NBC Sports says that instead of traditional camera positions, it will use its dual SkyCam system as the primary viewing angle for the Thursday Night Football NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 16.
Using cameras on cables above the gridiron, SkyCam will give viewers a quarterback’s eye view of the game.
NBC used the view extensively during the Patriots’s Super Bowl rematch on Oct. 22 because the field in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., was enveloped by fog. Audience reaction was positive, and the network began making plans to use the new angle more extensively.
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“We are excited to present a game with the majority of live-action coverage coming from SkyCam,” said Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of NBC's Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football.
“After pivoting out of necessity to SkyCam in the New England fog, we’ve been aggressively planning and testing with the intent of utilizing the system for a full game,” said Gaudelli. “Younger generations of NFL fans have grown accustomed to watching football from this angle through their love of video games. This telecast will have a look and feel akin to that experience. We’ll still have our full complement of cameras and will revert to traditional coverage when situations dictate, but the primary viewing experience of the game will come from the SkyCam angle. Thursday Night Football has always been about technical innovation and new technologies, and this production will fit perfectly with that.”
SkyCam was also used extensively in the third quarter of the most recent Sunday Night Football game between the Raiders and the Dolphins because smoke from a halftime fireworks show blocked traditional camera angles.
The NFL and the networks that spend billions of dollars for the rights to broadcast games have seen ratings decline in the past two seasons and are looking for ways to bring fans back, particularly young fans.