Securing the Super Bowl

From the moment Atlanta was announced as the home of Super Bowl LIII, Matt Sloane new UAS’s could be a huge benefit to security and safety organizations tasked with protecting the world’s largest annual event. Here’s the story.

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Making History

In May, 2017 the NFL announced that the newly-minted Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the city of Atlanta would be home to the biggest annual sporting event in the world, Super Bowl LIII.

While hosting the Super Bowl for the third time was a huge deal for all Atlantans, for Skyfire CEO, Matt Sloane, the announcement was doubly significant. With most of Skyfire's local public safety clients involved in the security planning and execution for the Big Game, Sloane saw a history-making opportunity to showcase the power of UAS to help public safety professionals gather data and keep the 10-day event secure and safe for the hundreds of thousands of attendees.

Starting in July, 2018, with just 7 months to plan, Sloane embarked on one of the most ambitious projects of Skyfire's 4 year history...securing the Super Bowl.


download the case study here

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Super Bowl at a Glance

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more food is eaten on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day thank Thanksgiving.


Super Bowl I didn’t sell out even though the most expensive ticket was only $89 adjusted for inflation.


Over 500K people attended Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, and the 10 days of on- and off-site activities.

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The Set-Up

Such a massive undertaking required the combined efforts of several agencies, companies, and equipment and software providers. During the planning phase, it was determined that the area around Mercedes-Benz Stadium provided two strategic locations for the Overwatch teams to establish their presence. Each team consisted of a pilot and visual observer, who utilized a DJI Matrice 210 airframe outfitted with a Z30 zoom camera and a XT2 dual thermal/daylight camera. The UAS was kept aloft for 4 hours at a time with a Drone Aviation Corp FUSE tethering system. The feeds were streamed using DroneSense software to several agencies and stakeholders, including data analysts from Skydas Group International, who helped identify potential risks.


the TEAMs

There were two teams, situated at strategic rooftop locations near Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Each team worked 12-16 hour shifts for the three days leading up to the Super Bowl, as well as the day of the event.

Each team consisted of:

(1) Pilot
(1) Visual Observer

In addition, Skydas Group International provided a data analyst, specializing in assessing terrorism risks at large scale events. The analyst reviewed the data streams, and offered suggestions for where to focus video attention.

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Each team

Each team was outfitted with:

(1) DJI Matrice 210
(1) FUSE Tethering Systems
(1) Zenmuse Z30
(1) Zenmuse XT or Zenmuse XT2

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All stakeholders were connected digitally through DroneSense, a comprehensive cloud-based drone streaming solution. Using DroneSense Ops Center, everyone was able to strategize and collaborate through real-time views of the drone feeds through a variety of internet-connected devices.

Dronesense enabled our teams and partner agencies to:

  • Watch all drone sessions via a Common Operating Picture

  • Task and direct pilots with the tap of a screen

  • Communicate with and visualize all pilots in real-time to maximize efficiency

The use of technology is certainly changing the landscape of public safety preparedness as the more data points we receive, the better prepared we are to mitigate, respond to, and recover from any incident.
— Marc Vincent, Emergency Preparedness Manager, Georgia World Congress Center Authority
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Final Analysis

By the time the last attendees shuffled out of the Super Bowl village in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, the two Overwatch teams had clocked 48 hours of flight time in 4 days, provided 17 agencies with live streaming aerial data, kept watch over 500,000 people, and proved the efficacy of UAS in large scale event security operations.

While there were fortunately no security concerns beyond what would be expected from packing 500,000 people into a relatively small area, the

constant stream of data provided by the two Overwatch teams, along with the real-time analysis provided by Skydas Group International, provided the multiple public safety agencies responsible for the securing the Super Bowl with an invaluable source of intelligence during one of the most complex public safety environments imaginable.

Overwatch proved that aerial data is the next wave of public safety intelligence.


The safety and security of our guests and staff during Super Bowl LIII was our number one priority. The use of drones with live streaming video (a Super Bowl first) delivered valuable, real-time information that allowed GWCCA and our public safety partners to more quickly assess and react to situations. From traffic management and crowd dynamics to manpower allocation, drones were a critical tool that gave us the ability to better understand all aspects of Super Bowl LIII activity and constantly analyze and adjust based on what we were seeing.
— Marc Vincent, Emergency Preparedness Manager, Georgia World Congress Center Authority

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Modular teams

Skyfire Overwatch teams can be scaled up or down, depending on the needs of the security deployment. Whether, you need 1 team or 20, Skyfire Overwatch can be deployed at scale anywhere in the world. Each team comes equipped with:


real-Time data Feed

Skyfire Overwatch has partnered with the world’s leading UAV data streaming services, DroneSense and Cape, to provide simultaneous real-time video feeds to a virtually unlimited number of commanders and stakeholders. We will choose, in conjunction with security personnel, the best streaming service for the job, and secure the correct number of seats for the software well in advance of the event.


  • Fly manually, create autonomous plans, or both

  • Consume, view, and record multiple types of video, including thermal

  • Collaborate in real time via a Common Operating Picture

  • Communicate with operations command and other drone pilots on scene

  • Task and direct pilots with the tap of a screen

  • Communicate with and visualize all pilots in real-time to maximize efficiency


  • Cape drone software allows you to make the drone flight plan prior to flight.

  • Cape allows live stream video of drone flight through the camera. Sensor data stored in the cloud can also be recorded for future viewing in HD quality.

  • Remote Commanders can operate the cameras remotely through the software.

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off the grid

Skyfire Overwatch teams can be operated entirely off the grid, making our UAV data feeds one of the most secure assets to any large-scale event security deployment. In addition, all data feeds are encrypted to the highest standards, to avoid hacking and ensure security commanders have the most up-to-date, most secure situational awareness available.


Ready to Get Started?

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation security assessment and discover why more national organizations trust Skyfire Overwatch than anyone else.