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Intel signs tech partnership for 49ers' Silicon Valley stadium

Any Silicon Valley denizens hoping for a name change to the San Francisco 00110001ers may be disappointed, but the 49ers NFL football team is lining up with local legend Intel for a major technology and sponsorship deal at its new stadium in Santa Clara.

The stadium move for the 2014 season will take the 49ers from their 53-year-old Candlestick Park in San Francisco to the world of binary numbers and tech innovation 40 miles to the south. The new Levi's Stadium will be named for a local clothing company but will sit within sight of many of the biggest IT companies in the world.

Intel, which has its Santa Clara headquarters just a few miles away, will be a preferred technology provider for the stadium and plans to offer a "fan experience zone" where visitors can try out new Intel-based products. That zone might even include demonstrations of future technologies from Intel's labs, Intel spokesman Bill Calder said.

The partnership is not exclusive, but the 49ers will make an effort to outfit the 68,500-seat stadium with Intel-based IT gear, which could include Xeon servers, McAfee security software, and other technology including sensors, Calder said. The multiyear deal also includes naming rights for a pedestrian plaza and other ways for Intel to get its name out to football fans. It will take effect in 2014, the year of the stadium's inaugural season.

The 49ers already signed a 10-year deal with Yahoo, based in neighboring Sunnyvale, as their exclusive online sports content, social networking, and photo and video sharing partner. Under that deal, Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football and the Flickr photo and video sharing site will enhance in-stadium entertainment, according to the team.

Sports venues are becoming showcases for technologies to keep fans informed and entertained. In particular, many teams have focused on building high-capacity Wi-Fi networks to support the growing number of mobile devices that fans use in stadiums and arenas. The 49ers reportedly have said their network's Wi-Fi network will be capable of serving all 68,500 fans at the same time.

The company's partnership with the 49ers comes just days after the company announced a deal with Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona. That partnership will include Intel improving the fan experience at the club's 98,787-seat stadium, Camp Nou, and getting its "Intel Inside" logo placed on the inside of players' jerseys, the company said last week.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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