CEO of Tenka Group

in Sport

April 5, 2016

In my last post, I gave some observations about Brand Activations and Security at Super Bowl 50. In this post, I will focus on two areas – Technology and Music.


Given the proximity to Silicon Valley, this Super Bowl was always going to be seen and judged through a technology lens.
Firstly to the obvious technology touch point, in stadium Wi Fi. One word. Wow. I simply did not appreciate how good the Levis Stadium Wi Fi set up was until I experienced it. Connection to the stadium Wi Fi was quick and simple. No sign up process or need to provide personal details.
Once on the network, the experience was nothing short of incredible. Every twee and post was sent in an instant. Getting more brave, I started sharing video. No problem there either. I then started steaming video highlights and again no issue.
Apparently the Chief Technology Officer of the stadium (former employee number nine of Facebook) set the objective that the system should allow for simultaneous video streaming by every person in the stadium. I am not sure if that is possible, but it certainly exceeded my expectations.

What’s the business model for this investment I hear you ask? Well as Gemba has been saying for years, Wi Fi in stadiums is like providing clean toilets in stadiums. You should not expect to make any money from it, but it is a basic fan expectation. The Super Bowl App (only possible with great Wi Fi) provided the ability to order food and merchandise at your seat (and advised you of the estimated wait time) but I did not notice anyone in our area using this functionality.


Speaking of the App, it was great. It was like a remote control for your Game Day experience. Press a button to find your seat, access game stats, watch the last play, order a beer. All at your finger tips and supported by a great Wi Fi connection.
The Wi Fi allowed fans to interact with game content and share their amazing experience via social media in what must be the best form of marketing for any sport. The fan word of mouth method has moved from “I was there” to “I am here” and this is only possible when you get a connection. So a great moment like this that I shot could be shared with family, friends and colleagues all over the world. Surely that is good for any sport?
The other “tech” feature was a great surprise and delight moment. Silicon Valley industry disrupters, Uber, provided a great experience post game. They took a large car park about 1000 metres from the stadium which staged and distributed hundreds of Uber cars for patrons. Fans were moved into a holding area where Uber staff were on hand to support the mobile booking process. Once your Uber was confirmed, a text message gave you the location of your car in the vast car park. While many cities around the world are still resisting the Uber model, Levis Stadium and the Super Bowl committee (Uber was the official “ride and hail” service of Super Bowl 50) embraced the technology company and we as fans benefitted. Kudos.



Music at sport events is one of my great frustrations. Many sport leagues and teams either underestimate the potential impact of music or simply do not put sufficient thought into curating the right music for the event or moment.
The NFL and their partners brilliantly understand the cross passion of music and football. The integration of music on Game Day and supporting events was great. The Direct TV party on the Saturday night opened up with hip hop legends Run DMC, followed by Snoop Dogg and then an incredible set from Californian natives, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.


At the NFL Tail Gate function, three stages simultaneously ran music themed entertainment. The North stage ran Californian influenced music, while the South stage featured a brilliantly curated piece featuring each of the 50 Super Bowl years and the influential music of that year.


Meanwhile, the main stage featured sets from Sam Hunt and Seal. Personally, Seal was the only musical miss of the day for me. While all the other music of the day had an energy that reflected the Super Bowl, this was a little mellow for a lot of fans.



The challenge when looking at events of this size is finding things that you can adapt to your own market or brand with smaller budgets and resources. Having said that, many of the observations in this and the previous post are not necessarily underpinned by large budgets.

1. Simple activations that can be shared socially
2. The opportunity to use Security screening as an engagement and entertainment point
3. Carefully thinking about how music is integrated into the event (both live and recorded)

Large scale technology investment is obviously the sticking point for many sports. Having said that, like any new technology, the price of high quality Wi Fi will drop in coming years. It will then be contingent on Sport and Stadium administrators to use this technology in ways that truly add to the experience.