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The NFL’s Super Bowl championship football game is routinely one of the most watched televised events of the year with over 100 million viewers. But increasingly, people don’t just want to watch the game, they want to interact with it. For me, that means keeping my iPhone and iPad open while the television is on. And this year’s game will actually allow me to use both devices for more than just a distraction during the commercial interruption. With that in mind, we’ve put together a round-up of sites and services that are taking full advantage of the Super Bowl hype.
Watch the Super Bowl online (legally)
While there are probably a handful of tech savvy sports fans without cable (or a reliable HD signal) who were bummed out after the Department of Justice seized their favorite site that was illegally streaming live sporting events. But fear not, this year the NFL has decided to put the game online for free. Starting at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET), anyone on a desktop computer can access a live stream of Super Bowl coverage via NBCSports.com. Not only that, but its possible that the web broadcast will offer a better experience than the one on your TV screen. The video streams are HD-quality, feature multiple camera angles, DVR-like functionality, and lots of integration with social media.
Watch the game from a mobile device
Anyone with a connected mobile device through Verizon is in luck this year. The NFL is streaming the big game in its entirety from its official mobile app on iOS and Android for Verizon customers. Alternately, anyone in Canada that doesn’t want to miss out on watching the biggest American Football game of the year can do so by checking out the official NFL app via wireless carrier Bell.
Watch the commercials online
If you don’t care much about the game, but want to see all the great commercials, you’ve got a few options. Anyone in the U.S. can once again watch the round-up of Super Bowl ad spots on Hulu via the site’s Adzone channel. Thus far, my favorite of the bunch is definitely the Volkswagen overweight dog/Star Wars commercial, while my least favorite is the tasteless Go Daddy commercial featuring Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels.
YouTube is also offering people a way to watch this year’s Super Bowl commercials via its AdBlitz channel. The channel also offers plenty of pre game videos, snack recipes, game predictions, and more. I don’t think YouTube’s video coverage is region specific, so everyone in the world should be able to watch. Meanwhile, Facebook and USA Today have teamed up to offer their own version of commercial watching/tracking with a new Super Bowl AdMeter app.
Following the game on Twitter
Microblogging social network Twitter is also getting into the Super Bowl mix. The site has set up new accounts for both teams — @GiantsTweets and @NEPatriotTweets — that will automatically select and retweet the top tweets from official team accounts, coaches, players, owners and local media. The site is also setting up a way for people to share their reactions to commercial via a new “AdScrimmage” site, which will allow people to vote on favorites. Results from the voting will be announced Feb. 12.
Interactive social experiences
Social TV network Miso is offering its users a way to get an enhanced experience while watching the big game. Miso’s SideShows feature on the iPhone will deliver rich multimedia content during key moments of the game from videos, polls, music and more — all while engaging with its brand partner, automobile company Hyundai while engaging with the brand. Miso users watching the game will also be able to unlock a badge for their profile.
Sports-specific social network PlayUp is also participating in the Super Bowl action. The site has teamed up with St. Louis Rams Running Back Steven Jackson and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson to interact with football fans during the game. The two will be corresponding with fans all over the world by creating their own interactive virtual hangouts.
The previously exclusive music social app Shazam has now expanded into the realm of television. So naturally, the company is getting in on the Super Bowl festivities. Users will be able to tag the screen during specific parts of both the game and commercials for a chance to unlock exclusive music videos, prizes, and more. The company is also teaming up with Delivery Agent to offer Shazam users a way to buy exclusive Super Bowl merchandise during the game.
[Image via NFL Network's Twitter account]