Verizon’s Super Bowl Plans Extend Beyond a TV Commercial

Brian Steinberg
·3 min read

Verizon’s Super Bowl efforts don’t start and end with a commercial.

Yes, the telecommunications giant will air a commercial during CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LV on Sunday, but that’s only part of the show the company expects to put into action.

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On Tuesday and Friday, Verizon plans to livestream videos – hosted by late-night personalities Desus and The Kid Mero — of top NFL players taking part in games created specifically for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the site of this year’s gridiron classic. Verizon has placed a Verizon 5G Stadium in Fortnite Creative that will allow gamers to interact with their favorite NFL players.

And on Sunday at 11 p.m., Verizon will live stream “The Big Concert for Small Business,” a benefit hosted by Tiffany Haddish and featuring performances by Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Brittany Howard, Luke Bryan, Brandi Carlile and Jazmine Sullivan. The show will be livestreamed on Yahoo, Fios, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube and TikTok.

“We have a great commercial, but we didn’t start with a commercial,” says Diego Scotti, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, in an interview. “People are not going to be able to come together as they usually do, so it’s an opportunity to be super creative and see this as an opportunity to engage more people than ever before.”

In the past two Super Bowls, Verizon has opted for ads with a more serious tone than those from other Super Bowl participants like Bud Light, Planters or Tide. Verizon tends to focus on telling consumers about the about the reliability of the company’s telecommunications service, with a particular spotlight on its alliances with first responders. Last year, the company eschewed special effects in favor of a commercial that was more hushed in tone and utilized a voice over by actor Harrison Ford and a snippet of an unreleased song by Pearl Jam.

In 2021, the focus is on making consumers aware of 5G – something that rivals like AT&T are also promoting. Showing viewers how Verizon’s services help make the Super Bowl better may help it gain market share in a new communications battle.

Verizon has invested more than $80 million dollars to boost its network at Raymond James Stadium, installing 70 miles of high speed fiber, an upgraded distributed antenna system (DAS), and 281 small cell antennas that will help those who attend the game and are around the stadium.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, fans who use certain 5G-enabled devices and the NFL app will get to look at a variety of different camera angles and also project augmented-reality overlays of stats. Verizon’s Yahoo Sports app will let fans co-watch with friends.

Verizon hopes the concert kicks off an effort to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Verizon will donate $10 million to non-profit LISC, and encourage others to make donations as well.

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