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February 8, 2017

Data and Technology – the Other MVPs in Super Bowl LI

Philip Polchinski, i.Predictus

Tom Brady may have driven the ball with a history-making 75-yard drive in overtime. But data and technology drove the game–from pregame to postgame, and every moment in between.

Last week, the NFL was touting Super Bowl LI as the most technologically advanced contest in its 51 years. This weekend’s spectacular Falcons-Patriots match-up in Houston delivered on that promise:


Data expectations

Viewers don’t just watch a game anymore–they expect to be a part of it. In addition to the simple stats that fuel fantasy football, fans increasingly demand real-time data on player performance, game history, and record-holders. 75% of those fans lucky enough to be inside NRG stadium on Sunday night experienced the game live while simultaneously interacting on their mobile devices for on-demand analysis and footage.


“Be the Player”

Intel provided Fox Sports with a shiny new toy this year. “Be the Player” used 38 different 5K cameras placed around NRG Stadium to create a 360-degree replay technology that generates a POV perspective of any player on the field. “We’re capturing enough data from an array of cameras around the field, that we don’t have to put a camera inside the helmet. That’s what allows us to be able to take the actual perspective, not computer-generated, this is the actual video, that we can put ourselves in any perspective from any player’s helmet on the field,” said Fox Sports president, COO and executive producer Eric Shanks.


Going all Gaga over intel-powered drones

Intel also made history with its choreographed aerial drone performance as the intro to Lady Gaga’s half-time show. For the first time ever during a live televised event, a fleet of 300 custom-made drones operated as a synchronized fleet to create a spectacular light show in the sky. This data-driven technology leap was piloted by just two people, one of whom acted only as backup. Too bad they didn’t then send them out to deliver Doritos to fans. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FJAk1eZVA


An advertising first, too  

Using satellite technology and 360-degree immersive pods, Hyundai created a heart-tugging TV first. Hyundai bought the three 30-second back-to-back spots that immediately followed the confetti drop. The reason for that time slot? The commercial was filmed, edited and produced during the game, featuring soldiers at a U.S. Military Base in Poland as they watched Super Bowl LI. The kicker (technology-wise) was virtual reality suites where three soldiers got a surprise “reunion” with their families, who were there in the stadium. The soldiers got to sit next to their families and watch the game together. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4R2sjU3oRo

So the next time you hear sports fans chanting “D”, they could just as likely be demanding more data than a stronger defense. As technology becomes increasingly ingrained in both the live and at-home sports experience, it is up to savvy marketers to use it to their brand’s advantage. Game on.