NFL is intent on connecting with fans
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/03/2012 -- The New England Patriots have extended free Wi-Fi throughout Gillette Stadium. The team official said the move is intended to improve the gameday experience. “This will enhance the experience of being in our stadium,” said Fred Kirsch, Vice President of Content for the Patriots, “and it could help us down the road for the days when we might not be sold out.”
The stadium already had Wi-Fi available in suites so that fans could get online during games, but since the season’s home opener, Internet access has been extended to all who attend. The NFL also is looking for ways to give fans a more enjoyable experience. Although 96% of available tickets are sold, the league wants to hold onto fans who are involved in fantasy leagues or who monitor other games while cheering on their own team.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is intent on Wi-Fi. “We believe it’s important to bring technology into the stadiums,” Goodell said in May league meetings. “We’ve made the point repeatedly that the experience at home is outstanding, and we have to compete with that in some fashion, making sure we create the same type of environment in our stadiums.”
Installing Wi-Fi in a stadium can cost more than $6 million, including setting up hundreds of access points and providing service. It took about a month for Enterasys Networks to set up hundreds of access points throughout Gillette Stadium. As many as 40% of fans will be able to tap into the service at the same time, although the system probably will not hit that capacity. Wi-Fi use at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in February topped out at 12% of fans.
Other NFL stadiums that have Wi-Fi are MetLife, home of the Jets and Giants; the Falcons’ Georgia Dome, the Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium, the Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium, the Saints’ ercedes-Benz Superdome, the Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium, and the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium.
The NFL is keeping a close eye on stadiums that offer Wi-Fi. “In the next five to 10 years, not only will fans be able to be connected at the game like they are now, I’m confident the experience is going to be even better,” said Eric Grubman, NFL executive vice president of business operations.
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