High-Tech Wonders at the Super Pigskin Party

These technologies aim to make the National Football League’s biggest game of the year more accessible, immersive and memorable than ever before.

The hype and hyperbole leading up to Sunday’s big battle between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots is filling the social media appetite with biting banter and delicious projections.

What will Marshawn say next?

Will the Belichick-Brady era reach new heights or be deflated by “Beast Mode” Lynch?

Will the Budweiser ad make me cry?

How many outfits will Katy Perry wear at half-time?

Aside from the palpable buzzing on Twitter and Facebook, keep your eye out for these technologies during the game.

YouTube Halftime Show

Commercials, which cost advertisers $4.5 million for a 30-second slot, draw much attention during the halftime show. But this year, YouTube is looking to attract audiences with their own content.

YouTube is hosting its own live-streaming halftime show on the Adblitz channel, which will feature 20 of its top content creators and personalities performing stunts and putting on their own show.

Whether the channel can woo viewers away from the original tube remains to be seen, but it will bring an interesting blend of advertising and content to the growing number of TV viewers who simultaneously tune into their mobile devices.

Free Digital Streaming via NBC

Networks spend enormous sums to obtain the rights to broadcast the big game, so naturally they want to draw as many viewers as possible. This year, in an attempt to get eyeballs on all screens, NBC is offering unauthenticated internet streaming options on NBC Sports Live Extra.


Need an emergency guacamole run during halftime? No problem. All you’ll have to do is take your phone or tablet with you and stream the game from the grocery store.

Teched Out Stadium

University of Phoenix Stadium is one of the world’s most technologically advanced. It contains the first fully retractable grass field in the U.S. Let that sink in. Sure you’ve heard of retractable roofs, but this stadium has a retractable field.


The field can pulled outside the stadium to allow the natural grass to receive sunlight. Retracting the field takes a little over an hour.

For the big game, the NFL installed a new blanket of green grass, ensuring the players will have springy natural-grass turf and authentic grass stains.

GlenDale AZ

Panning up from the grass to the roof, take a close look at 93,000-square-foot, highly translucent PTFE architectural fabric membrane. This allows for an open feel and views of the Arizona night sky even when the roof is closed.

The roof has two enormous panels that can be opened or closed in about 12 minutes to expose the field to sunlight or block it from the intense Arizona heat, helping to regulate temperatures for fans and players.

The Mobile App

This year the NFL launched its first in-stadium app specifically geared for ticket-holders going to the game. The Super Bowl Stadium App will provide fans in the stands with a similar experience to the millions of fans sitting at home on their couch by letting them watch commercials and instant replays from their phones.

Additionally, app will show fans a seat map and the closest concession stand that has their favorite stadium food.

Zebra Technologies

This season, for the first time in NFL history, real-time-player-tracking stats were captured. This was a result of the league partnering with Zebra Technologies to use their player tracking in 17 NFL stadiums, including the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Seahawks and Patriots players will have small tracking RFID chips embedded into their shoulder pads. This allows Zebra to display player position, speed and distance information on the video screens throughout the stadium, providing fans with an extra angle to analyze and appreciate the players.

Get Ready for SB50

Keep score of the high-tech wonders at this year’s game because it’s sure to set the bar for how technology is being used to make the game more engaging and memorable in the future.

Next year, the big game will be played at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.


Located just blocks away from Intel headquarters in Silicon Valley, Levi’s Stadium was built with support from many top tech companies, including Intel, and is considered to be one of the most advanced, technologically infused event arenas in the world.


Feature photo of football from Steve Doria; stadium field by Peter Eisenman with HOK Sport; stadium rooftop by Great Degree, all via Flickr. 


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