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Battle for the Second Screen – Super Bowl 50

By: Andy Cooper

The two teams competing in Super Bowl 50 have been decided following the Denver Broncos’ 20-18 victory against the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers’ crushing 49-15 win against the Arizona Cardinals. As the Broncos and the Panthers prepare to do battle at Levi’s Stadium on February 7th, off the field a digital battle is taking place as companies compete for fans’ second screen attention.

Numerous businesses have different plans for the Super Bowl, from statistical engagement to social interaction. The NFL itself has a number of different options, the most prominent being NFL Mobile, but the Super Bowl provides an opportunity to raise brand awareness like no other sporting event in the United States. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the battle surrounding the event is not limited to the two teams.

CBS are the national broadcasters of Super Bowl 50 and will be looking to build on the second screen app used for Super Bowl XLVII which provided them with a solid advertising bump by utilising the different platform. The app offered statistics alongside the broadcast, essentially providing a central hub for fans of data in sport. However, they are not permitted to stream to mobile devices, which is only available for eligible Verizon Wireless customers via the NFL mobile app.

Unsurprisingly, social media will be at the forefront of the battle for the second screen. Snapchat teamed up with the NFL at the start of the season to enhance coverage of football events. NFL Live Stories feed can be found in the Discover section of the Snapchat app, with its dynamic Geofilters allowing Snapchatters to add real-time score updates to their photo and video Snaps to better express the excitement of the game, updated which are now powered by STATS. Twitter will continue to be a primary hub for social interaction, but it’s Facebook that seems to have targeted the Super Bowl to launch a product. Facebook Sports Stadium combines social interaction with play-by-play conversations, expert analysis, news from journalists, posts from the league, coverage from media outlets, and live statistics from the game itself. In short, the new platform aims to cater to every possible need of fans in Levi’s Stadium and watching at home.

The Facebook Sports Stadium will compete with the likes of the NFL itself, ESPN and other hubs of live, in-game data, giving the user the ability to keep up with play-by-play statistics, tracking the progress of every player involved. This is also likely to be available via gaming websites for fans who place money on the game, as sportsbooks will also be competing for attention, as the total amount of money placed on the game is likely to be in the billions. In-play gambling is huge across the world, as anything from the first/next scorer of a touchdown to a field goal being scored in an individual quarter will be available to bet on throughout the match.

NFL fans have numerous second screen options, something which is to be expected for an event like the Super Bowl. Brands are also likely to battle for the strongest association with the contest, either via sponsorship or advertising. Whether their preference is social media, statistics, play-by-play, or a combination of them, there is plenty available to fans for their pleasure. However, when it comes to streaming and instant video of the event itself, only CBS (online, tablets) and the NFL (mobile) are available, giving them the advantage in the battle for the second screen.