Millions of eyes will be on the playing field when the Eagles take on the Patriots at Super Bowl LII. Some of you will be watching and analyzing the ads and picking those winners and losers. I, for one, will be looking out for the technology behind the game. In recent years, the Super Bowl has become the epicenter for the latest in sports technology--both on and off the field.
Brands started integrating their digital campaigns with their Super Bowl TV ad buys years ago. Crowdsourcing creative ideas is nothing new and leaking ads in advance of the big game is commonplace. What's new for 2018? This year, the #metoo campaign is certain to spark real-time discussions about how women are portrayed in ads. Jeanine Poggi, media reporter at Ad Age, notes that 49 percent of Super Bowl viewers last year were women but that the people creating ads are still largely men. "Over the past decade, 76 percent of Super Bowl ads featured men as the principle character. And 14 of last year's ads didn't include women at all," Poggi reports. "Don't get your hopes up that things will be significantly better," she warns.
Tech-centric companies Groupon, Squarespace, and Intuit will be joining the food, beverage, and car brand advertisers, according to CNBC.
The Halftime Show.
Last year, 300 Intel drones created a light show as part of Lady Gaga's performance. Justin Timberlake's 13-minute performance has been preceded by lots of social-media hype. Pink will be performing the "Star Spangled Banner." Despite the high-tech production value of these performances, the music choices are designed to appeal to a cross-generational viewership.
Stadium Security and Connectivity.
U.S. Bank Stadium was built with the latest in indoor sports technologies, according to Security magazine. They include 1,300 Wi-Fi access points (so fans can share the excitement with their friends and families), thousands of TV screens, and close monitoring of 365 stadium doors.
The Game Itself.
Although the players and viewers are still human, they are aided by a range of technologies. Minneapolis is hosting a competition for sports tech startups the week prior to the Super Bowl. Augmented reality will help people plan their seating and parking, courtesy of a new StubHub feature, and AR will also be used to entertain viewers with new football-themed competitions. Although helmet technology has come a long way, the race is still on to invent concussion-preventing headgear.
Who will ultimately walk away with the Super Bowl ring? Last year, Swarm AI accurately predicted the winner and the precise score, according to Digital Trends. Natural language generation (NLG) programs are being used to report sports scores. Can the robot sportscaster be far behind?