NBC Olympics anchor heads to L.A. ahead of ‘Super Gold Sunday’

NBC Olympics anchor Mike Tirico headed west to the Los Angeles area ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, meaning he anchored primtime coverage of 2022 Winter Olympics from an outdoor studio set up across a lake from SoFi Stadium.

SoFi Stadium, which is in Inglewood, California, about three miles from Los Angeles International Airport, is the host of Super Bowl LVI and 2022 marks the first year the big game and Olympics are airing at the same time (in other years where the Super Bowl falls during the Olympics, it’s moved around on the calendar).

The day is being dubbed “Super Gold Sunday,” a nod to both the Super Bowl name and gold medals awarded to top finishers at the Games.

NBC is also airing both events during the same time period and had originally planned on having Tirico in Beijing for the first days of Olympic competition before flying him to Los Angeles for the Super Bowl and then back to China to wrap up the rest of the Games.

However, the network ended up flying Tirico back to NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut earlier than planned.

He then journeyed to the L.A. area for the Super Bowl weekend and is slated to head back east after the game — but won’t return to Beijing, with the network citing “coordination issues” as the reason for bringing him back stateside.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, NBC only sent a minimal crew to Beijing and, while some segments continue to originate from the “ski lodge” sets it built in the International Broadcast Centre there, those studios will likely end up seeing much less use than planned.

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Much of the editorial operations for the Olympics are being handled remotely from Connecticut and events are even being called remotely by commentators in the U.S. watching feeds from events in China rather than being there in person (this practice has increased in recent years of sports broadcasting as a whole).

In Connecticut, Tirico appeared on a redressed version of the “Football Night in America” set for Olympics coverage starting Feb. 9, 2022.

On Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, Tirico began anchoring Olympic coverage from a temporary broadcast structure set up across Rivers Lake from SoFi Stadium for coverage of both events (keeping in mind that some of Tirico’s Olympics broadcasts were always going to originate from L.A. due to needing him on the ground there ahead of Super Bowl Sunday).

Under the roof, an off-white and blue design from HD Studio features a “railing” of thick pylons with slightly curved tops and artfully uplit as they get slightly higher on either side. 

Likewise, the anchor desk used features angled “ribbon” segments — all elements that could have been inspired by the sweeping curves and unique footprint of the stadium complex, with Blackwalnut handling the fabrication. 

A circular “cut out” allows the network to showcase branding while a custom floor graphic features references to the Super Bowl trophy and the NBC peacock.

Meanwhile, the sidewalls of the booth are covered with hundreds of while hexagons that organically “climb” up the wall, revealing a blue NBC branded graphic behind.

The position of the facility offers a sweeping view of the stadium, which actually combines a massive football arena, indoor theater and covered outdoor space between them, all enveloped by an enormous combined canopy. 

Set Design

NBC Sports Super Bowl LVI

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This position also lets the network place the oversized Super Bowl LVI dimensional letters brought in for the occasion and set up on the opposite side of the water, just over Tirico’s shoulder, while the “SoFi Stadium” branding is frequently visible over the other.

The entire broadcast setup is open-air but covered and is part of a complex of broadcast facilities set up in Lake Park south of the stadium, where several pier-like structures jut out into the water. NBC has multiple desks for Super Bowl coverage along with positions for Telemundo Deportes. 

During the extended open to coverage Friday night, Tirico pointed out the region’s ties to the sporting world beyond just the Super Bowl and 2022 Olympics, including it having served as Olympics host city twice in the past and its future 2028 gig.

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The open started off showcasing the Los Angeles skyline — rather than views of China as would be traditional — including aerial views of the skyline and famous Hollywood sign, likely in an effort to acknowledge the broadcast was in Los Angeles while also explaining why.

A reverse view of the temporary studio structure Mike Tirico used starting Feb. 11, 2022, and will also be used for NBCUniversal’s Super Bowl coverage. This view also showcases temporary lighting, jibs and other broadcast spaces part of the temporary encampment of broadcast space created for coverage of the game.

In addition to hosting Super Bowl LVI, SoFi Stadium is home to both the Los Angeles Rams and Dodgers and also has multiple different configuration options for concerts and other events — in addition to the indoor YouTube Theater across Champions Way, the covered outdoor space between the two primary segments of the structure.

SoFi Stadium will serve as the venue for the 2028 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies when L.A. hosts them that year. During this time, the “SoFi” name will be “removed” due to a ban on using facilities with corporate naming rights for the Olympics.

The stadium will also host soccer matches and archery competitions. 

NFL Network also recently relocated to a building nearby the stadium from Culver City, California, which is part of a larger master planned mixed use community known as Hollywood Park.

NBC was originally slated to broadcast the 2021 Super Bowl, but swapped places with CBS in order to capitalize on having both sporting events the same year (as well as having actual events taking place in the same Sunday). 

This move also allowed it to “bundle” advertising sales together.

NBC said that as of Feb. 3, 2022 it had sold out of advertising inventory during the game, which sold for as high as $7 million for 30 seconds.

All told, NBC is likely to bring in over $1 billon in ad revenue between both events.

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