NFL teams boost connected stadium commitment

The Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills have become the latest NFL American football franchises to step up their connected stadium commitments by enhancing their partnerships with software-driven solutions company Extreme Networks.

The three teams will deploy Extreme Networks’ Smart OmniEdge networking solutions at their home stadia, in order to boost connectivity at their practice facilities and ensure a rich, wireless multimedia experience for fans on game day.

This deployment includes two Extreme Networks’ products and is expected to transform the stadium experience for fans worldwide. With ExtremeMobility access points across the stadium, fans can expect seamless and secure Wi-Fi connectivity from a core-to-edge wired network enabling social media sharing, video streaming and unfettered mobile app usage.

With ExtremeAnalytics software, insights will be provided that enable the teams to deliver personalised offers and application features to engaged fans. As the official Wi-Fi solutions provider of the NFL for the last four years, Extreme has delivered wired and Wi-Fi connectivity or Wi-Fi analytics solutions to 28 NFL stadia, including the past five Super Bowl venues. Earlier this month, New York-based teams the Jets and Giants agreed similar partnerships to enhance connectivity at MetLife Stadium.

Since deploying Extreme’s Smart OmniEdge solutions in 2015, the number of Packers fans connecting to Wi-Fi at Lambeau Field has grown from 20% to over 50% at the 80,000-seat stadium during the first games of the 2018 season. From the initial deployment to today, data transferred over the network has also doubled to more than five terabytes.

Additionally, in preparation for the Packers’ 100 Seasons Experience, the team expanded its Wi-Fi network to include Titletown – a centre near Lambeau Field that offers shopping, restaurants and activities for fans – as well as the Lambeau Field parking lots, enabling fans to engage before, during and after Packers home games. Mobile ticketing at the stadium also enables fans to enter the game quickly.

Wayne Wichlacz, director of information technology at the Green Bay Packers, said: “Our partnership with Extreme Networks has allowed us to scale and grow our infrastructure as we add new fan features in our stadium, parking lots and through regional development in Titletown. Our connected fan experience is just another way the Packers are using technology to add value to the already unique, one-of-a-kind environment at the legendary and iconic Lambeau Field.”

From the 2014 to 2017 season, Wi-Fi usage at the Titans’ Nissan Stadium has seen significant growth. Average peak throughput has increased 140% and average data transferred has increased by 100%. Additionally, the number of peak users at the nearly 70,000-seat stadium has risen 48% and the number of unique users has increased 45%.

Russ Hudson, director of information systems at the Tennessee Titans, said: “Not only are our fans increasingly using Nissan Stadium’s Wi-Fi network, but we’re able to get a better understanding of their wants and needs to tailor the gameday experience to meet these expectations via Wi-Fi analytics. Plus, with the insights Extreme’s analytics solution provides, we’re able to identify and mitigate issues before they impact fans, making the connection truly seamless.”

As part of the One Buffalo initiative, which aims to create a deeper community connection in Western New York, the Bills deployed Extreme’s Smart OmniEdge solution to connect with and engage fans at New Era Field.

As a result, from the 2016 to 2017 season, the average number of unique Wi-Fi users at the 71,600-seat facility increased 102%. Data throughput rose 589%, from 507 gigabits per second (Gbps) in the 2016 season to 3,494 Gbps in the 2017 season.

Dave Wheat, chief administrative officer of the Buffalo Bills, said: “In Buffalo, community and fan engagement are business imperatives. With Extreme Networks, we’ve got a future-proof solution that seamlessly scales with demand for network access at New Era Field. With state-of-the-art Wi-Fi connectivity, the One Buffalo initiative is coming to life at each Bills home game.”

Image: Green Bay Packers