Yahoo, while taking a break from posting animated GIFs with its new toy, decided to align itself with the Bay Area’s only NFL football team (whose fans don’t resemble extras in a bad science fiction movie). On Monday, the Internet giant signed a 10-year deal that makes Yahoo the exclusive partner for online digital content at the 49ers’ new home, Levi’s Stadium. (I guess Nudie Jeans Field didn’t sound tough enough.) Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but if it’s anything close to the $220 million Levi’s paid for naming rights, it must be quite a bit of Bitcoin.
It seems like a perfect fit for a team that comes oh-so-close every year, but always seems to play second fiddle. If you don’t know what I mean by that, you can Google it. Oh, tech humor. But seriously, unlike some of its more recent acquisitions, there’s no question why Yahoo would want to partner with one of the NFL’s flagship franchises as it builds a brand new, state-of-the-art home.
Fifty-four years after Candlestick Park opened, the 49ers are replacing the dump with a new $1.2 billion stadium in the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s practically double the size and, of course, wired up the wazoo thanks to partnerships with Sony and now Yahoo. It will also be the league’s most environmentally friendly stadium. Green amenities include solar panels that will gather enough power so that they won’t need to pull electricity from the grid, and recycled water will be used for both the grass field and toilets. The stadium will welcome cyclists with bike racks and a valet, potentially making the surrounding bike paths more treacherous than a game of Paperboy when games let out.
For a city with rich, unmistakable architecture, this stadium will be a crown jewel… of Santa Clara.
Inside, the place will be completely cash free and ticketless, with free Wi-Fi for fans. Smartphone apps will allow you to order food, watch instant replays, listen to play-by-play, check bathroom lines, and even connect your photos to the Jumbotron – (hmm, if only Yahoo! had a photo-upload site) right from your seat.
No word yet on if the concession stands will have wine tastings or if ushers will greet you by complaining about Los Angeles. I kid because I love, San Francisco. And by love I mean love that they lost the Super Bowl.
The icing on the cake for Yahoo is that San Francisco will host Super Bowl L right after this thing is completed. Ya know, I’ve heard a lot of people watch that game.
With the Cowboys’ new $1 billion stadium and it’s high-definition screen the size of New Jersey, and now the 49ers’ technology-driven showcase of a stadium, it seems we’ve reached a tipping point: We’re no longer trying to bring the stadium experience to the viewer on his couch, but bring the couch experience to the fan in the stadium. I get it. It all sounds incredibly convenient. I just think part of the joy of seeing a game live is, ya know, putting the phone down. Plus, I’m not sure an opposing team will get intimidated by 70,000 angry fans playing Angry Birds.
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