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Being dubbed “the biggest, boldest and coldest Super Bowl in TV history,” there is a chance the matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks may not even take place on Feb. 2 if a big storm hits the Big Apple.
In a media call on Wednesday, the Fox Sports crew revealed their broadcasting plans for Super Bowl Sunday — and what they will do if it turns into Super Bowl Friday or even Super Bowl Monday.
“We have been preparing along with the league for multiple scenarios,” FOX Sports president, COO & executive producer Eric Shanks said during a conference call.
The issue became a hot topic after the NFL revealed that Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey could be played anywhere from Friday, Jan. 31, to Monday, Feb. 3, in a worst case scenario.
“I think that even the league a couple of weeks ago didn’t dismiss the idea of being prepared for other dates, even before Sunday or after Sunday,” explained Shanks. “I think it is the right thing to do.”
The current forecast for the game’s 6.25 p.m. ET kickoff is a high of 40 degrees and a 30 percent chance of rain or snow, but as East Coasters found out this week — the weather can change very quickly and without warning.
“The storm that happened just this week was three days ahead of time and it wasn’t really predicted. It was meant to be a small storm, then they ended up getting seven to eight inches [of snow] here,” said Shanks, while addressing the media with Fox NFL Sunday hosts Michael Strahan and Terry Bradshaw.
“We are set up to go as early as the league would tell us that they want to go, all of our pregame plans will be in place, and, for example, if the game potentially happens earlier than Sunday, Terry and Michael have already said they are taking the whole crew to Miami!” he joked.
Now more accustomed to sitting in a warm TV studio alongside Kelly Ripa, Live With Kelly and Michael co-host Strahan played his fair share of cold-weather games during his 15 years in the NFL, and the former New York Giants defensive end believes that an early game would be the hardest scenario for the teams competing.
“From a player’s standpoint, if they move [the Super Bowl] around, if they make it a day early then that is worse in my mind than a day later,” he explained to THR. “Mentally you are on schedule, on Sunday your mind and body are at that peak moment where you are ready to compete, but if you move it a day earlier, then it speeds it up, which is not beneficial from the player’s standpoint.
“If you move it a day after, then that is a lot easier to deal with. But hopefully there is no moving at all. If there’s snow, let them play in the snow. It would have to be something pretty incredible to make them change the day around.”
With over 100 million viewers expected to tune in for the game of the year, Shanks believes they will watch it whenever it is played. In terms of the impact on viewers, “I don’t think we necessarily know yet, but you would have a lot of built-in promotion as the game-day delay would be a massive story — potentially if there was anyone in the U.S. who didn’t know the Super Bowl was being played, they might then know,” he said ironically.
“These numbers are so big for the Super Bowl, what would be a swing in a normal telecast when a few million more or less viewers would make a difference, but the numbers are so huge it will still be in the Super Bowl range,” he explained.
The 2013 Super Bowl — in which the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 — scored an average audience of 108.7 million viewers for CBS, according to Nielsen.
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