Gameday in the NFL: The Fan Experience

Erin Pacheco Co-Op, Customer Success Marketing Published 28 Nov 2018

Delivering the ultimate fan experience is a constant challenge at sporting events. Team’s organizations are tasked with providing new personalized engagements to form a long-lasting relationship with their fans. The idea is that the strong relationship will keep fans coming back for more.

Components of a Fan Experience: The Senses

The fan experience connects spectators to all aspects of a stadium to alter their sense of reality. A stadium provides a sensory experience like no other. Innovative technologies combined with the lights, sounds, crowds, and more, creates a holistic experience that brings fans back for more. This experience can also include subtle marketing messages to encourage further consumer engagement. Embodied cognition is the theory that experiences and sensory engagement affect the decisions made by consumers. With that, stadiums have the opportunity to amplify the fan experience.

Once senses are engaged, the fan experience becomes more memorable. Fans can create an experience unique to themselves. The underlying task for the sports industry is to create a stadium atmosphere that cannot be replicated at home . The technologies and services available to fans are the forces that enhance the sensory experience.

The five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste, are all engaged the minute a fan steps foot into the stadium. The available concessions, seating arrangements, sounds, environment, and scoreboard tie the experience together. The available entertainment provided by the stadium is a large piece of the fan engagement puzzle, and technological engagement is supported with a  Wi-Fi network.

How Network Solutions Support the NFL Fan-Engagement Experience

Whether sports or live entertainment, the live action in the stadium is still the focal point, but a fan’s ability to use their personal devices is now an important part of this experience. Today’s sports and public venues have undergone a digital transformation like no other as the number of portable devices is increasing rapidly. Of course, none of these technologies would function without the support of cellular data or a Wi-Fi network.

Extreme Networks provides a purpose-built solution for public venues, and an opportunity for teams/organizations to create a ‘connected experience. Our customer-driven networking philosophy drives our desire to create long-lasting connections with customers, partners, and employees. As the Official Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Analytics Provider of the NFL, Extreme’s  technologies support the demands of a high-density venue, where uploading and downloading  occurs in a condensed space by thousands of connected users. In a saturated area like an NFL stadium, it is crucial to have a secure and reliable network for all.

Enabling an Enhanced Fan Experience at NFL Stadiums

Of the 31 NFL stadiums, Extreme has networking solutions deployed in 28:  11 stadiums leverage Extreme’s Wi-Fi solution and 17 stadiums use Extreme Wi-Fi analytics engine. One specific example of how Extreme partners with an NFL team to enhance the fan experiences is at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. At every Patriots home game, Extreme sends a group of twenty certified Wi-Fi Coaches to Foxboro, MA. Wi-Fi Coaches are there to support the fan experience by educating fans on the existence and availability of the complimentary Wi-Fi network available for use in addition to the Patriots Gameday mobile app.

I was able to participate as a Wi-Fi Coach during the New England Patriots home game on September 30th against the Miami Dolphins. At the game, our group surveyed fans to determine the importance of a complimentary, strong, and reliable Wi-Fi connection. After talking with fans, we discovered that they strongly value complimentary access to Wi-Fi. Access allows them to connect to their various mobile apps during the game and remain entertained during event intermissions. During intermissions, the upload and download capacity sky rockets at venues like Gillette Stadium. Overall, Extreme believes this trend stands for all stadiums and that the market segment of socially engaged fans thrives in an environment that provides Wi-Fi connectivity.

For more information on how Extreme can enhance the fan experience please visit:

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