Big Screen Celebrates Big Anniversary at Super Bowl XLIV

Having worked 24 straight Super Bowls, Big Screen Network Productions President Paul Kalil will miss this weekend’s Super Bowl. But he has a good excuse: he is in Vancouver, helping prep the venues for the Winter Olympics that begin next week. For Big Screen, though, the Super Bowl streak continues and hits 25 on Sunday.

“We’ll have a team of five people who are set up in the control rooms of Sun Life Stadium and have been working on the production throughout the year,” says Kalil. “We’ll work with the local staff in managing the control room, and that is important for us because it’s the right thing to do.”

Twenty-five years ago, he says, the in-stadium video experience consisted of the NFL’s bringing in its own video screen, putting it at the top of the stadium, and plugging it into the TV feed. Today, it’s an important part of the event.

From the minute the doors open hours before the game to an hour after the game, he and his team script the entire event, ensuring that there isn’t a single dead moment. During the pre-game buildup, long-form content from NFL Films will be part of the programming plan, as well as coverage of pre-game warm-ups. CBS Sports and the NFL Network will also assist in building packages this year.

Unlike at all other NFL games, no local car dealerships or pizza joints will get their ad on the scoreboard during breaks in the action. Instead, Big Screen has built a number of video packages featuring top 10 Super Bowl plays, top 10 plays of the year, and more.

“We approach it as if it’s a home game for both teams,” Kalil explains. “We want both teams to feel supported in their efforts on the field.”

That leads to some unique in-stadium experiences. All touchdowns are celebrated. And team colors, logos, and music from both the Colts and the Saints will be part of the action. “We also incorporate the LED ribbon boards into the show,” says Kalil, “and not just for sponsor elements.”

During the game, Big Screen Productions will use as many as 12 cameras, plus camera feeds from CBS Sports, to cover the game. In Sun Life Stadium, the scoreboard has the same dimension as the HD feed broadcast by CBS Sports, so that will make for a more unified production.

“The key is being non-partisan and making sure both teams get similar sorts of things, especially when we want to get the crowd going,” says Kalil. “We celebrate all great plays, and replays are fair and balanced. We’re very mindful of skewing towards one team. Of course, if one team scores five touchdowns in a row, it may feel that way for fans of the other team.” All plays are shown at least once.

And as for the teams on the field, the game is the culmination of months of hard work, the staff having begun prepping elements in September.

“The goal is to make this the premiere sporting event and pull out all the stops,” says Kalil. “We push the envelope with respect to the resources available to us.”