FOX Sports commissioned PRG to build a three-story broadcast center at the top of Super Bowl Boulevard for coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII – the largest non-permanent structure ever erected in Times Square. PRG was able to turn the building over two days early, having worked seven days around the clock in the chilly Crossroads of the World. The three-story structure was in fact certified by the Times Square Alliance as the largest non-permanent structure ever erected in Times Square. The 65’ tall, 40’ by 40’ building was a fully functional broadcast facility, completely climate-controlled, that served as the New York City broadcast base for FOX Sports and other FOX Networks’ Super Bowl coverage as well as hosting several FOX news programs throughout game-week. The week culminated on game day when a viewership of more than 150 million tuned in for the FOX Super Bowl Sunday broadcast live from Times Square.
For this monumental undertaking, FOX Sports trusted PRG, the world’s leading supplier of entertainment and event technology, to deliver the complete solution. PRG’s scope of work included all of the coordination of the onsite construction and project management; providing engineering services; onsite systems integration; scenic fabrication; as well as providing the lighting, video, and audio infrastructure and integration packages. PRG worked closely with FOX Sports’ Jerry Steinberg, Senior Vice President of Field Operations for FOX Sports Media Group and Rod Conti, Executive Director, Field Operations for FOX Sports Network. PRG also helped work through the myriad of permitting, city utilities, and transit department requirements when building on top of a major subway hub below ground.
A much talked about feature of Super Bowl Boulevard, this impressive facility was 8,100 square feet of usable space, boasting a high-definition broadcast studio with south and north facing 10’ by 20’ windows for iconic views of up and down the Boulevard. There was a mini-football field on the roof deck complete with stadium-style lighting and Astroturf. On the outside of the building were two 12’ x 22’ PRG Nocturne V-9 Lite LED video screens and the west wall was covered with a 30’ by 20’ PRG Nocturne V-9 Lite LED screen located right next to Cleatus, the FOX Sports animated robot that stands 16’ tall and weighs 1,500lbs.
Upon receiving the rendering of this incredible facility, PRG worked in partnership with designer Jeff Hall and his production design team from the renowned JHD Group to engineer the components needed to realize this project. PRG took into consideration all the variable challenges of constructing a structure of this magnitude in the busy city center, including working in NY’s frigid temperatures, anticipating snow and staying on schedule. PRG’s meticulous pre-planning and onsite supervision meant they were able to supply the solutions needed to complete this never done before large-scale project in Times Square.
PRG had 15 site supervisors and five project managers working to oversee the 60-man strong team that built the broadcast facility at Duffy Square—46th Street and Broadway—in Times Square. They worked around the clock in shifts beginning at 12:01am on Friday 1/17/14. Construction even continued during the snowstorm that dropped 12” of snow on the city. Balancing snow removal and continuing construction allowed the PRG team to remain on schedule. After 27 semi-truck deliveries and seven days the broadcast studio was turned over to FOX Sports, though PRG remained onsite throughout the broadcast cycle, and began load-out even as the Super Bowl Champions celebrated.
The entire structure was test-built in the PRG New Windsor, NY facility to ensure the smooth onsite construction with every step planned and all contingences accounted for ahead of time. In fact, PRG brought in several members of the production and set-up crews early on to work with their engineers and project managers. They were able to come up with the best methods to put together this structure in extreme conditions. Knowing that the crews onsite would have to work in heavy clothing and gloves that would reduce their ability to use small hand tools, they designed the structure to be easily inter-lockable without the need for many of the smaller tools typically used in construction.
To keep the project green, PRG chose to use heat pumps to provide the heating for the broadcast facility without the need for any combustion exhaust. By using four five-ton heat pumps with an electric back-up, the studio is comfortably heated for the hosts, guests, and broadcast crews to work in sub-zero temperatures during Super Bowl week. This level of precision coordination and meticulous planning is a hallmark of the service that PRG’s industry leading reputation is built upon globally.
The PRG team was led by Bobby Allen, PRG Account Executive, Concert Touring, and Jim Lehner, PRG Senior Vice President, Special Projects. The FOX Sports team was headed by Jerry Steinberg, Senior Vice President of Field Operations for FOX Sports Media Group and Rod Conti, Executive Director, Field Operations for FOX Sports Network. Jeff Hall, Founder & Principal Designer JHD Group was the production designer and Chuck Noble, Noble Design, was the lighting designer for the facility and for the broadcast studio.