Football Gets Smart with Data Analytics

Foto: SAP
Inside SAP’s StatsZone on Super Bowl Boulevard in New York City; Photo: SAP

Thanks to rapid technological advances, an upsurge in media-coverage, and a preponderance of social sharing, Super Bowl XLVIII is set to be recognized alongside the first live broadcast of a sporting event in 1921 as a game-changer in spectator sports.  When, on April 11, 1921, Pittsburg radio station KDKA aired live, ringside coverage of a lightweight prizefight, it marked an epoch of a socially acceptable obsession with games that grown men play. In no time, America was a full-on spectator nation.  “Radio created the first national audience, and on that basis, the medium cemented sports as a cornerstone of American culture,” says Robert McChesney, media scholar and professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Nearly a hundred years later, SAP is transforming how football fans experience the Super Bowl. With visualized social-media analytics, powerful predictive tools, and exclusive content, fans can delve deeper into the intricacies of the gridiron.

SAP social media analytics: Look who’s talking, tweeting, and sharing

SAP’s social media analytics, powered by NetBase technology, generates dynamic, interactive data-visualizations of conversations around the big game. Fans can track who’s talking about what, when, and where: Which team are people rooting for in California? What about in Vermont, or in the American south? Are predictions of who will take the trophy changing as game-day gets closer? Who’s dreamier: Russell Wilson or Peyton Manning?

Next page: Analytics determines real-time trends in social conversation

During the game, SAP’s Social Media Analytics by NetBase will measure fan sentiment relative to what’s happening on the field.  If a player drops the ball (literally), just how harsh a beat down will he get from the blogosphere?  If the team trailing by 10 points lands a hail-mary touchdown pass with two minutes on the clock, does the social conversation shift in their favor following the play? Post-game, fans can use the analytics tool to identify the Super Bowl’s most stirring   moment. And, of course, learn which super bowl commercial is the most talked-about.

SAP is helping fans get the most out of Super Bowl XLVIII with tools, content, and insights above and beyond traditional game coverage. Those who like to play at soothsaying can make smarter predictions this year thanks to the SAP Super Bowl Stats Zone, where fans can access and analyze NFL data and test different in-game scenarios.

SAP and Marshall Faulk give fans an inside look at the Super Bowl

For people more into the backstory, SAP recruited Super Bowl champion and Hall-of-Famer Marshall Faulk to give fans an inside look at what it’s like to play on NFL’s greatest stage. SAP’s Super Bowl XLVIII coverage also includes exclusive editorial features on how technology makes for a better-run Super Bowl.

Next page: The Stats Zone in Times Square

SAP and have partnered to create an interactive Super Bowl experience in the heart of New York City.  Spanning 13 blocks of the city’s most famous street, Super Bowl Boulevard is, for four days starting January 29, the biggest show on Broadway. The Stats Zone – scaled to bright-lights, big-city size – is also there, at the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street. Visitors can track game-related social media activity “in the zone,” relive the NFL’s most historic moments, create a custom fan avatar, and get to know the finalists in’s Fantasy Player of The Year contest.

Not just in New York: SAP football coverage online

Fans in other cities can also access these great features online, of course. Links to the various tools and content are scattered about this article. To access all of SAP’s Super Bowl XLVIII coverage from one place, visit the Smarter Side of Super Bowl XLVIII home page.