Digital signage already on the field for this year's Super Bowl

Jan. 30, 2014 | by Christopher Hall

The biggest sporting draw in America kicks off this Sunday, and digital signage already has taken the field for this year's Super Bowl experience.

The Super Bowl host stadium, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., is home to both the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL — and the festivities and activities surrounding this year's big game spread from New York City all the way to East Rutherford.

For instance, VeriFone Media is rolling out an NFL campaign in New York City with the city's iconic taxi fleet. Just this week VeriFone Media officially launched its digital signage taxi-top ad platform by sending a parade of Super Bowl-branded taxis around the city.

Marking the kickoff of the Super Bowl Boulevard festivities, the parade featured 48 yellow NYC taxis with wrapped hoods and trunks featuring imagery representing the past 48 Super Bowls. Thirty of those taxis are running videos from the NFL on VeriFone's new high-definition digital taxi tops from Manufacturing Resources International. The HD digital taxi tops feature full-motion video and are capable of running geotargeted and dayparted creative campaigns, with near-real-time updates for sports scoring and social media integration. (A full rollout of VeriFone Media's digital taxi top fleet, featuring 100 cars, will take place later this month.)

"Our partners have done a great job of maximizing the creative options afforded by full motion video. You can already see people stopping on the street to watch a digital top among a sea of passing taxis," VeriFone Media Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Jason Gross said in an email.

"Everyone's familiar with the emphasis placed by advertisers on their Super Bowl spots. Combine that with the draw of Times Square, not to mention New York as a whole, and we've seen a ton of activity, with some real creativity around execution."

And with this year's NFL championship being played just outside the country's largest media market, demand for out-of-home ads in tourist-rich parts of New York City and New Jersey also is spiking, according to Ad Age.

Modell's Sporting Goods is a New York City institution, and the flagship Times Square location of the 125-year-old sporting goods store also is using digital signage to give Super Bowl week a personal touch. Shoppers coming Virtual Modell from Tensatorinto the flagship store will receive a personal welcome from company CEO Mitchell Modell via the Tensator Virtual Assistant, according to an announcement from queue-management firm Tensator Inc. Modell's invested in the interactive digital signage projection tech to personalize its brand — and to reach out to customers in more than 10 languages.

The "Virtual Mitchell Modell" provides suggestions on Super Bowl gear; shares information on apparel, footwear, sporting goods and licensed team products; informs customers about the store's loyalty program and how to sign up; and even gives directions on where to find certain items. He also invites shoppers to provide their email addresses at checkout to let them know they'll get up-to-date information on sales and be invited to special events including celebrity appearances.

"The Tensator Virtual Assistant takes digital signage to a whole new, personalized level," Lynn LaRocca, senior vice president of marketing at Modell's, said in the announcement. "Our Time Square store is regularly really busy — and with the added Super Bowl traffic, we needed a real attention grabber. It's fantastic to be able to capture the personality of Mitchell and have him be the one to guide, inform and connect with shoppers from all over the world as the face of the company and its brand."

And of course, there's also the Super Bowl stadium itself. MetLife Stadium (formerly New Meadowlands Stadium) in New Jersey was finished just a few years ago with a price tag of $1 billion — more than $100 million of which was spent on in-stadium technology, including copious amounts of digital signage.

"Never before has any sports venue integrated so many cutting-edge technological developments. When fans enter New Meadowlands, they are going to feel like they're stepping into the future," New York Giants President and CEO John Mara said when the stadium was unveiled almost four years ago.

When the stadium opened in August 2010, the then-New Meadowlands Stadium showcased new stadium technologies designed to seamlessly transform the look and feel of the venue to host both Giants and Jets games, as well as other sporting and entertainment events. The stadium deployed technologies from Cisco Systems and Verizon to offer stadium-goers custom digital signage and wireless content, an announcement from Cisco said at the time.

The stadium was equipped with four massive high-definition video display scoreboards and more than 2,200 HD video displays located throughout the facility — all designed to provide fans with access to the game virtually anywhere in the venue. All of the displays were powered by the Cisco StadiumVision digital video and content distribution system that centrally controls and delivers customized sports and entertainment content throughout the facility.

During sporting events, Cisco StadiumVision technology can present live game footage, team trivia, news and weather information. It is also flexibly designed to allow stadium operators to change the entire color scheme, content and team branding from Giants blue to Jets green with the push of a few buttons. This same flexible offering was designed, the companies said at the time, to be easily adapted to accommodate concerts, conferences and other unique sporting events hosted at the stadium — such as the Super Bowl.

Also, MetLife Stadium features more than 40,000 square feet of LED video displays in and around the stadium that were designed, manufactured and installed by Daktronics, according to an announcement today from the LED sign manufacturer. This includes the four main video displays in each corner of the stadium, each measuring 30 feet high by 118 feet wide with 12HD pixel layouts.

"Through the use of technology, we have set the bar for sporting venues of the future, while maximizing the stadium's profitability," Mark Lamping, the New Meadowlands Stadium Co. president and CEO, said in 2010. "In working with premier technology brands ... we bring to our fans one of the most tailored and unforgettable experiences in sports today."

Watch the stadium's former CTO talk about the stadium's technological capabilities in the video below:

Learn more about digital signage in entertainment venues.

Topics: Advertising , Entertainment Venues , Hardware , Software

Companies: Cisco Systems , LG-MRI

Christopher Hall / Christopher is the editor of A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.
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