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Google, Apple, Yahoo Trying To Score Points With Local Officials During Super Bowl
Private tech sponsors have spent millions to support the game.
Silicon Valley tech companies are trying to score some points in the runup to the Super Bowl. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple, Google, Yahoo, HP, SAP, Intuit, Uber and others are seeking to win favor with local governments by providing services and sponsorships.
The Super Bowl Host Committee has reportedly raised about $50 million from these firms and other private entities. Normally, tourism dollars and other public money helps finance infrastructure needs and other costs surrounding the big game. Some of these companies are providing services in the spirit of being good corporate citizens, and some are seeking to generate positive PR and goodwill in local communities.
According to the Journal:
Alphabet, the parent of Google, is pulling out one of the symbols of that tension for the Super Bowl: its buses that typically shuttle workers between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. For the game, Alphabet offered the use of the shuttles operated by its vendors to transport an estimated 5,000 fans from points across the Bay Area to the game, according to a company spokesman, an effort to ease the traffic from the estimated one million people who are coming for the weekend.
On Super Bowl Sunday, tickets for round-trip rides in the luxury buses will cost $55 a person, and Alphabet will not receive any money from the ticket sales, the spokesman said.
Uber, as one might expect, is also providing transportation to and from the stadium. It will apparently be the exclusive official ride-sharing service operating around Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Lyft reportedly declined to participate, although people attending the game will undoubtedly use the service.
The thrust of the Journal piece is that helping provide services and private money will win the involved companies warm fuzzies with local public and communities, which have increasingly ambivalent relationships with big Silicon Valley companies. In San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area, tech companies have been accused of raising the cost of housing and creating traffic and other problems. However, these companies also bring thousands of “good jobs” (as they say in politics) to the region.
It will be interesting to see which of the tech firms’ logos show up around the stadium and during the broadcast.