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Why Budweiser Gave 10,000 High-Tech Cups to Hockey Fans

The goal-synced Budweiser Red Light Cups brought extra excitement to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

By Adele Chapin April 24, 2017, 7:15 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of the Washington Capitals

The sold-out crowd at Verizon Center in D.C. cheered whenever the Washington Capitals scored a goal against Maple Leafs during Stanley Cup playoff Game 2 on April 15—and their cups did, too. The arena flashed with red lights from more than 10,000 Budweiser Red Light Cups—all synced to go off with every Caps goal.

Budweiser passed out the Bluetooth-enabled cups to fans before the game and promoted them throughout the playoffs. “The goal light is one of the most well-known and exciting aspects to a hockey game, so we wanted to take equity from that and help amplify that excitement with our Budweiser Red Light Cups,” a Budweiser spokesperson said. The Budweiser Red Light Cups initiative is an international hockey program in place since 2013, but this is the first time Budweiser brought the special cups to an arena in the United States to drive fan engagement.

For the Capitals activation, Budweiser installed 25 R.F.I.D. transmitters throughout the stadium in order for the cups to light up all at once. A Red Light controller in the arena during the game pressed a button that sent a signal to the transmitters to release a frequency that set off the cups every time the Capitals scored.

When fans brought the cups home, they could download the Budweiser Red Light app and use Bluetooth technology on their phones to sync the cup to real-time games. “One of the main objectives of the cups is so hockey fans can bring the rink side experience home with them and enjoy their team’s goals just like they would if they were watching the game live,” said the Budweiser rep.

The brand is considering bringing the Budweiser Red Light Cups experience to other cities for the 2017-2018 season.

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