The Super Bowl hype gets ratcheted up a notch on Thursday with the opening of Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square. The heart of New York City has been transformed into an interactive NFL fantasy world spanning more than 15 city blocks.
RFID technology will play a major role with access control and social media on Super Bowl Boulevard. Fans will rely on RFID-enabled badges for entry into various events such as the NFL Rush Zone, an animated field experience located between 34th and 35th Street.
The NFL expects about one million fans to visit Super Bowl Boulevard in the three days leading up to the Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
RFID-enabled badges will also allow entry into the NFL Shop at Super Bowl, located on the fourth floor of Macy’s Herald Square location. Ironically, Macy’s is no stranger to RFID, with many departments such as shoes and men’s clothing carrying RFID-tagged goods.
Visitors to Super Bowl Boulevard will also need their RFID badges to gain entry into the broadcast sets of NFL Network, ESPN and Fox, and to ride the 60-foot toboggan set up in Times Square.
Fans with RFID badges can use mobile devices inside the Stats Zone to vote on football topics like MVP candidates and will be able to view voting for NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year in real time. Sponsored by SAP, the Stats Zone is an interactive display that will provide real-time analytics about all online posts about the Super Bowl.
The RFID-enabled badges will also allow fans to post pictures instantaneously to their social media accounts. Those who have their picture taken with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, for example, will be able to capture the experience and post photos or video immediately to Facebook and Twitter. Inside the Stats Zone, fans can take photos that show them wearing the jersey of their favorite NFL team.
As with previous Super Bowls, RFID is also being used in some of the broader security applications. According to CNet, officials will rely on the reams of data harvested from RFID and GPS systems, as well as camera feeds and social media, to define specific security threats.