How Tech Plans To Bump Up Its Game With Super Bowl 50

If you’re planning to attend the upcoming free Super Bowl City fan village along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, the $35 NFL Experience amusement park at Moscone Center or the $30 “opening night”/media day in San Jose during Super Bowl week — or if you’re one of the lucky 70,000 with a game-day ticket to Levi’s Stadium — the league is tracking your movements and your buying habits like a safety on a wide receiver.

Of course, those attending Super Bowl 50 events leading up to the big game Feb. 7 in Santa Clara will get something in return for attending what’s promising to be the most tech-centric Super Bowl week: Nearly instant access to replays from multiple angles, in-stadium food and beverage service, event schedules, maps, transit info and more.

“We’re trying to put the technology in the fans’ hands,” said Aidan Lyons, vice president of fan-centric marketing for the National Football League.

Meanwhile, the $40 billion league gets its hands on rich data, which it can use to learn more about its fans long term and in real time.

Users of the Super Bowl 50 app must opt in. If they do, the NFL, using real-time analytics from software company SAP (NYSE: SAP), will be able to track what you buy and deliver on-site messages on where to find deals on jerseys, for example.

“It’s the same as if you walk into a retail story and they understand if you’ve been to their website and bought something,” said Sam Yen, chief design officer and managing director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. “If you’re a fan and you go to your team website — maybe you go to games or buy apparel — if you aggregate that data, you have a sense of who the fan is. You add to the experience and that can add something to a game.

“These are things the NFL, sports leagues (in general), are moving toward,” Yen said.

The Super Bowl 50 app was developed by VenueNext, the San Francisco 49ers’ technology unit.

It’s just one of the technologies blitzing those attending one of the Super Bowl week events. SAP will have a virtual reality quarterback, where you make the decision to pass, run or get sacked by a rampaging linebacker, at the SAP-sponsored Fan Energy Zone within Super Bowl City, for example. And Super Bowl broadcaster CBS is mounting 38 cameras atop Levi’s Stadium that can turn around a replay in real time.

“You will see a lot of different contacts, replays and access to the game that you haven’t seen before,” Al Guido, the 49ers’ chief operating officer, said at a recent panel on Super Bowl technology and branding assembled by mobile sports news site Chat Sports.

And, Guido promises, Levi’s Stadium will be powered up to handle the rush of data coming through on game day, Feb. 7. To put that in perspective: Super Bowl XLIX host University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., handled nearly 6.5 terabytes of data, while Wrestlemania 31 at Levi’s Stadium in March 2015 used 4.5 terabytes, Guido said.

“We hope they walk out with their jaws dropped,” he said.

Source: San Francisco Business Times, Ron Leuty
Photo: Super Bowl 50 week kicks off with events starting Jan. 30 through the actual game, Feb. 7 at Levi’s Stadium. (David Lee)