and people behind the scenes. Technology for large-scale sporting events is a topic we’ve discussed in webinars (see Technology That Brings Sporting Events to Fans) and blog posts such as Behind the Scenes: Gold Medal Olympics’ Content Live and On-Demand) and MainConcept Partners with Globo to Bring HDR Video of FIFA World Cup to Brazil.

While MainConcept touches over 90% of professional digital video, our technology is often a hidden ingredient behind amazing products that our customers and partners such as Avid make. In a live broadcast such as the Super Bowl game, there are many complex workflows that involve different tools, touchpoints and operators.

Historic streaming statistics

Fox Sports owned the U.S. streaming rights for the Super Bowl this year and they reported that Super Bowl LVII was the most-streamed Super Bowl in history, delivering an average of 7 million simultaneous streams, up +18% over last year (vs. 6 million).2 It could also be viewed for free using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna for those with a local Fox Network signal or on services like Sling TV and Fubo TV.

If you happened to be on an airplane that evening, you likely watched the Super Bowl on screen as this was the ninth consecutive year that IMG Media’s Sport 24 (an Endeavor Company) broadcasted it live from 40,000 feet to airline passengers worldwide. Endeavor Streaming also continues to work with the NFL to deliver the final game of the season via NFL Game Pass as an end-to-end live game service in China, as well as provides audio streaming support for NFL+ in the US.

Did they film in 4K or 8K? What resolution was the broadcast?

According to this article in CNET, the broadcast was in 1080p (high definition or HD) with one 8K camera filming from a high view of the field giving the broadcaster the ability to zoom in up to 16X without losing any detail, even in replays. The other 93 cameras filmed in 4K. Because the camera captured the game both wide (the whole field) and zoomed in, the director could choose how much to magnify the shots without pre-planning or a processing delay. 4K vs 8K filming and delivery is one of the hottest discussions in the world of digital video. One thing is certain though, having access to all of these technologies results in an exceptional viewing experience even for those of us who were not in the stadium!

Powering the digital video universe ?

As for MainConcept’s role, we know that as a core technology provider we are often a critical component of the solutions that bring exciting events to life for audiences around the globe. We continue providing professional Software Development Kits (SDKs), applications and plug-ins for the broadcast industry. If you want to learn more, make sure to visit us at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this April, or contact us today to set up a meeting.

1 Wikipedia article, Rihanna.
2 Rayburn, Dan. Streaming Media blog post. Live Streaming the Super Bowl Across 12 Devices and 6 Platforms. February 12, 2023.