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In-Stadium / In-Arena Connectivity Rundown.

August 8, 2012

In late June the WSJ ran a story about how the NFL is leading a push to bring mobile connectivity to all 32 stadiums.   Even the most popular sport in the USA is feeling the pressure to add to the digital experience, because the number of fans who come to the games is dropping. According to the story, the NFL — which is already on record saying it wants to put Wi-Fi in all stadiums — is considering a host of additional digital-access moves, including expanded in-stadium video replays for mobile devices and lightening up on its ridiculous (our opinion) TV blackout rules.

DAZZMOBILE continues to track arena and stadium connectivity.   By no means comprehensive, we thought it might be helpful to compile in a single post a collection of in arena/stadium statistics we’ve seen published recently.

London2012

  • The Olympic network was built to transmit 60 GBps, Cisco reported. In fact, Cisco alone set up 30,000 new connections across 94 locations, 2,200 switches, 1,800 wireless access points and 65,000 active network ports and connections.

June MLB -SanFran

  • 2012, and here are some eye-popping stats from a recent Giants homestand against the Cubs: According to the Giants and AT&T, at one game there were 10,000 fans using the stadium’s Wi-Fi network, and another 10,000 connecting via the various cellular antennas — all using a data app, not even counting phone calls. Still think this is just something for power geeks trying to program in between innings? Or has the wireless fan finally become mainstream?    Click here for a deep dive on how they did it.

NFL 2012 Season

  • Five stadiums nevertheless will serve as pilot projects, with enhanced wireless service and in-game apps.  The quintet of venues will be MetLife Stadium (home of the Jets and Giants), Gillette Stadium (home of the Pats), Bank of America (home of the Panthers), Lucas Oil Stadium (home of Twitter-happy Jim Irsay’s Colts), and the Superdome (home of the Saints).

Carolina Panthers 2012 Season

  • The Carolina Panthers have upgraded their in-stadium fan experience for the 2012 season by adding more than 460 Wi-Fi access points that will bring free AT&T* Wi-Fi Internet to fans’ fingertips everywhere from concession stands, to seats and concourse areas.
  • Bank of America Stadium is now equipped with more than 460 AT&T Wi-Fi access points.
  • Fans with a Wi-Fi enabled AT&T smartphone or tablet can easily and automatically connect to the AT&T Wi-Fi network, without any setup or log-in required.
  • Also, fans with a Wi-Fi enabled smartphone or tablet can easily connect to the AT&T network through a simple log-in.
  • Use of the Wi-Fi service is free to the user. Wi-Fi data usage does not count towards AT&T users’ monthly smartphone data plans, offering fans the ability to surf the web, update their social networking sites or upload and send photos to friends without worrying about their monthly bill.

Madison Square Garden

  • At a recent sports tech conference somebody tweeted a speaker-quote that MSG now supports 8,000 wifi connections.  This is in addition to cellular connections.

Recent Superbowls

  • At the most recent Super Bowl, its customers sent and received about 215 GBytes worth of data while the New York Giants were playing the New England Patriots.

    The 2011 Super Bowl saw AT&T traffic of about 175 Gbytes, according to Mobile Sports Report.

Costs

  • While the cost of putting a wireless network will vary at each location, Major League Baseball has a similar impetus and has roughed out the cost at around $3 million per stadium, which is pretty much in line with what we’ve heard and seen.
  • However, there’s also the DAS option outlined here now installed at the Brooklyn Nets’ new Barclays Center by startups like ExteNet Systems, a Lisle, Ill, a “middleman”  building out stadium networks at no cost to teams and making money by renting network access to the carriers.
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