CBS Sports technology make-over includes 115 cameras and AR.
The NFL and CBS are both being a tad coy with what you and all of your armchair quarterback buddies can expect from the AR infused Super Bowl coverage, but they have confirmed 4 cameras dedicated specifically for AR, including the use of the stadiums SkyCam for those cool bird’s eye views during the big game.
The team behind CBS Sports Super Bowl coverage promises to deliver an AR rich broadcast that will be used during commentary and even on the field in real-time; an endeavor that could push live sports broadcasting in new directions for years to come, and even change how you experience all future NFL games at home.
You can bet good money that CBS’s will be using AR to deliver information on player stats and even help fans understand specific plays; similar to the way Mexican multimedia company Televisa did with Super Bowl LI back in 2017. However, AR technology has grown substantially since then, and the possibilities of what you can do with AR today goes beyond adding team banners and digital team huddles in front of game commentators.
In a conversation with VRScout, Naomi Assaraf, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of cloudHQ and fan of both the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, talks about what her vision of AR and sports broadcasting could look like, saying, “It would be amazingly cool if during replays, instead of just reviewing the play, you could use AR to digitally change the replay footage to see how the team could have yielded better results – either leading to a touchdown or playing better defense.”
Assaraf has also played with the idea of using AR to look at an NFL player’s college stats during the broadcast. “You could use AR to see the player wearing a digital version of their college uniform in real-time as he is on the field.”
Of course, these are very forward-thinking ideas that may not be on every football fans sports broadcasting wish-list just yet. Will something like that happen during Super Bowl LIII? Maybe not this time, but as AR technology evolves, Assaraf’s ideas could easily turn into reality for sports broadcasting and football fans, which could be gold for TV ratings.
Some would argue that an AR experience through a live television broadcast is no different than any other television graphic that you would see during a regular season game. In an article titled: ‘Augmented Reality – the hottest trend in broadcast graphics’, Miguel Churruca, Marking and Communication Director for Brainstorm, sees it differentl, telling DigitalStudioMe.com “Augmented Reality allows for displaying data-driven graphics along with real images, where real footage or live videos are mixed with virtual backgrounds or scenes.”
For Churruca, AR experiences includes chroma keyed effects and data-driven 3D graphics which can interact with – in this case – players on the field; in the process creating a fun AR layer of information for you and your friends during the Super Bowl.
AR would bring a virtual layer to sports broadcasting, “where visually engaging representations of the data can be better explained by the presenters, making complex data easier to understand while enhancing the storytelling,” said Churruca.
To really help round out the fan experience for Super Bowl LIII, CBS plans on using 115 cameras to broadcast the game, including 16 4K cameras, 9 Sony HDC-4800 camera systems, wireless handheld cameras on the field, multiple cameras built into the pylons that run along the side of the field, three super slow-motion cameras on the goal posts, and over 25 cameras placed around the end zones.
Every angle of the field will have high tech coverage, with AR playing a key role in how viewers at home experience the game. Of course, if you happen to have a ticket to the Super Bowl, you can watch the AR effects on Mercedes-Benz Stadiums Halo Display, a giant LED 360-degree video display that was engineered by Daktronics.
As for the average NFL football fan who just wants a “wow factor” while watching the game from their homes?
One NFL fan told VRScout, “I love the game, and I love fantasy football. Player stats are very important to me. If AR can deliver better stats, I’m all for it. As for the Super Bowl, if AR graphics can make the game more fun to watch, sign me up!”
AR might not guarantee you first place in your fantasy football league, but there is no doubt that AR technology – along with VR – is changing how you experience professional sports broadcasting all together.
Super Bowl LIII will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, home of the Atlanta Falcons. This will be the first Super Bowl hosted at the stadium since it opened in 2017. Pre-game festivities start Sunday, February 3rd at 1pm with kickoff at 6:30 EST, all on CBS Sports. You can also stream the game over at CBSSports.com.