CBS plans tech innovations for the Super Bowl, but will they become standard for future football telecasts? reports that the first television experiment with the Super Bowl — having two networks show the same game — was the legacy of a commercial compromise that merged America’s two professional football leagues and created the game in the first place.

That concept was dropped after the first game, but the Super Bowl itself has become a proving ground and showcase for many of the technological innovations, from instant replay to computer-generated first-down lines and high-definition cameras, that have become a standard part of the televised football experience.

Indeed, as the Super Bowl rotates annually among the networks that have pieces of the National Football League’s regular-season rights package, it has become something of a contest to see how each network plans to outdo the previous year’s broadcast effort.

“I wouldn’t call it an arms race,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, “but it’s always a showcase for new technology.”

Other than more and bigger — CBS will use 70 cameras Sunday at Levi’s Stadium, including one mounted atop a tower in the Great America amusement park — the network will pioneer, or improve upon, three technologies.

The question is whether these innovations are a one-off gimmick or become standard features of TV football in the future, the way satellite navigation is increasingly becoming standard on lower-priced cars.


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