Super Bowl Tech Guide: Streaming, Gleaning, and Second Screening

The Super Bowl, America’s globally televised sports holiday, is upon us. This Sunday’s event, featuring the Carolina Panthers versus the Denver Broncos, will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California – generally considered to be the most technologically advanced sports stadium on the planet.

As befits the Silicon Valley setting, this year’s Super Bowl is a high-tech affair all around. Levi’s Stadium has more than 400 miles of fiber and copper cable servicing 1,200 Wi-Fi access points. Aside from the gajillion-dollar broadcast operation, you can expect a lot of live tweeting and video streaming from the stands. Officials are planning for fans to consume upwards of 16 terabytes of mobile data during the game.

Reception: Stream the golden game (for free)

For fans watching at home – especially cord cutters – there’s more good news this year. CBS will provide live Internet streaming of the entire network broadcast at CBSSports.com – you won’t even need to log in with a cable subscription. The network and the NFL have put a ton of effort into the streaming initiative this year, so you can get the entire game on your computer or tablet with high quality video and audio.

And for the first time, you’ll be able to see all those Super Bowl commercials, too. (Due to complex advertising issue, only 18 of last year’s 70 Super Bowl ads went out on the digital stream.) To get the game online, just point the browser on your computer or tablet to the .

You can also get the same game broadcast via the , which will enable direct access on select home entertainment systems, including Xbox One, Apple TV, Windows 10, Chromecast, and Roku.

Getting the game on your phone is a little more tricky. Live streaming on mobile devices is only available to Verizon Wireless customers, through the league’s .

And let’s not forget: In most cities, your TV can pick up CBS’s over-the-air broadcast of Super Bowl 50 using an HDTV antenna, with cheaper models starting at under $10 these days.

X’s and O’s: Get live stats and game-related info

Even if you can’t get the Super Bowl video feed, you can still use the official NFL app to glean all the excruciating minutia of the game. NFL Mobile is a popular second-screen destination for up-to-the-second breaking news and statistics.

Another option for serious second-screen data mining, ESPN.com and the will feature plenty of game day content, with on-location analysis and game metrics.

If you’re lucky enough to actually be in the San Francisco Bay Area this week, the NFL has assembled the handy app, which tracks events happening in and around city. Fans of either team can use the app to find like-minded parties and gatherings. Good idea. You don’t want to be a Panthers fan walking into a Broncos joint. Why all the hate for Carolina this year, anyway?

Now, then. If you’re really, really lucky and attending the game itself, the app provides maps, instant replays and even the Super Bowl commercials. You can order beer and food with it, too. America!

Speaking of commercials, those insanely expensive Super Bowl ads are – for a certain subsection of the audience – the principal attraction of Super Bowl Sunday. If this year’s ads aren’t quite doing it for you, you can find plenty of online, including several all-time greatest collections.

Full coverage: Follow some Super (and Super funny) social feeds

In the last few years, the Super Bowl has become a major event on social media, naturally. Last year’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots set a new Super Bowl record with 28.4 million tweets during the broadcast. (Interesting side note: The game fell far short of the most tweeted sports game ever. 2014’s FIFA soccer semifinal between Germany and Brazil notched 35.6 million tweets.)

The NFL’s feed is already a busy gathering spot and the league has an entire team dedicated to providing in-game updates and links on Sunday. On top of that, there are a million other sports pundit and news outlet Twitter feeds (like our  account, which is pretty darn good) that will be providing entertaining and informative context during the big game.

But we’ve saved the best news for last. This year’s most intriguing second-screen experience will surely be provided Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, from Comedy Central’s late great sketch comedy series Key & Peele.

The ace comedy duo is teaming with web design outfit Squarespace to provide as their characters Lee and Morris, aspiring sports commentators. But the guys have a major problem: Since they don’t have any actual broadcast rights to the Super Bowl, they can’t technically discuss the game.

Should be fun. You can watch it all go down live Sunday on Squarespace’s ersatz channel. Here’s a preview:

Glenn McDonald writes about the intersections of technology and culture at glenn-mcdonald.com and via Twitter @glennmcdonald1.

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