Science of the Big Game: The Technology Under the Hood at the Super Bowl

Photo: Metlife Stadium Photo Credit: NRG Solar
Metlife Stadium | NRG Solar

The folks at Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken) have compiled some interesting tidbits about the technology powering Super Bowl XLVIII, which will take place at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, Feb. 2, 2014. has added a few facts of our own: 

  • This will be the first Super Bowl for Google Glass. Google Glass, worn by John Kuko, a CBS reporter, will provide a unique view of the game and also will be used to report the activities outside the stadium.

  • MetLife has full Wi-Fi access, one of only 12 of 32 NFL stadiums that can make this claim. The remaining 20 NFL stadiums depend upon slower cellular network infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity.

  • There are more than 2,000 personal TV screens at selected seats in the stadium, each connected via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) network.
  • About 50 miles of fiber-optic cable and nearly 500 miles of other cable connect it all.
  • There are 24 large high-definition video screens for fan viewing.
  • Nearly half a mile of four-foot-high LED lighting tracks encircles the stadium rim.
  • A “solar ring” composed of 1,350 panels also encircling the stadium helps power the LED board. The supplier, NRG Solar (Carlsbad, Calif.), says, “Some 1,350 solar panels in 47 sections power the 916 LED fixtures on a mile-long track around the top.” This signature solar ring can display team colors and additional hues to meet the needs of visiting events, including concerts and college sporting contests.
  • The building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels, manufactured by Atlantis Energy Systems (Poughkeepsie), generate about 350 kilowatts, nearly 25 times the amount of electricity actually needed to power the LED display system. The excess power can go into general stadium use or back to the grid. NRG provides the stadium’s everyday electricity; the normal energy supply can also light up the ring when the sun is down.
  • Extreme Networks (San Jose, Calif.) has been named the official Wi-Fi analytics provider for the league and Super Bowl XLVIII. Extreme Networks will help the NFL analyze and solve the challenges associated with connectivity in stadiums.

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