When kids today attend their first NFL football game, many of them turn to their parents and ask “Where’s the yellow line on the field?” To their surprise, they discover that there was never a yellow line in the first place!

The yellow line, which visualizes the location of the first down marker for TV viewers, has been a staple in the NFL since 1998. Football fans are no strangers to augmented reality (AR) and with the advancements in AR technology over the last couple years, fans are joining in on the action like never before.

Here are three ways augmented reality is taking the stage at Super Bowl LII:

1. StubHub’s Stadium Experience

Just in time for the big game, StubHub launched an impressive augmented reality feature on its iPhone app for fans headed to Minneapolis. Super Bowl-goers can view where their seats are with a 3D replica of U.S. Bank Stadium right in front of their eyes.

In the same experience, users can switch to “Map” mode, an interactive visualization of downtown Minneapolis. The map highlights parking locations around the stadium with one-tap access to directions.

StubHub’s press release states that the app enables fans to “preview every aspect of their game day experience in Minneapolis – from parking and picking up their StubHub ticket, to attending StubHub’s pre-game event and finding their seating section in the stadium – right through their phone.”

It’s exciting to see a company like StubHub harnessing the power of AR technology to engage their fans with useful content like this experience.

2. Snapchat’s Gatorade Selfie

(credit VML)

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to win a Super Bowl?

The past two years, Snapchat teamed up with Gatorade to offer an AR experience that allowed users to shower themselves in orange Gatorade!

The mobile app, best known for its disappearing photos, always comes to the table with an impressive AR experience for Super Bowl fans. The selfie augmented reality experience got over 165 million views on Snapchat.

AR “lenses” like Gatorade’s are promising for brands who are trying to engage millennials in a world of infinite distractions. The power of AR gives fans on their couch the ability to join in on the hype of the big game.

Snapchat has not released their 2018 Super Bowl Lenses just yet, but we’re looking forward to seeing what they have in store. With advancements in mobile devices and AR tracking technology like Apple’s AR kit, it’s sure to be eye-popping!

3. Virtex Apps’ Real-Time AR Game

One company has set out to engage every fan in the stadium on February 4th. Virtex Apps has created an augmented reality competition that lets fans compete against each other right from their smartphone during timeouts and half-time.

Players can see the same game from different perspectives depending on where they are sitting in U.S. Bank Stadium. The mini-football game is like Jumbotron games but gives every fan the opportunity to play as an individual.

AR experiences like this one from Virtex Apps shows the opportunity for shared AR experiences. We’ve seen similar augmented reality use cases with games like “The Machines” for iPhone (which will be featured in our upcoming AR course).

In Closing

In the last couple years, AR adoption on mobile devices has developed in younger and older markets. Younger generations have roamed the streets hunting for Pokémon with the hit app Pokémon Go. While older generations have seen the future with experiences like HBR’s “A Manager’s Guide to Augmented Reality” penned by our very own Jim Heppelmann.

If you pair that with the improvements in AR technology on mobile devices, Super Bowl LII is a perfect environment to show off all the new flashy AR applications developers have been working so hard on. To think it all started with a yellow line…

Fundamentals of AR Development with Vuforia Studio
This in-depth course will introduce you to the basics of AR development and give you hands-on experience developing AR applications.