Sunday Night Football Looks For Olympics Push

Coming off one of the great achievements in the history of sports television, a network faces the obvious question: Where does it go from here? Well, for the post-Olympics NBC Sports Group, that means bringing back the highest-rated program on television — Sunday Night Football — for its seventh season on the network.

NBC aims to do everything it can to carry the momentum from the London Games into its NFL coverage this year, and that includes all NBC Sports Group entities: the Peacock network, the cable networks, and digital properties. This one-for-all push includes further integrating the SNF production with the Sunday Night Football Extra online offering and cross-promotion for NBC Sports Network’s first daily NFL show Pro Football Talk.

“You will see [cross-promotion] done a lot and done appropriately; we won’t overdo it,” says Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. “I trust [producer Fred Gaudelli’s] instincts, and he is a big filter for us in terms of what we do and how we do it. It is important that we don’t offend the audience.”

Tafoya To Tweet Up a Storm
NBC’s Sunday Night Football Extra returns for its fifth season, with a larger effort on integrating the online offering into the linear telecast. SNF Extra, which allows fans to watch the NBC broadcast feed and isolated camera angles with full DVR and picture-in-picture capability, will further integrate tweets from sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya.

“Michelle always tweets during the game from the sidelines, which is tremendous use of her time because she sees so much that can’t make the broadcast,” says Gaudelli. “We have figured out a way to wire her microphone to an iPhone this year. She is going to have someone with her that records her reports and puts it right on Twitter and our Sunday Night Football Extra platform. We think that is really going to make an impact for those that enjoy the second-screen experience.”

360-Degree Replay on Horizon, Status Quo for Now
In terms of production tools for the telecast itself, Gaudelli says that, aside from a series of 360-degree–replay experiments that could be ready for SNF telecasts by Thanksgiving, this year is all about fortifying an already robust production model.

“A lot of these [production tools] just kind of evolve as the season goes along based on what [commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth] are saying and the collective creative thinking of the group,” says Gaudelli. “All the things from the past will definitely be back, and then, hopefully, we will be adding some things as the season goes on.”

Pro Football Talk Joins the Party
NBC also aims to better integrate its on-the-rise cable sports network into SNF telecasts, especially with its first daily NFL show having just launched. Mike Florio, who created, will host NBC Sports Network’s new Pro Football Talk weeknights with co-host Erik Kuselias. Florio and Kuselias will bring in Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football commentators throughout the week.

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