Enterprise networking company Extreme Networks has detailed how it will seek to fuel record digital engagement at Super Bowl LIV, with the NFL stating it will “revolutionise” the in-stadium experience for fans at Sunday’s showpiece at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers in Miami, with Extreme Networks, official Wi-Fi solutions provider for the seventh consecutive Super Bowl, stating it will use new ‘smart stadium’ technology co-developed with telco Verizon to ensure seamless transition from 5G and 4G LTE networks to stadium Wi-Fi for Verizon customers.
This news follows last year’s record-breaking Wi-Fi usage at Super Bowl LIII where 24 terabytes of data was transferred within Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium – an increase of 47% from the previous NFL championship game.
Extreme said it expects digital engagement at Super Bowl LIV to outpace last year’s milestones by every measure given accelerating trends in social media usage and the NFL’s growing support for a diverse array of in-stadium digital fan experiences, such as AR, VR, and location-based offerings.
Earlier this week, Verizon said Sunday’s game will mark the first time its customers will be able to access a commercial 5G ultra-wideband network with a commercially available 5G device inside the stadium during the Super Bowl.
Norman Rice, chief operating officer of Extreme Networks, stated: “Sporting events like the Super Bowl are about much more than the game – they’re about the experience. And today the Super Bowl experience is more exciting and immersive than ever thanks to enabling technologies like Wi-Fi and 5G.”
Michelle McKenna, chief information officer at the National Football League, added: “Maximising the combined advancements in 5G and Wi-Fi, we plan to revolutionise what fans will experience at the stadium this year – from food and beverage, to ticketing, to the in-seat experience.
“These enabling technologies and new mobile applications will allow our fans to immerse themselves in next-gen game-day experiences like never before and we expect sky-high data consumption in Hard Rock Stadium.”
Super Bowl LIV also marks the natural culmination of a multi-phase renovation project for the home of the Miami Dolphins. While the vast majority of this work was completed in 2015 and 2016, a crew of around 6,000 people have been working since January 2 to adapt Hard Rock Stadium to become a Super Bowl venue.
Commenting on the major renovation project, Michael Day, principal and senior project manager at HOK, who led the project team, told Forbes that Hard Rock Stadium could be looked upon as a model in how to revamp a stadium to cater for modern audiences.
He said: “Some teams are hyper focused on premium; the Dolphins understood that there had to be a balance between catering to the premium fan and the general ticket holder and creating an equally memorably experience for both.
“Other stadiums, arenas and ballparks should pay attention to the phased approach that the Dolphins took. By working across three off-seasons, the team was able to continue playing in the venue throughout and fans had new amenities to look forward to each season. When taking a phased approach, you have to be incredibly strategic and disciplined to ensure the final phases is as successful as the first.”
Image: Hard Rock Stadium