The short answer is yes. That’s obvious for a number of reasons:
- Technology progresses every year so realistically every Super Bowl should be the techiest Super Bowl ever (excluding the Superdome’s inability to keep the lights on a couple of years ago)
- This year’s game in the San Francisco area (aka the ‘tech capital of the world’)
- Levi’s Stadium, where Super Bowl 50 will take place, is brand spankin’ new—the newest of all stadiums in the NFL
The long answer would require me to explain to you why specifically this Super Bowl is so techy—which is now what we’re doing. You didn’t think I was going to leave you with the short answer, did you?
Let’s have a look at some of the technologies that are going to tremendously improve the fan experience of Super Bowl 50 in a number of ways:
Strong infrastructure is key to essentially any tech-centric event—and with the evolution of the way we watch sports in 2016 (tuning into online chatter, checking fantasy updates, Snapchatting your in-game experience, etc.), the design of this year’s Super Bowl stadium caters specifically to that.
Being the newest stadium in sports, Levi’s Stadium, the regular home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, CA, is naturally one of the highest-powered high-tech home turfs in the pros.
Boasting roughly 400 miles of fiber and copper cable along with 1,200 Wi-Fi access points (one every 100 seats) capable of handling a torrent of data, the small percentage of football/Broncos fans that are actually able to make it to the big game will be adequately equipped to bring the large portion with them, virtually of course.
One of Levi’s Stadium’s 1,200 Wi-Fi access points. Image.
CNET, a CBS (the network airing the Super Bowl) website got an exclusive tour of Levi’s Stadium and the rundown of how all of this tech-power is going to go to use, noting that it was put to the test last March when the stadium hosted Wrestlemania 31.
“The extravaganza saw more than 76,000 fans tweeting, texting, sending selfies, uploading photos and video to social networks, and other such digital age pursuits,” CNET reports.
A stadium spokesman told the website that this “tapped the stadium’s wireless network to the tune of 4.3 terabytes of data, a stadium record,” making stadium officials believe that this year’s game could top the Super Bowl record of 6.4 terabytes (set in Arizona last year).
Other tech that on-site fans can look forward to include:
- Distributed antenna system (DAS) to boost the cellular signals
- Thousands of monitors in every section of the stadium, so no one will miss a beat
- One large master control room to power those monitors with game action, graphics and replays
- Interactive games that let fans catch virtual passes
- 20,000 square feet of solar panels and a LEED Gold Certification for its environmental friendliness
- An app designed specifically to enhance the in-game experience
Which brings us to our next point…
The official Super Bowl 50 app has been designed for over 70,000 game-goers to help find seats, order food from them, and keep up with game stats. But there’s more—beyond solely those in Santa Clara.
For football fanatics like myself, it’s the only way we watch the games anymore—constantly tuning into who’s saying what about what plays, looking for replays and commentary tweeted out by an audience more uniquely comparable to ourselves, and actually getting a glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes.
It’s rare that any of us even watch SportsCenter anymore, when essentially all the sports talk we need is on Twitter and Snapchat.
On Twitter, if you’re a big sports fan, you probably already follow the right people to see the content that you want to see, but if not, this will be the first time that we get to use the relatively new, live-content-streaming feature Moments at work on the biggest stage in sports.
Similarly, this has been the first season since Snapchat singed its big deal with the NFL which gives users live, virtual access to those experience the game in-stadium, in the locker rooms, on the sidelines, at the tailgate and more. Not only are we going to see it Sunday, but we’ve already had direct access to players themselves answering questions of Snapchat users via stories on media day.
It’s almost ridiculous how close you can get to the action this year.
Speaking of close—it’s something the Broncos have been up to. Getting close. Really close. Too close, though? You be the judge.
This Denver Post story outlines the team’s recent incorporation of virtual reality leading up to the big game.
“Just last week, the Broncos’ first virtual reality video launched on an app built for fans,” Tamara Chuang of the Post writes. “And on Sunday, the Broncos will share live, behind-the-scenes footage of players getting ready for the game.”
Apparently on Sunday morning, before the game, the team will have three people wearing Google Glass walking the locker rooms, sidelines, and pre-game warm ups on the field, mingling with the players, high fiving guys like Von Miller and Peyton Manning, all to be shared back to the fans for a fully immersive virtual reality experience.
The goal of the project (run by San Francisco-based CrowdOptic) is to provide the large majority of fans who can’t be there, again, with the experience of being there. It’s all pretty insane.
You can stream the footage live as it happens on YouTube at crowdoptic.com/youtube.
The conjunction of all of these things are clearly far more advanced than anything we’ve seen yet—so the argument of whether or not the Broncos are playing in the most techy Super Bowl ever isn’t really an argument at all. They are.
I’m just giddy for Super Bowl Sunday to get here so I get into all of this cool stuff myself.