Innovation

Why Super Bowl 50 Will Be The Most Technologically Advanced In History

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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Richard Dodgson, founder of Timebased Events, discusses the state-of-the-art tech that will ensure Super Bowl 50 is awesome

One of the best-known sporting events in the world, the Super Bowl – this year reaching its landmark fiftieth year – attracts a televised audience of well over 100 million people in the USA alone.

This year it’s also set to be a highly technologically-advanced event that will create a unique experience for both those in the stadium and the millions following along at home. This comes as audiences shift from passive to active with digital innovations making it easy to interact with content – what we are seeing is an evolution of audience participation. It is set to be huge and here we look at the tech that will change the Super Bowl forever.

Through digital innovation we are seeing an increasing desire from people to be engaged with content in more ways than one. With an ongoing shift from passive to active in viewers’ behaviour, Super Bowl 50 will be a fully immersive experience fully expected to capture the attention of a global market.

Super Bowl 50The build-up

With technology creating the opportunity to reach a bigger audience through additional digital content, it is no surprise that this year’s Super Bowl has decided to exploit this demand for interactivity. Fans can partake in Super Bowl related activities a week before the game even begins with the fan village, Super Bowl City – a space created to engage people with all things NFL-related before the big game.

The venue

The Levi’s Stadium, in Santa Clara, California, is the one of the most high-tech arenas in the world and nothing less would be expected from a venue located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Not only was it built to support and encourage digital communication – with 400 miles of fibre and copper wire to support data and 1,200 Wi-Fi access points to ensure speedy connectivity – but it is also an eco-friendly space that generates enough power over the year to match the amount of electricity used in the game, as well as using a water recycling system that accounts for over 80 percent of the water used.

During the game

Unlike ever before, this year’s Super Bowl has taken a huge step towards making it the most interactive and immersive yet. From car parking technology to mobile ticket apps, the event production team have created an impressive end-to-end experience. What’s more, there will be no need to get up from your seat thanks to in-stadium food ordering apps!

Watching from home

Those watching Super Bowl 50 at home will also benefit from digital innovations. Several platforms can be used to view the game, including the CBS app, which will live-stream the action for the US audience. Secondly social media and game-dedicated apps will play a big part by allowing audiences to interact with other fans and view content that will be released during the game, including player statistics and photos. Furthermore, brands will take this opportunity to ‘hijack’ the game in real-time in an attempt to bring their own messaging front and centre.

Planning the halftime show

From relatively modest beginnings since its inaugural effort in 1967, the halftime show has transformed into one of the biggest events in the United States’ cultural calendar. This year, with Coldplay headlining, together with Beyoncé and Bruno Mars as special guests, organisers will be working around the clock to ensure the 12-minute spectacle is remembered for all the right reasons.

Exactly what the performance will involve will remain a closely-guarded secret, but Ricky Kirshner – now in his ninth year as executive producer – and his team are under pressure every year to make the latest instalment bigger and better than the last. In front of a capacity live audience and the millions watching on TV around the world, this presents huge challenges.

Reports suggests that there will be a team of around 2,500 tasked to ensure that the event goes without a hitch, with everything from set design, costumes, lighting, video, security, pyrotechnics and special effects required to be planned and executed exactly according to the script. The smallest slip – as Janet Jackson in 2004 will attest – and the event becomes notorious. Get it right, though, and the result is a production that goes down in history.

Through digital innovation we are seeing people engaged with content in more ways than ever. Super Bowl 50 will offer an immersive experience that has the ability to capture the attention of a global audience – one that has come to expect increasingly connected experiences.

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