26th February 2008
When one of the USA’s most celebrated sporting occasions, the NFL SuperBowl XLII, took place at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale recently, it was shear numbers and brute force that was needed to build the press and camera platforms, rather than cutting-edge technology.
Some 13 platforms had to be constructed in the upper reaches of the enormous venue, providing a temporary home to the huge international media circus, which brought the SuperBowl into the homes of 97.5 million viewers worldwide, making it the second most watched TV programme in US history.
About 35 tons of scaffolding was lifted to the stadium’s fourth level concourse (at the base of the upper levels) using a combination of lifts and ‘dollies’ (wheeled trucks). From then on, the only option was to move the equipment through the remaining 23 rows of seats by hand.
“Sometimes the old ways are the only way,” said Mary Lou Figley, vice president of US Operations at Stageco, the company responsible for carrying out the work. “The construction time allotted for us was about five days, which typically would be a long timeframe. But given the challenge of moving the material by hand to the top rows, we used every minute. As we finished each platform, the production teams installed the décor elements, then went back to dress each structure to give it the final, show-ready presentation.”
So when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14, the world’s media had Stageco US to thank for their bird’s eye view of the game.