Super Bowl XLV goes high tech in new stadium

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

The Super Bowl has come quite far since it was once all about crowding into a friend’s living room and chomping noisily on messy chicken wings. In fact, it has gone super high tech, providing fans with new ways to interact with their teams and others on game day.

Fans lucky enough to attend the big game in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium will have a front row seat to information and extras to make their game experience that much cooler, and more high tech.

First of all, the game will have an official Super Bowl app for the iPad, a piece of technology more than welcome in the stadium on game-day. Of course there’s an Android app as well.

All the game day extras have prompted Peter Walsh, the Dallas Cowboys’ chief technical officer, to tell Wired "Essentially, every event we've had here the last two years has been a dress rehearsal for the next event."

The $1.2 billion dollar stadium opened in 2009 and has had a high tech focus from the get go.

"When we started this process back in 2004, we were able to meet with different vendors and see their road maps for where technology was going to be in five or more years," Walsh said.

"So we were able to take advantage of where technology was going to be rather than where it was." 

To be sure, the stadium itself utilizes servers with over 100 terabytes of information to support transactions from over 30 organizations and 90 vendors like concessions stands.

"As fans at home and at the stadium watch the game, most probably won't be looking for evidence of a virtualized server infrastructure with 100-terabyte SAN core," explained Thomas E. Richards, president and chief operating officer of tech company CDW, which assisted the Cowboys with the setup.

"Instead, they'll notice how great the game looks from the largest high-definition video board in the NFL or how easy it is to use ATM or credit cards at concessions."

The stadium’s largest piece of tech is the world’s largest high def Cisco video screen worth $40 million, weighing in at 600-tons with over 25,000 square feet of display. Spawned from the future-like awesomeness of this enormous screen comes over 3,500 smaller 46-inch TVs littered throughout the stadium.

"We needed technology that would provide the ultimate fan experience and enable team operations to run more effectively. With the new stadium, it was time to upgrade our infrastructure to the next generation and centralize everything in one data center."

Another cool stadium feature is the space’s 120-foot high glass retractable rooftop. And of course, getting to and from the massive stadium deserves some technology, with GPS tracking devices used to keep an eye on players and of course, the Lombardi Trophy.

The stadium itself is even mapped for lost fans and those who wish to “check-in,” which can be accessed through the official mobile app.

AT&T reported broken data-usage records at every event held at the massive stadium and has spent more than $10 million in network enhancements for this year’s game.

For those who can’t make it to the big game, you can follow all the action on Twitter. Besides the promoted tweets that popped up on Twitter this weekend, Audi will be promoting its R8 luxury car with the hashtag AWODISLD, the first hashtag to appear in a commercial. 

(Via CNN