Imagine you’re at your favorite sports stadium watching your favorite team and you want to share the excitement of the moment with your friends who are not at the game, so you pull out your smartphone to post a status update on Facebook. However when you open the Facebook app, you discover there is no Internet connection. Chances are if you’ve ever gone to a professional sporting event, you’ve probably run into this frustrating scenario a few times. That is of course, unless you’re at Cricket Tasmania’s Blundstone Arena (or a host of other sports stadiums).
When Cricket Tasmania’s stadium was chosen to host three Cricket World Cup matches in March 2015, the wheels were set in motion for a redevelopment effort that would increase their capacity to 20,000 seats and allow them to be able to attract more world-class events. Needing a powerful wireless network as their foundation, Cricket Tasmania installed Extreme Networks’ robust, high-density stadium Wi-Fi solution at Blundstone Arena to accommodate the connected experience of fans, corporate guests, and 300+ media arena-wide.
Providing a reliable Wi-Fi connection to thousands of fans can be challenging, but more and more spectators are expecting a fully connected experience when they attend sporting events. Many teams and sporting organizations have already recognized the benefits that high-density Wi-Fi systems and a connected fan experience can bring to their brand, and have started adopting Wi-Fi systems in their venues.
Cricket Tasmania’s General Manager of Corporate Services, David Paynter, explains that live sports matches today must compete for audience share with various forms of media including broadcast, the Internet, television, and papers.
“We’ve really got to attract people to come and enjoy live sporting events. Get them away from the computer and high-definition TV to come here and drink in some atmosphere.”
Achieving that depends on a well-rounded value proposition, he notes.
“We need to complement the live experience with the creature comforts and technology that people expect and, today, that means connectivity.”
The explosion of social networking provides the ability for those visiting live events to amplify their experiences, enhancing the exposure of a match in progress and driving further interest among the general public in visiting a stadium. However, cellular networks typically struggle to independently support the significant bandwidth consumed in a high density environment, limiting the ability of mobile engagements in-venue, such as uploading tweets, Vines, videos, and Facebook updates etc.
Paynter explains that free Wi-Fi is almost becoming a standard when you go to a venue; it’s really about what’s in it for the user and customer. He says that the key change is the immediacy of the connectivity – to allow people to upload and share their experience, the atmosphere and the exhilaration of a live event while they are there and without any delay.
Chris Stingle, Cricket Tasmania’s Infrastructure Engineer says,
“The redundancy, scalability, and capability that we get from Extreme Networks have been second to none.”
As for the robustness of the Extreme Networks Wi-Fi network, Paynter says a contingent of over 300 media representatives accessing the service provided an unprecedented opportunity to assess its performance. “We needed a really robust solution designed to be specific to our needs and that’s what we got. We’re all about our fans and providing a great experience for them and all our stakeholders and connectivity is becoming an indispensable part of that. By choosing Extreme Networks what we’ve got is reliability, a good product and a good solution.”
Looking ahead, Paynter says the presence of a powerful Wi-Fi network opens up new possibilities for the hosts of live events. “People are going to start expecting content tailored to them. By using specific apps, we can tailor their experience in the stadium by combining the real world event with digital services such as replays delivered to the handset or the ability to order food and beverages, or merchandise; we can look at opportunities with sponsors and partners and examine how we might leverage new opportunities to delight our guests.”
To learn more about Cricket Tasmania’s Wi-Fi implementation, read the full case study here. With a proven and continued track record of successfully deploying high-density Wi-Fi solutions across sports and entertainment venues, Extreme Networks is keeping fans connected and happy. Learn more about our robust, high-density stadium Wi-Fi solutions here.