Just as the advertising world has latched onto the Super Bowl as its own marquee night, the technology world increasingly is hitching itself to the event as a showcase for all the latest and greatest innovations.
So as the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles square off in Super Bowl LII on the field, and the $5 million commercials dominate the rest of the broadcast, tech will infuse the rest of the experience in, around and away from Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium.
Here is SportTechie’s roundup of the top gadgets, apps and hardware fueling the Super Bowl experience:Viewers at home
Game broadcast — The NBC Sports Group is providing more than 200 hours of Super Bowl coverage and drawing on 106 cameras, including 76 for game coverage — a total that includes two SkyCams, seven 4K ultra high-definition cameras and 20 embedded in the end zone pylons. NBC will also deploy 130 microphones and more than 50 miles of cable.
Live streaming — All viewers, including cord-cutters, can stream the game for free through NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app or NBC.com without having to enter an authenticated login for a TV provider. The Super Bowl can also be streamed through the NFL and Yahoo Sports apps.
Immersive replays — Intel’s freeD technology, which is being rebranded as True View, will use between 30 and 50 high-end 5K cameras capture game action in a format that enables rendering of 3D replays. The platform was installed at U.S. Bank Stadium prior to this season.
Patriots “Not Done” network — New England built its own studio inside Mall of America as a central hub for a 24-hour video stream of coverage, anchored by past and present ESPN personalities Molly McGrath and Jay Crawford, and streamed on Twitter, YouTube and the Patriots’ team app and website.
#BrandBowl52 — Twitter is introducing its inaugural #BrandBowl and awarding a variety of prizes to brands based on fan engagement.
Amazon’s rooting interest — Fans with an Amazon Alexa device at home have noticed that, when asked about the Super Bowl, Alexa has not been shy about declaring that she is an Eagles fan. (Bostonians surely hope this is strictly football-related and in no way portends to Amazon’s pending decision for a second headquarters location; Boston and Philadelphia are both among the 20 remaining contenders.)
Mercedes contest — Through its “Last Fan Standing” competition, Mercedes-Benz USA is giving away a sports car to whomever can track a virtual car around his or her smartphone for the longest uninterrupted time throughout the Super Bowl.Twin Cities area
FieldWatch — One of the companies hailing from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, which has its own budding tech scene, is Securonet that aids law enforcement in policing major events with livestream capabilities, GPS officer tracking for swift deployment and an integration at headquarters. FieldWatch debuted during last summer’s X Games in Minneapolis and will be in use again for the Super Bowl.
1st and Future — The NFL is hosting its third annual tech startup competition to solicit innovations in the areas of player health, safety and performance.
Scorekeeping bridge — The 10-lane I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, which is less than a mile from the stadium, will host a weekend-long LED light show produced by Philips Lighting in conjunction with Minnesota’s Department of Transportation. Among the features: bright red displays when a team enters the red zone and appropriate color pairs — red and blue for the Patriots, green and silver for the Eagles — that light up after scoring plays.
Have you had a chance to see the Northern Lights on the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge? It's cold, but it's worth it!
The #BoldNorth colors will be on display until the big game. We recommend viewing from the James J. Hill Stone Arch Bridge (https://t.co/cKzuKxJZbr). pic.twitter.com/y7BvRzrs2D
Data demands — Fans inside the game will benefit from Extreme Networks’ Wi-Fi infrastructure while major providers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint are bolstering their networks (to 5G for AT&T customers) and/or upgrading Distributed Antenna Systems in and around the venue.Fans at the game
U.S. Bank Stadium — The Minnesota Vikings’ home stadium has 13 Daktronics video boards spanning more than 31,000 square feet and a 55-foot-tall LED screen on the outdoor concourse that’s curved to look like a sail attached to the steel Viking longship. Eaton’s Ephesus LED lights will illuminate its second Super Bowl and begin a three-year run of consecutive games, to be followed by Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
VenueNext developed the stadium app that includes a stadium map (which will even mark your parking spot), mobile ticketing, restroom waiting times, in-seat concession ordering and instant-replay videos. CenturyLink manages the technology infrastructure. And, even with all these offerings, the stadium received LEED Gold certification.
AR seat selection — Fans purchasing tickets on StubHub — where average prices reportedly soared about $5,000 on Tuesday and the get-in price hovered around $3,200 on Thursday — can view an augmented reality version of the stadium to help guide their choice.
AR in-game entertainment — Those inside U.S. Bank Stadium will be able to play augmented reality games created by Virtex Arena, which is using the Super Bowl as a launch for its more in-depth rollout for baseball season.
Fan cameos — The NFL and 15 Seconds of Fame have partnered to ensure that fans who appear on either the NBC broadcast or the in-venue videoboard will have clips sent to their phone, as this technology will be available during the Super Bowl for the first time.
Audience emotion — Ampsy and bluemedia will geofence the stadium and track the social media posts and moments that resonate most strongly with fans.
Joe Lemire is a SportTechie senior writer. Follow him on Twitter @LemireJoe. This first appeared on SportTechie.com — The Top Technology Powering The Super Bowl LII Experience — and is republished with permission.