Uber has inked a deal with Super Bowl officials allowing the company exclusive ride-hail access to the area surrounding Levi's Stadium on the day of Super Bowl 50. That means competitor Lyft (and any other ride-hail service) will be blocked from picking up or dropping off passengers on game day, though how stadium officials intend to enforce this ban remains to be seen.
The deal came about as a result of Uber's sponsorship of the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, reports Quartz, which cost the company "at least $250,000 to $500,000" and includes reserved zones for picking up and dropping off passengers. Business Insider, however, suggests that the amount paid by Uber for this exclusive deal "may be considerably higher."
"We are excited to celebrate our home city as a Super Bowl Host Committee partner," an Uber spokesperson told the publication. "This year's game is in our backyard, and we want to make sure Bay Area residents and fans from all over the world can easily get to the action at the tap of a button for the smoothest Super Bowl experience yet."
The Uber "special rider lounge," as Consumerist calls it, is to be located roughly a 15-minute walk from the stadium.
This marks the first time that any ride-hail service has been officially allowed to operate at the Super Bowl — Business Insider notes that officials at 2014's game in New Jersey attempted to prevent ride-hail services and taxis alike from picking up or dropping off passengers.
Uber, however, won't be the only tech giant with a hand in the shuttling of visitors to and from Levi's Stadium on February 7, reports The Wall Street Journal. Google (uh, "Alphabet") is providing buses (yes, those buses) for the $55-a-head "fan express," which will drive attendees to and from the game.
Whether this special access for Uber riders will help to prevent the kind of complete traffic gridlock we expect to see in San Francisco remains to be seen, but in the end it's unlikely Uber officials even really care as the digital meter will be running either way.