For all but one of the past nine NFL seasons, watching yet another spectacular flame-out by the New England Patriots in the playoffs has become a mid-winter rite of passage here in the Northeast. (Cue the violins from Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns fans).
Fortunately, there’s a time-honored cure NFL fans can follow to recover from gut-wrenching playoff losses: Avoid all news outlets, especially talk radio, and hunker down until baseball season. While I’m a firm believer in this remedy, it’s not working for me this year, and it’s because of SAP.
Working for SAPinsider, it’s all but impossible to ignore SAP’s enormous presence at Super Bowl XLVIII. Sap.com/superbowl provides real-time social sentiment visualizations, with SAP HANA powering the NetBase social analytics application. SAP is also front and center at the pre-game festivities. The SAP Stats Zone exhibit on “Super Bowl Boulevard” in Times Square is essentially a real-time information kiosk for all things Super Bowl. An enormous display shows the updated NetBase analysis, and fans can also go there for information about SAP’s Fantasy Football Player of the Year finalists, compare players in Sunday’s game, take Super Bowl quizzes, and engage in a host of other interactive activities.
SAP’s Super Bowl affiliation continues the company’s push to use sports as a way to increase consumer recognition of SAP as more than an enterprise software company. So, try as I might to bury my head in the sand and deny the reality that Peyton Manning is a win away from a second Super Bowl ring, it’s really hard when I keep coming across tweets like this:
Really, five years ago would an NFL wide receiver (Jennings plays for the Vikings) have any reason to tweet about SAP? The fact that he is indicates that SAP’s strategy to partner with sports to increase brand recognition just may be working.
In an interesting coincidence, the SAP Stats Zone is just outside the ESPN Zone in Times Square, and an analogy can be made between ESPN’s rise from broadcasting slo-pitch softball games to become a multi-media giant – the “Worldwide Leader” as it were – and SAP’s foray into sports as a way to “humanize the brand,” which is how SAP Group Director of Global Sponsorships Dan Fleetwood explained the purpose of SAP Stats Zone to Sports Business Daily.
Chris Berman, who has been with ESPN since the company’s humble beginnings, has told the story about showing up with an ESPN microphone for interviews, and more than a few of his subjects thought it was a Spanish-speaking station, saying something to the effect of, “ESPN? Español? What is this?”
NFL fans who saunter into the Stats Zone this week might have a similar reaction. That’s not to say that SAP is a struggling young company, but it can help illustrate what SAP is up against as it branches out beyond IT departments and boardrooms. This is SAP? You mean I don’t have to work for a multinational conglomerate to benefit from SAP HANA? Cool.
Yes, and even though the Patriots aren’t in the mix, through Wednesday they were still the No. 1 trending team in Massachusetts according to SAP Stats Zone. So at least SAP HANA didn’t let me down.