CNN sets up on ‘Super Bowl Boulevard’

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Alex Weprin

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CNN is getting into the Super Bowl game. The cable channel is the only TV network that doesn’t have NFL rights to get broadcasting space on “Super Bowl Boulevard,” the stretch of Broadway in midtown Manhattan, currently transformed into a football-themed carnival this week ahead of Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium.

The “CNN Election Express” bus is being turned into the “Super Bowl Express,” and will host Chris Cuomo, Rachel Nichols and others throughout the week.

Though CNN is not an NFL broadcaster, sibling network Turner Sports is said to be bidding for a new set of Thursday night games being offered by the league, which is certainly interested in keeping parent company Time Warner happy as a potential future partner.

"New Day" co-anchor Cuomo will helm the show from CNN's set on the Boulevard on Friday, and Nichols will anchor "Unguarded" there on Friday night. John Elway, Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders are booked as guests, as of now. Correspondents will contribute from the set all week.



"Super Bowl Boulevard" is the NFL's public celebration for the game, which airs Sunday. There is a three-story toboggan ride just north of CNN's set, next to a stage where NFL players will sign autographs for fans, and free concerts will be held in the evenings.

It is also a base of operations for the NFL rights-holding broadcasters. Fox, which holds this year's Super Bowl TV rights, has almost two entire blocks of Broadway between 46th and 48th, and will originate a good deal of its Super Bowl coverage from the studios constructed there. ESPN, which televises "Monday Night Football," has taken over Herald Square, with a massive set and a demo field, and is also taking over ABC's Times Square Studios. NFL Network, which airs Thursday night games, has a studio between 41st and 42nd streets, where it will be doing much of its coverage.

The CNN team will be joined all week by staff from Bleacher Report, the digital sports media property owned by Turner Sports. It's a boon for the site, which will have a prime location to report from all week, something many of its digital competitors won't have.