Foursquare reveals new “promoted” check-in for Super Bowl Sunday

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Tech companies have long glommed on to the Super Bowl to promote their services. Remember how TiVo touted the number of people who replayed Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction in 2004? Now Foursquare, the hot New York-based location service, has revealed an alluring offer you’ll want to check out — or rather, check in.

Normally, Foursquare lets you announce where you are to your friends. But it’s waiving that restriction with the launch of a new advertising format — a “promoted venue” for the event to which anyone can check in, even if they don’t have coveted tickets to the real thing, in partnership with the National Football League. Any user will be able to check in to the Super Bowl, wherever they are, and receive a special badge as well as a discount code for

According a Foursquare spokesperson, “Super Bowl Sunday” will appear in the mobile app’s “Trending Now” section, which normally shows popular locations near the user. Once checked in, the user will have to “shout” which team they are rooting for and then receive that team’s badge — either one for the Steelers or  the Packers. (If a user is actually at the Super Bowl in real life — something Foursquare’s app detects using a smartphone’s GPS data — they will receive their own badge.)

Users will also receive a code for a 20 percent discount on merchandise at, the league’s online store. While Foursquare has allowed businesses like Starbucks to issue their own promotional badges and separately offer discounts, this is the first time it’s combined the two rewards. With 6 million users, up 3,400 percent in 2010, it’s not surprising that Foursquare is experimenting more aggressively with new advertising formats.

Foursquare, based in New York City and founded in 2009, has raised more than $21 million in funding to date, with reports of possible additional fundraising on the horizon. It currently has more than 40 employees in its hometown and an engineering office in San Francisco.

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