At this time a year ago, millions of office workers were in the midst of participating in the simple, skill-free tradition of Super Bowl “box pools” — with 100 squares each randomly assigned a single number on the vertical and horizontal axes.
There are plenty of online versions now — as there are for the skill-based NCAA March Madness 68-team “bracket pools” each March.
But in older-skewing office worker environments, there was liable to have been a lingering annual tradition of the same guy (and it’s usually a guy) walking from cubicle to cubicle, collecting a nominal fee per each box.
Like almost everything else, it sometimes seems, that tradition has been snuffed out this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enter “Super Squares,” an app that advertises itself as “the live mobile game show that launches advertising as a sport” and offers up to $2.4 million in prizes.
So for the annual Super Bowl party guest who is more interested in the commercials and in their numbers in the box pool at the end of each quarter — this seems to be made for them.
A grand prize & world record try
The free-to-play game will award the fan with the highest score an $80,000 Rivian Electric Adventure Vehicle — what looks to be a burly pickup truck, no gasoline required.
The 55 runners-up — an ode to this being Super Bowl LV — will win prizes valued at $500 at minimum.
As the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers play on Sunday, fans will be able to join a live “Twitch watch party” hosted by NFL analyst Mike Golic and NFL Super Bowl XLVII champion Matt Birk.
The football squares tournament has been designated as a world-record attempt by Guinness World Records in the “box pool” category, and there is a $1 million “Perfect Game Jackpot” that will be doubled to $2 million when shared with a “buddy” who may have referred the winner to Super Squares (hint: no one will hit three predictions exactly).
“Playing the football squares game is a tradition that brings everyone together, and I’m happy we can still do so virtually this year,” former ESPN commentator Golic said in a statement. “Mobile technology has eliminated paper in mail, maps, and even fantasy football, and Super Squares takes a game that millions have played on paper to the next level — just in time for a season where social distancing is keeping us apart.”
The app combines “the score matching elements of squares, with prediction and ad gamification” for what it calls a “game-show element.”
Super Squares has awarded more than $300,000 in prizes to more than 3,000 players since it launched in May.
Pay attention to that ad
Birk, a center for the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens from 1998-2013, is commissioner of sports at React, the company behind Super Squares. He said part of Super Squares’ appeal is incorporating an element of fan enjoyment beyond the exact score — talking about the quality of game-day commercials.
Players compete while watching live sports such as the Super Bowl, and are prompted to rate each in-app mobile TV commercial and then answer questions about them — and are rewarded for being correct.
Birk says this aspect “provides instant ad sentiment while verifying attention and ad recall, removing all the guesswork brands have about the delivery and effectiveness of their ads. These reactions provide participating brands and agencies with census-level validation of fan engagement and sentiment, measurable over time.
“This depth of understanding is simply not available to brands delivering traditional TV ads, even when they spend $5.5 million for a single TV spot,” Birk added.
The ad-based quizzes begin even before the opening kickoff.
There are three pre-game “predictor questions” such as total yards gained combined by the two teams, plus two multiple-choice questions based on watching a commercial in the app — and yes, you gain bonus points for having your lucky numbers match the end-of-quarter and final scores.
The app has live in-game “standings” so that fans can see how they are faring throughout the game.
What’s next for Super Squares? There are plans in the works for hockey, basketball, and baseball versions “in the next 12-18 months.”