U.S. Bank Stadium hosted the first ever zero waste Super Bowl last month, with the championship game also setting a new record for wifi usage.

Speaking to TheStadiumBusiness.com, Patrick Talty, general manager of the Minneapolis venue, confirmed that an incredible 16.3 terabytes of data was used on the U.S. Bank Stadium’s network by more than 40,000 unique users. This is a record for the most wifi data used at a single-day event and was a significant 38% rise on the 11.8 TB of 2017, the previous best. Last year’s figure only slightly beat the 2016 usage of 10.1 TB.

The 66,655-capacity arena, which opened in 2016 at a cost of around $1bn, is the home of the Minnesota Vikings. While already incorporating a state-of-the-art wifi system, Talty described enhancements that were made ahead of the February 4 game, which saw the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots.

“Technology has always been a focus of U.S. Bank Stadium partners, starting with the creation of the facility,” Talty told TheStadiumBusiness.com. “With an extremely socially-connected population, our guests have an expectation to be able to reliant on their mobile devices wherever they go. Additionally, with the industry moving to mobile-ticketing, our infrastructure had to be designed to keep up with that trend.

“Our IT team has been focused on the strength of both the wifi and DAS (Distributed Antenna System) since we opened U.S. Bank Stadium and we saw an opportunity to reinforce these systems prior to Super Bowl LII. Providing a strong wifi connection ultimately becomes part of supporting an excellent overall guest experience.”

Existing partnerships

While more than 67,000 guests watched the Eagles’ win, the stadium became the first in Super Bowl history to achieve zero waste, having recorded 91% waste diversion (the industry recognises >90% waste diversion as zero waste). Just 24 hours after the game, hundreds of stadium employees, food vendors, sustainability experts and volunteers worked together to sort about 60 tons of waste, marking it to be recycled, composted or reused. The 9% that could not be diverted, was sent to a waste-to-energy incineration plant to be turned into electricity.

The recycling effort was another triumph for the SMG-managed facility, and came following months of preparations for one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

“We are a multi-purpose facility, and in the spirit of this concept, accommodating events of all types is part of our focus through operating U.S. Bank Stadium,” explained Talty. “Hosting the Super Bowl is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for a stadium operation as it is different even from year to year.

“The preparation and site tours began several months in advance of the event, even when our facility was still being constructed. Our SMG team had the opportunity to coordinate with Super Bowl specific vendors and organisers to create a unique atmosphere for this game. The challenges and tasks related to this event stretched our team to build upon our existing processes and implement new event operating procedures that will enhance the facility for future events.

“We also expanded upon our existing partnership with local officials, municipal organisations and law enforcement to work together to make the entire 10-day Super Bowl experience a success for U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis and Greater Minnesota.”

Images: Tony Webster and Quintin3265