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Posted at 8:07 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Super Bowl tech makes the game a social media event

By Hayley Tsukayama

Dallas is gearing up for Super Bowl XLV and the clash between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. So is a small army of technicians, IT specialists and network administrators to make sure that all the tech that goes into running the stadium will be working in tip-top shape.

IT World went backstage at the game's media day to talk to Pete Walsh, the head of technology for the Dallas Cowboys. The entire stadium is covered by WiFi and everything from the lights to the concession stands rely on the building's 5,000-square foot technology center.

The Super Bowl also has an official Twitter account, which started last week, that it's been using to run trivia contests and keep fans updated on Dallas-area celebrity sightings. Twitter is likely to play a big part in the game day experience, as simultaneous tweeting during television shows has been taking off lately. After all, the game affords endless opportunities for social media and audience interactivity, aka long-distance trash talk.

In fact, it has already started. Quite a few firms have turned to Web searches and chatter to predict which team is going to win it all on Sunday. On the Google Blog, Web searches for the two teams found that the Steelers had a slight edge over the Pack as of Feb. 3, because Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers had more searches to his name than Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger. In past years, the losing quarterback led searches going into the game.

On the other hand, CNET reported that the firm Infegy has called the game for the Packers, citing their information that the more buzz a team gets before the game, the more likely they are to win it all.

Then, of course, there are the ads. Plenty of people say they only watch the Superbowl for the ads, and companies have taken to Facebook and other social media platforms to build up buzz for their minute (or less) in the spotlight.

Bud Light, for example, is asking its followers to guess its Super Bowl ad in its "Unlock the Spot" campaign. If users guess the plots of all three of Bud Light's ads correctly, the company will release an exclusive, online-only ad sequel to its popular "Swear Jar" and "Clothing Drive" ads.

And if you want to let the world know what your favorites ads are this year, get yourself over to Hulu's AdZone, for voting. (You can also revisit Super Bowl ads from previous years.)

Geeks, jocks: Stop the war for this weekend. There's plenty for both of you to love about the Super Bowl.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 4, 2011; 8:07 AM ET
Categories:  Digital culture, Gadgets, Internet TV  
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