THE BIG INTERVIEW: Aron Kennedy, San Francisco 49ers

In this latest interview, San Francisco 49ers’ Vice President of Game Day Productions, Aron Kennedy, discusses the latest bleeding-edge technological advancements at Levi’s® Stadium, with completion of the world’s first-ever full-field 8K video replay system.

Aron, can you start off by telling us a little about the background for what drove the 49ers to develop this new 8K video replay system?

A couple of years ago, Fii [Foxconn Industrial Internet] was looking for ways to implement 8K technology into the stadium. We focused on a tried and true industry concept with camera placements commonly used for marquee football games such as the Super Bowl, only we would do it with 8K cameras. One camera will cover each sideline (2 total), one camera would cover each goal line (2 total), and the fifth camera will cover the entire field similar to an All-22 camera used for coaching reviews of game film.

What are the relevant specs of the system’s optical and digital zoom capabilities, and the technology that makes this possible without pixilation?

With 8K resolution, we can zoom in 400% digitally and still output an HD signal. We do have some optical zoom capabilities on our sideline cameras in order to split the field in half (50 yard line), but we are primarily using our digital pan and scan capabilities for the replay system. In addition, the cameras are static mounted and do not track the play on the field. This is done by digital zoom, pan and scan.

How is the new video replay system able to ingest the significant amounts of data needed to produce video in 8K?

Most replay systems break down signals to 3G inputs which is a video standard for most equipment. For example; a 4K 60p signal is comprised of four 3G signals. With that in mind, our new replay system ingests 152 3G signals which we believe is the “highest amount of data” for any existing stadium. If you break it down to file size, one second of 8K 120fps footage is approximately 6Gb. That said, the system is ingesting approximately 30Gb per second of video.

What are the key specs for the stadium’s 200×48-foot video boards?

The video boards at Levi’s Stadium have a 13mm pixel pitch with up to 9500 nits. 

What is the most significant benefit this new technology brings to fans of football and the game itself?

In football, unlike any other sport, it is within the rules to replay a play onto the video boards that can help our team win a game. Whether it is by energizing 70,000 fans to scream at the top of their lungs, during a typical season, or by changing the outcome of a bad officiating call. 

Where in the stadium are the new the cameras positioned?

We have installed five 8k120fps cameras: One on each sideline (two total), One on each goal line  (two total), One at the 50 yard line that covers the entire field (sometimes referred to as an All-22 camera).

What led to the decision to launch the new 8K video replay technology at a time when fans cannot experience the technology in person?

We are continuing to talk to the county about when fans can return, but we know it will not be for this week. You are correct on flagging that comment & your suggested edit is correct. We will keep pushing the envelope on technologies that can help the 49ers win on the field and better the fan experience at Levi’s Stadium. We really see these as one in the same goal.

Does the new 8K video replay system have any benefit for the at-home TV viewer?

Our Fii 8K replay system is currently just a benefit to the in-stadium audience. In the future we could provide our footage to the TV broadcast team, but we have not had those discussions with any of the NFL broadcast networks to date. The first step in that process would likely be to work with our preseason broadcast partner to feature the replay footage on our preseason telecasts. In the meantime, we will be sharing 8K highlights with our fans via social media in the week following our home games, but NFL guidelines don’t allow us to share those on gamedays.

For the full, in-depth interview with Aron, go to:

Make sure to read the press release on the project by clicking here.

#LevisStadium #NFL #SportsBiz #sportstech

Images, courtesy: 49ers / Foxconn / Levi’s Stadium

The upcoming ‘hybrid’ edition of ALSD International – Europe’s leading event for the Premium Seat & Sports Hospitality sector – will focus on increasing revenue via new builds, renovations, service expansions & technology, and reopening with confidence.

It will be further complemented by tours of Anfield, Goodison Park and M&S Bank Arena, in addition to an event app and microsite, which will ensure attendees can knowledge-share, network and do business pre, during and post show.

#ALSDInternational – Europe’s leading event for the Premium Seat & Sports Hospitality sector

#ALSD – Leading the Premium Seat sector for the last 30 years


#SportsVenueBusiness – The leading platform for sector news, views & developments

Share This Article

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.