Testing & Analysis

Autodesk Teams Up with FOX Sports to Visualize Effects of Wind During Super Bowl XLVIII

28 Jan, 2014 By: Cadalyst Staff

Viewers of the big game will get a high-tech look at weather patterns inside the stadium, thanks to simulation technologies developed for design and engineering.


SAN FRANCISCO & NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)—The New Jersey Meadowlands, home of MetLife Stadium and Super Bowl XLVIII, has long been known for its unpredictable, swirling winter winds. Autodesk and FOX Sports — the cable network that will broadcast Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday — are teaming up to give viewers the opportunity to see the impact that wind may have on the first Super Bowl ever held outdoors in a cold-weather locale. The technology, dubbed FOX WEATHER TRAX for the game, will clearly illustrate dynamic in-stadium airflow patterns for the first time ever on live television.

FOX Sports called upon Autodesk to illustrate the challenges players may face due to potentially unprecedented Super Bowl wind conditions. Using Autodesk simulation technology to calculate the specific weather conditions inside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Autodesk and FOX plan to superimpose visual representations of wind direction directly over game play. In the past, coaches, players, commentators, and fans relied on field goal flags to determine how the wind might have influenced a pass or field goal. It was a guessing game at best, and one that typically left viewers scratching their heads as to why a kick or touchdown pass was missed.

"Wind is obviously an invisible factor that can directly affect the outcome of a game," said Zac Fields, vice-president, Graphics & Technology, FOX Sports, who is working directly with the Autodesk team on the project. "Since the wind has a notorious reputation in the New Jersey Meadowlands, and given the magnitude of the game, we looked for and found a great tool to depict this phenomenon in excellent detail, which should help the more than 100 million viewers actually 'see the wind.'"

Simulation technology is regularly used by product designers, architects, and engineers to investigate what-if design scenarios, explore new ideas, and gain deeper insight into how a product, machine, or building would behave during real-world use. The technology has radically improved the design process by allowing Autodesk customers to test and analyze designs digitally before physical production.

“When FOX Sports sought to take this year’s Super Bowl viewing experience to the next level, Autodesk was more than ready to answer the call,” said Buzz Kross, Autodesk senior vice-president. “People use our simulation software every day to understand and predict outcomes in the world around them. Whether it’s testing how a mobile phone operates in extreme temperatures or the air flow in an office building, our simulation tools help people make better decisions and produce winning outcomes.”

How it Works

For the first time ever, home viewers will have an insider’s view of the wind and airflow patterns at the stadium, but how exactly does it work? This video illustrates what Super Bowl XLVIII viewers will see.

  • Step 1. A digital model of the stadium is constructed using 3D modeling software.
  • Step 2. Simulation software interacts with the digital stadium model. The user alters wind speed and direction to suit the game day conditions and sees how the air flow patterns inside the stadium are affected.
  • Step 3. The simulation graphics are then played out over a live camera to show the viewer the wind paths in relation to the field.

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