Super Bowl 50 Is Big News For Bay Area Stations

San Francisco’s KPIX is in rarified air these days. Super Bowl 50 hoopla is coming to the Bay Area this week, and the game airs Feb. 7 on CBS—a boon for the network’s owned-and-operated station. KPIX has been planning coverage since the day that owners voted to award the game to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and collaborating with the Super Bowl host committee, which has been leasing space in the station’s building.

“It takes a lot of coordination. All of that wears on you,” says Bruno Cohen, KPIX president and general manager. “On the other hand, Super Bowl 50 only comes once. [The Super Bowl] only comes to your market once in a blue moon. To have Super Bowl 50 come to the Bay Area, to us at CBS, it’s an enormous professional opportunity and privilege to do a bang-up job on it.”

The station has been producing Countdown to Gold primetime access specials since the day after Super Bowl XLIX. KPIX aired a handful throughout 2015 and so far this year, but this week from Monday through Saturday will air the one-hour specials each night from 7-8 p.m. With 49ers legend Joe Montana and his wife Jennifer retained as contributors, the contents of Countdown to Gold range from NFL analysis to information on events around the Bay and the host committee, which has been making contributions to Bay Area charities through the 50 Fund.

That’s all part of the drumbeat of leading up to the Super Bowl, and making sure the audience recognizes KPIX as the most important source of information about what’s going to happen in the Bay Area,” Cohen says.

Because many of the station’s longtime commercial partners cannot afford a spot in the Super Bowl, Cohen says KPIX incorporates sponsored and sold content into the specials so they can benefit from the game.

Super Bowl events are spread out across the Bay Area, from Super Bowl City in San Francisco to the game 45 miles south in Santa Clara. The impact on the area—including traffic, road closures, financial issues and entertainment events—will be covered by all the stations in the market.

Spread Offense

KNTV, the NBC O&O based in San Jose, is treating the Super Bowl “like a breaking news event,” says Jonathan Mitchell, VP of news. “We’ll have people everywhere.”

The station, which is partnering with the Telemundo O&O KSTS, will have its weekday morning and evening teams out on Super Sunday and reporters at Levi’s Stadium all week. The NBC station is scheduled to start its 7 a.m. news an hour early on Feb. 7 and fill its hour-long 11 p.m. newscast with mostly Super Bowl-related material. In addition, KNTV is planning to re-air the Super Bowl episode of its documentary series, Bay Area Revelations.

Super Bowl coverage “from a bigger-picture angle” at KTVU Oakland started when Fox took over as owner a little over a year ago, says Dana McDaniel, VP of news. The station has taken space in the Federal Reserve Building along Market Street and will anchor live coverage from the heart of Super Bowl City, the main multi-faceted event location in San Francisco, during the week leading up to the action between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

As the host station, KPIX will have a broadcast anchor platform in Super Bowl City. By Feb. 3, the station plans to have all newscasts and Countdown to Gold specials originating from the site.

ABC-owned KGO is devoting the resources it would to any large event. “It touches more people than just the game. It’s up to us to take them to key events,” says William Burton, KGO president and general manager. “Not having the game on-air doesn’t mean we don’t cover it.”


For stations in Denver and Charlotte, Super Bowl 50 coverage began almost immediately after the Broncos and Panthers won their respective conference championship games.

Denver CBS O&O KCNC sent a reporter to Charlotte last week to interview Broncos fans and check out bars in the area where patrons may be partial to the AFC team. This week, a reporter will head west to the Bay Area, finding Broncos fans along the way and giving updates. By late this week, KCNC’s a.m. anchor will be delivering live reports from San Francisco. The station will air Super Bowl specials weeknights from 6:30-7 p.m, plus an hour-long show Saturday.

In Charlotte, Fox O&O WJZY will send news and sports reporters to the Bay Area. The station will feature studio and on-field interviews with players’ wives.

CBS affiliate WBTV will devote at least some part of normal news coverage each day to the Panthers, says Scott Dempsey, VP and general manager. The station’s prime access specials, extended to an hour this week, will include features on players, game stories and Xs and Os. “There’s such an appetite here,” Dempsey says.