NFL American football franchise the Chicago Bears is to upgrade the Wi-Fi system at its Soldier Field stadium from next season, with the service to become free for fans to use.
Bears fans are currently charged $1.99 (£1.61/€1.85) to use Wi-Fi at the stadium, but the team has revealed that the fee will be eliminated from the 2017-18 campaign onwards.
The Crain’s Chicago Business newspaper reports that telecommunications company Verizon, the Bears’ wireless carrier sponsor, will oversee a seven-figure upgrade to a Wi-Fi system that was designed and installed by Boingo Wireless.
Bears chief executive Ted Phillips hopes the revamped system, coupled with the removal of the usage fee, will help the team stay engaged with its younger supporters on game days.
“I think one of the biggest things we have to keep focused on is fans, millennials in particular,” Phillips said, according to the Crain’s Chicago Business. “They have more options, they have a shorter attention span – they might be watching football, but they’re not watching as long, and it’s easy for them to click off, put on another game, put on Netflix. They’ve got three screens going at once, and we’ve got to be able to address that the right way.”
Specific details of the new system, which is expected to be in place by the summer and will be available at all Soldier Field events, have not yet been revealed.