Industry News

Extreme Wi-Fi at NFL stadiums boosts fan engagement

Gillette Stadium (pictured), home to the New England Patriots, has kicked off the 2017 NFL American football season with the highest recorded Wi-Fi usage in a game, as well as boasting the most engaged regular season games in the league.

Extreme Networks, the NFL’s official Wi-Fi provider, has reported year-on-year usage metrics to determine the league’s fan engagement.

Extreme has delivered high-density Wi-Fi solutions to 10 NFL teams and insightful Wi-Fi analytics to an additional 12 NFL teams, including the previous four Super Bowls.

Through improved Wi-Fi coverage, reliability and speed, NFL teams deploying Extreme solutions are enhancing game day operations for fans and improving network visibility.

From 2015 to 2016, the number of unique and concurrent Wi-Fi users at Gillette Stadium rose by 78 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively. Data volume also increased by 42 per cent while peak throughout rose by a staggering 265 per cent.

Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium saw the number of concurrent Wi-Fi users increase by 30 per cent from 2015 to 2016, while 56.1 per cent of attendees were connected to Wi-Fi on average in 2016.

Roy Sommerhof, vice president of stadium operations at the Baltimore Ravens, said: “We continually look for avenues to enrich the game day atmosphere at M&T Bank Stadium. Partnering with Extreme Networks brings an added dimension for our fans while attending an already thrilling event.

“During the 2016 season, the Ravens were ranked #5 in the NFL for fans’ satisfaction with its technology, largely in part to Extreme’s Wi-Fi solutions. Connecting our fans with Extreme’s Wi-Fi will help us to continue to produce the NFL’s best in-stadium experience.”

After deploying ExtremeWireless in 2014, the Seattle Seahawks were able to provide fans with additional services at CenturyLink Field, such as in-seat food ordering, live video streaming via the team’s mobile application, and improved communication with fans on game days.

Buffalo Bills’ New Era Field saw 33,972 unique devices connected to its Wi-Fi in one week in 2017, which is more than half of the fans in attendance at the game.

John Brams, director, hospitality, sports and entertainment at Extreme Networks said: “The increase in fan engagement across Extreme Networks’ stadiums is a testament to how our wired and wireless technology positively impacts the game day experience for fans and the bottom line for customers.

“Our wireless and analytics have been proven to enhance the in-stadium experience – from instant replays to shorter lines to Game Day app usage. With fans’ Wi-Fi adoption on the rise, we’re dedicated to a continued partnership with the NFL and each individual club so that together we can drive the next wave of technology in the League.”

Fred Kirsch, vice president of content at the New England Patriots, said: “Our partnership with Extreme Networks has resulted in continual fan engagement improvements at Gillette Stadium. By utilising Extreme’s solutions and unparalleled support, we have increased visibility into our network, which has eased the burden of managing the network for our IT staff.

“Additionally, through the high-density Wi-Fi Extreme provides for the stadium, fans are able to gain access to exclusive content and engage across social media platforms.”

Image: Bernard Gagnon