SB’s David Bolton in Tampa to produce Super Bowl broadcast
Will Tom Brady make more NFL history with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in today’s Super Bowl, or will Patrick Mahomes lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a second straight world championship?
No matter the result, Santa Barbara’s David Bolton will be there in Tampa, Fla., to take it all in from a large production truck at the stadium.
Mr. Bolton owns Cultural Global Media — a Santa Barbara company that has produced professional sporting events on television for the better part of three decades.
Today, Mr. Bolton will be producing and directing his sixth straight Super Bowl game for Fox Sports Latin America. While the U.S. will watch the game on CBS, Cultural Global Media will broadcast it to Latin America and other parts of the world.
It is, without a doubt, the biggest event Mr. Bolton’s company has ever produced.
“I think when anyone sets off to do something like production in the world of sports, they always want to set the bar high,” he told the News-Press. “They always want to strive for the best standards possible, and you obviously have your eye on a big target. In sports, there’s not a bigger target in my mind than the Super Bowl.
“We’re just honored and so thankful that once again the NFL has the confidence in our company to provide this very important service to one of its leading international clients.”
Cultural Global Media is the only production company besides CBS that will be working today’s game.
It’s a big change from years past, when several production outfits worked the Super Bowl for audiences in different parts of the world. COVID-19 is the reason why.
The Super Bowl isn’t Mr. Bolton’s only experience with the NFL.
His company began producing games for the league in 2014, and last season did three NFC playoff games, two of which involved the San Francisco 49ers, who advanced to the Super Bowl to play the Chiefs.
“We are responsible for every aspect of the broadcast,” Mr. Bolton said. “My company rents the large production trucks, we take care of the coordination of satellite and transmission of the broadcast, we hire all the necessary crew that is needed, and we deal with the NFL on a very frequent basis.
“We deal with the NFL on everything from stadium protocols, where we can be, what we can shoot and when you can’t shoot. They have very strict rules in terms of how a production company can achieve its broadcast. It’s all done because it’s such a big game, and there are so many moving parts.”
Asked if he still gets nervous after all of his years in the production business, Mr. Bolton admitted he still does, especially when the stakes are as high as they are today.
“You don’t get nervous doing the actual broadcast, the nerves come from if there’s a mistake, it could be one of your last broadcasts,” he said. “For that reason, yes, I’m always nervous because there’s a lot at stake here.
“There’s no margin for error. I’ll be nervous every day I’m in Tampa thinking about what’s going to be the quality, what’s going to be the result.”
Mr. Bolton’s career in sports production began in 1985, when he was the sports director at KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara.
While there, he created “Friday Football Focus,” a highlight show that current sports director Mike Klan has turned into an Emmy Award winning product.
“I was 22 years old at the time, and it was something that I had a passion for, which was putting together a local show that had a wide-reaching appeal and could really bring highlights over the Tri-Counties to the viewers on Channel 3,” Mr. Bolton recalled. “From that, when I left KEYT, I began focusing on live sports productions.”
Once that part of his career began, Mr. Bolton immediately began a long-standing relationship with the Fox network, as well as other sports outlets.
“I worked 20 years as the director and producer of all of the United Soccer League broadcasts on Fox Soccer Channel,” he said. “I also, for seven years, did Major League Soccer games as well as international soccer games for the Fox Soccer Channel.”
Cultural Global Media has also produced Major League Baseball games, Major League Lacrosse games and a variety of high-profile college sports.
It’s all in the career of a proud Santa Barbara High Don, but nothing, in Mr. Bolton’s opinion, compares to the Super Bowl.
“Super Bowls are the biggest events we could ever imagine doing,” he said. “It’s definitely a big honor. I’m very proud of what this company has been able to do in its 30 years of doing live sports productions.
“During our peak from 2005 to 2012, my company was responsible for between 150 and 175 live broadcasts a year. I don’t think there’s a large or medium-size city in the country that I haven’t done a live broadcast from. And that even extends up into Canada.
“But the Super Bowl is by far the biggest single event we could ever do.”