Cowboys Stadium which hosted the SuperBowl puts most data centers to shame with its slew of HP servers and Cisco routers. Its giant screens and luxury suites make even the most elaborate home theaters look pedestrian. This is the future of the NFL – the response to the concern the NY Times highlighted last year:
“That has forced sports officials to rethink the game experience
and desperately attempt to bring the living room to the game, not the other way around.”
And yet after hearing plenty of slip-sliding stories as folks tried to make it to the stadium in Arlington, TX or to parties around the country, I thought the living room won big last night.
Four themes converged last night
- TV Commercials extended into social platforms so having a laptop or mobile device nearby was handy
- A disproportionate number of products advertised during the show had a technology angle
As Douglas Idgugboe writes “Nearly 22 percent of Americans were active on Facebook during the game, and 44 percent of young adults sent phone texts while watching the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers battle for the NFL championship.
While the advertisements themselves lasted 30-60 seconds, most advertisers have leveraged social media to keep viewer interest alive after the event ended. Events such as Super Bowl present a welcome break for advertisers to look beyond the standard Facebook fan page and Twitter account in their efforts to reach consumers through the sites.”
By my estimate almost a third of the ads had some technology product or theme. The list was long – from the ubiquitous eTrade baby to the salesforce.com placement around the Black Eyed Peas half-time show, and GoDaddy, Groupon, Motorola and many others causing their own waves.
By the way, while the half-time show had its share of glitches, the LED costumes and other gizmos showed the NFL will increasingly make the show more high-tech. The Beijing Olympics opening ceremony showed what is technically feasible, and technology has evolved quite a bit in the 2.5 years since.
Of course, if the technology content continues to grow, even more techies will watch games at home (and God forbid even watch the Grammies and Oscars as they target that technology sponsorship base!)
- The Twitter stream provided a parallel, more interesting perspective on the game and the commercials
Live Tweeting has become routine at various industry conferences. Honestly, though the Tweets tend to be polite and mostly parrot what is being shown on the main stage. Twitter last night was irreverent and brought together folks around the world – Ray Wang of Constellation from a bar in Mumbai, India, Merv Adrian of Gartner from a bar in Dublin, Ireland. Narinder Singh of appirio was going to watch it on a Virgin flight then found out it does not carry Fox, so ended up watching it from his home.
It was also nice to have tech executives tweet. Padmasree Warrior of Cisco proudly tweeted about the large number of the company’s gear at the stadium. I politely tweeted back there was also plenty of HP Gear. Later when the tweets lamented the audio quality during the half time show, I tweeted “Hear Jerry Jones (owner of the Cowboys) ran over budget with so many on-premise HP servers and Cisco routers - should have gone cloud!”
- Oh, and by the way, as the NYTimes pointed out, watching at home with HD, surround sound etc does make the game more fun.
Of course it is fun to go to a Super Bowl party and hang out with friends, but I have a feeling more of us will be watching future versions in our living rooms with our virtual friends.