Tuesday, October 14, 2008
All Access: Dolphin Stadium
Imagine hosting a party nearly every Sunday for thousands of people. There's no room for error. Tonight, Seven's Dave Kartunen gives us an All Access pass behind the scenes of Dolphin Stadium, so Fins fans can see how it all comes together.
WSVN -- Before your Miami Dolphins ever take the field, thousands of people work many more hours to create what's come to be known as the NFL experience.
M. Bruce Schulze, Dolphin Stadium President: "It's like opening your doors and inviting 75,000 of your closest friends for a party."
And it's a party that's only spontaneous on the field.
M. Bruce Schulze: "At 7:32, we'll have the anthem."
Days before they ever sing the Star Spangled Banner, dozens of Dolphin Stadium staff members are scripting it.
M. Bruce Schulze: "We literally go through every detail. The whole day is scripted out."
Kartunen: "Minute by minute?"
M. Bruce Schulze: "Literally minute by minute, yeah."
Field crews have to convert the field from baseball to football -
M. Bruce Schulze: "We drop the foul poles. We pull the seats out. We lower the pitcher's mound. We re-sod certain areas of the field."
Some parts of the stadium gets a power wash everyday, and literally every Marlin you see gets changed into a Dolphin.
M. Bruce Schulze: "We've got it down to about eight hours."
Two weeks before, they're ordering and distributing enough food to make a competitive eater blush.
Michael Bekolay, Food Service Vice President: "You would expect to see 15,000 bottles of water, somewhere in the neighborhood of 18,000 cups of soda, about a ton-- 2,000 pounds of hot dogs."
Michael Bekolay: "Inside the stadium, you get to watch the game on the biggest HD monitor in professional sports, and you get to hear the game on the public address system. But what you may not know is that the in-game entertainment is like producing television on one of the world's biggest stages."
Chad Messina, Director of Scoreboard Operations: "They'll say, 'Oh, you just come and push a button and everything turns on.' I wish it was that easy."
After days of prep, a staff of 30 runs scoreboard operations during the game. Running 10 high definition cameras. They even have three staffers who run the stadium, fixing televisions and replacing remote controls for fans in club boxes.
Chad Messina: "We have 21,000 feet of video cable, about four miles, if you want to put it that way."
They pride themselves on such precision. They actually recite the national anthem over the radio to pilots in the military flyover. At 500 miles per hour, they manage to time it just right three games out of four.
Dave Kartunen: "Do you feel responsible if the jets don't fly by at the right time?"
Chad Messina: "It's happened in the past."
Next time you sit in the seats, remember: The game may be 60 minutes on the clock, but the whole NFL experience can't be measured in any amount of time.
M. Bruce Schulze: "We don't want them to really know what we're doing behind the scenes to make their day an enjoyable experience."