With the Super Bowl only a few days away, it seemed like a good time to think about how the Internet has altered how we can enjoy the game and the atmosphere surrounding it. The NFL has worked hard to make sure the Super Bowl is more than just a game; they want it to be an experience. And for good and bad, the Internet is now a big part of that experience.
Who Needs a TV?
Sure, the best way to watch the game might be in front of your 80-inch LED flat screen. But let’s say that, for whatever reason, you can’t. In years past, if you couldn’t be in front of a TV, you had to listen to the game on the radio, or hope your friends could tape it for you. On top of that, you had to hope you avoided all mentions of the game until you got a chance to watch it.
That’s no longer the case. If you have a laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart watch, or other Internet-connected device, then you can see the game. NBCSports.com will be streaming the game live, meaning, even if you’re at work, you don’t have to miss any of the action. I’m sure your bosses won’t mind.
As long as you have one of these devices, you’re set, assuming NBC does its part. ESPN announced they were going to stream this year’s Rose Bowl via their WatchESPN app, but things didn’t go as planned. High viewer demand crashed their servers, and kept it down through the first half of the game. Fans were understandably upset, and there will be a lot more fans hoping to watch the Super Bowl, so hopefully the servers are ready.
Advertisers spend millions of dollars creating special ads for the Super Bowl. This game is the one time of year people look forward to watching commercials instead of muting them or fast forwarding through them. So why are so many advertisers spoiling the surprise?
Perhaps my advertising background exposes me to more of the spoilers than the average consumer; ad industry websites are flooded with these spoilers, so if you’d rather see the commercials early, that’s where to look. But other companies create teaser commercials for the game time commercial, and some post the spots on their websites. Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest goes so far as to crowdsource commercial concepts, and then allow site visitors to vote on which one will air. No matter which one wins, you’ve already seen it.
Unsurprisingly, there are websites devoted to nothing but collecting Super Bowl commercials. So if you want to be that guy saying, “Oh yeah, this one is funny, watch this one” as each commercial comes on, spoilers are just a quick search away. Your guests will love that.
And Who Doesn’t Love Katy Perry?
Well, a lot of people, probably. In case you hadn’t heard, she’s performing at this year’s halftime show. And if neither she nor the Puppy Bowl is your style, the Internet has a solution for that, too. YouTube is planning its own halftime party, with music, fake commercials, and apparently a guy diving into a pool of cheese. I can’t tell you that will be good, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be different.
No one wants to spend time staring at the oven instead of the game, so pizza is the go-to food for many viewers. If that’s your plan, be aware you’re not alone, as delivery demand goes up 35 percent compared to a typical Sunday. Wait too long, and getting your pizzeria of choice on the phone could be a real challenge.
But who uses a phone to make phone calls anymore? Most of the big national chains have mobile apps just for this purpose. Sure, the app won’t make the pizza cook any faster, or the delivery any quicker, but at least you’ll get your order in when you want to. Even if you’re not into the whole smartphone thing, you can use your desktop or laptop to place your order online. You know, the old fashioned way.
The Internet is Ready for the Game. Are You?
Your Super Bowl experience could be a bigger fail than the Buffalo Bills if you just assume your current Internet connection is ready for game day. If it’s not fast enough, you could once more be asking friends to tape (sorry, DVR) the game, hoping no one spoils it for you. Why take that chance? If your current plan isn’t fast enough, find one that is.
Image by Aaron Landry/Flikr