Think the Super Bowl is high tech? Come back for a regular 49ers game

Fans at the big game won't be able to do things normally allowed on the Levi's Stadium app. But there are still plenty of features to keep them busy.

The stadium app for the Super Bowl lets you have drinks delivered to your seat and watch game commercials on your phone.

James Martin/CNET

When you get to Levi's Stadium, you whip out your Apple Watch to display your parking pass. You flash the watch again to show your ticket at the entrance, and a greeting appears on the scoreboard, with the Instagram photo you specially hashtagged. Later, never missing a second of the on-field action, you tuck into nachos and slip into a souvenir T-shirt that have been delivered to your seat.

Sounds great, right? Too bad you won't be able to do any of this at Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.

This may be the "techiest Super Bowl ever," but it's nothing compared with a usual 49ers game. The developer behind the Levi's Stadium app, VenueNext, tweaked it for the Super Bowl at the NFL's request. So some of the most high-tech features won't be available during Sunday's game in Santa Clara, California, between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

That includes food and merchandise delivery, digital ticketing, and the social-media integration that welcomes you to the stadium when you tag the venue on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And forget about using your Apple Watch. You'll need a mobile phone or tablet running Apple's iOS or Google's Android software. It will even work with Windows Phones and iPods, but no wearables.


That doesn't mean the Super Bowl 50 stadium app isn't without its perks. Though changes had to be made due to logistics and security, the NFL and VenueNext believe there are enough features befitting a game played in the heart of Silicon Valley. Here's what you'll be able to do with the app:

Have drinks delivered to your seat

Need another beer but don't want to miss a second of the game? You'll be able to place drink orders from your seat and pay for them using your phone. Sit back and let your beer come to you.

Skip the long food lines

You won't get food delivered to your seat, but you can order it ahead and get in an express pickup line instead of waiting eons at a concession stand.

Express pickup of merchandise

This is one feature that's actually new to Levi's Stadium for the Super Bowl. You'll be able to shop for merchandise from your phone and then pick it up at at an NFL shop in the stadium. During a typical 49ers game, you can have merchandise delivered to your seat, but there's no express pickup line.

Watch Super Bowl commercials and instant replays

Another new feature for the Super Bowl is the ability to watch all commercials being shown on TV. For some people, that's the whole point of watching the game -- but probably not you, since you shelled out hundreds of dollars (if not more) to be at the game. The app also lets you watch instant replays four seconds after every play, with multiple camera angles.

Check out famous people on a celebrity camera feed

There will be more than 100 cameras in Levi's Stadium, between all the networks reporting from the game (including CBS, which owns CNET and will televise the game in the US). One of them will be focused on picking out celebrities in the crowd. We're not sure if that means real celebrities, like movie stars, or Silicon Valley royalty, like startup CEOs. Either way, you'll be able to check them out nonstop on your phone.

Find your way around the stadium

Ever have trouble finding points of interest or a certain restaurant in a stadium? Or even finding your seat? The Super Bowl 50 app includes a wayfinding feature with turn-by-turn directions, making sure you're never lost again. It doesn't factor in the possibility that you may have had one too many beers, though.

Locate the shortest bathroom line

Tired of missing the game because you're standing in line for the bathroom? Maybe that extra beer is the problem. In any case, the stadium app includes a feature that tells you the location of the nearest bathroom and how busy it is. Red means "really busy, try a different one."

Call for help

That motto -- "if you see something, say something" -- can be tricky if you don't know the right contact. The Levi's Stadium app includes a feature that lets you report a problem, like a fight between drunk and disorderly fans. Security officers will receive an alert.

One thing's for sure -- you Super Bowl attendees will have plenty to keep your attention, either on the field or on your phone screen.

"What we're looking forward to is the rest of the world gets to see what we've done with Levi's," VenueNext CEO John Paul said. Along with making the Super Bowl app, his company has also created stadium apps for the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and Orlando Magic. "The rest of the world doesn't know how good the experience can be in a stadium."

CNET's Mariel Myers contributed to this report.

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