It Takes a Championship Team to Make This Weekend’s Big Game Accessible to All

by: David Titmus

The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will take the field in Miami, Florida’s Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday (February 2) for Super Bowl LIV.

Football laying in the middle of the fieldThe Super Bowl traditionally is among the most-viewed television broadcasts of the year, with last year’s big game drawing an average of more than 98 million viewers. That’s a lot of eyes on the screen, and many of those will be watching the game – either at the sports bar, on their mobile devices, or in the comfort of their own living rooms – with captions prominently displayed.

Captioning an event like the Super Bowl is a true team effort. And just as teams need great chemistry and teamwork to be successful, captioners, coordinators, supervisors, and schedulers all need to work together to produce the highest quality captions.

Captioning live sporting events can be a challenge for captioners and production teams as the games often include multiple, fast-talking announcers (who sometimes speak over each other), quick play-by-play calls, unique statistics, and sport-specific terms and jargon.

In order to prepare for the big game, captioners and production coordinators will research all the information they expect analysts and commentators to discuss during the game as well as in pregame and postgame shows. This includes player names, stats, team information, and historical data that might pop up during the broadcast as well as details on any halftime performances.

Schedulers and supervisors work to ensure everything runs smoothly, testing systems and set-ups in advance, and monitoring caption feeds during play. And support teams will be on the ready should any problems arise, making sure no one misses a single snap or minute of action.

From kickoff to the halftime show to the trophy presentation, it takes a team of trained captioning and production professionals to pull off an inclusive, accessible Super Bowl experience.