Manchester United and the National Hockey League (NHL) have signalled their intention to enhance the in-venue experience for their fans by agreeing deals with cloud-driven networking company, Extreme Networks.

United has appointed Extreme as its official Wi-Fi network solutions provider and Wi-Fi analytics provider under a multi-year deal.

The installation of Extreme Wi-Fi 6 access points at Old Trafford will begin later this year in an effort to transform the fan experience at the stadium with fast, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity and increase the club’s capability to deliver high performance, low latency and secure digital services.

Additionally, Extreme will help United access real-time network analytics to drive more personalised and informed decisions around both the fan experience and overall venue operations.

The deal comes after United last month detailed plans to upgrade Old Trafford, with fans of the Premier League club set to be consulted on the work.

Collette Roche, chief operating officer of Manchester United, said: “Our collaboration with Extreme Networks is an important step in our drive to enhance and modernise the in-stadium fan experience at Old Trafford, opening up exciting opportunities for the club to deliver next-generation digital services to fans on matchdays and to visitors throughout the year.

“Old Trafford is known as The Theatre of Dreams because of its 112-year history of triumphs and dramas. With experience working with other iconic venues around the world, Extreme will help us keep our stadium up to date while preserving the character that makes it unique. Providing fast, reliable Wi-Fi to fans, underpinned by cutting-edge analytics to optimise performance, is a crucial part of that process.”

NHL partnership

Meanwhile, North American ice hockey league the NHL has also agreed a deal naming Extreme its official Wi-Fi analytics provider and Wi-Fi partner in the US through 2026.

As part of the partnership, Extreme will deploy ExtremeAnalytics across select NHL arenas. Extreme Analytics delivers greater visibility into Wi-Fi network performance at cloud speed and will provide the NHL instant access to business intelligence and actionable insights regarding fan preferences, foot traffic flow, mobile sports betting trends, application usage and network security, as well as enhance certain elements of venue operations for NHL teams.

The NHL and Extreme also will work together to create more personalised, fluid and memorable gameday experiences.

Extreme said its Wi-Fi 6 access points can provide the high-quality, low latency connectivity required to power best-in-class, fan-centric experiences such as mobile ticketing, cash free concessions, video streaming and playback and in-arena apps.

Additionally, ExtremeCloud IQ will provide NHL IT teams with the ability to monitor and control Wi-Fi capacity and efficiency, device configuration and analytics via a single view into the health, performance and security of the network. Several teams in the NHL currently leverage Extreme’s wired and wireless solutions to power connectivity in the arena and on the ice.

Chris Golier, NHL vice-president of business development and technology partnerships, said: “The NHL is excited to partner with Extreme and its best of breed analytics and networking solutions to uncover insights into what’s happening in NHL arenas.

“The information they are able to provide on fan behaviours allows us to gather a deeper understanding of fan preferences and trends so we can deliver a more personalised and engaging in-arena fan experience.”

The latest deals come after Extreme signed partnerships with the likes of NASCAR, the NFL, Berlin’s Olympiastadion and MLB over the past year.

Super Bowl relationship continues

Extreme is also due to serve as the official Wi-Fi analytics provider for its ninth consecutive Super Bowl, when this year’s game takes place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on February 13.

ExtremeAnalytics is deployed at 29 of 30 NFL stadiums and enables the League to drive better decisions around both business and venue operations. SoFi is one of nine NFL stadiums using Extreme Venue Analytics 2.0, a custom solution designed for the NFL, which offers richer data sets and insights around app performance and usage, dwell time and location-based services.

Operations teams use this data for more efficient venue management such as identifying stadium bottlenecks, potential safety and security issues and visibility into popular concessions and fan gathering areas. Executive and event management teams can use these insights into fan activity to better customise experiences and pinpoint sponsorship opportunities.

Image: Extreme Networks