Top Fan-Facing Wi-Fi Metrics from ’17-’18 NFL Season

Ryan Hall Manager, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 3 Mar 2021

Like the majority of professional and collegiate sports organizations today, the National Football League understands the value of including Wi-Fi as part of the in-stadium fan experience and their overarching technology strategy.  Not only does The League want to provide a consistent mobile experience for NFL fans from stadium to stadium, they understand that Wi-Fi solutions and network infrastructure is a key business asset.  So far, the results are clear: since implementing league-wide Wi-Fi standards in 2012 Wi-Fi Usage and Satisfaction at NFL Stadiums is on the Rise

Since 2012, Extreme Networks has played an important role delivering a positive in-stadium experience to NFL teams and their fans across the League.  As the Official Wi-Fi Solutions Provider of the NFL, Extreme has deployed high-density Wi-Fi in ten NFL stadiums and Wi-Fi analytics in an additional 12.

Delivering a quality, consistent Wi-Fi experience meets the demands of today’s connected fan but Wi-Fi analytics helps us understand how fans engage with the technology, and how engagement has evolved season to season.  Below, our end of season Wi-Fi Analytics Infographic explores mobile usage over Wi-Fi from NFL teams that have ExtremeAnalytics installed in-stadium.


Generally speaking, (and to one’s surprise), Wi-Fi usage among fans has grown steadily over the previous five NFL seasons: average number of unique Wi-Fi users has more than doubled since 2013 and average number of peak Wi-Fi users has grown 138% during this time.  These trends correlate and validate the positive feedback related to in-stadium Wi-Fi solutions from the NFL’s Voice of the Fan Survey

Increased Wi-Fi adoption and usage naturally equals an increase in the average amount of data transferred across the network as well.  For the ’17-’18 season that average is 3.26 TBs of data transferred, a healthy increase from the 1.9 TB average documented in the ’15-’16 NFL season, but in reality the ceiling for the amount of data transferred in a single NFL game is much, much higher.  Take the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium on Opening Night of the NFL season, which saw over 8 TBs of data transferred across the network.  Impressive metrics like these from more high-profile games are no longer anomalies and are likely a preview of where Wi-Fi usage trends are headed in the next few seasons, if not sooner.

Lastly, we outline a few application usage trends among NFL fans.  Now that streaming has emerged as a preferred method of consuming content, we see the apps fans prefer for streaming services – with iTunes and YouTube coming in at first and second, respectively.  To that point, from a social application perspective, Facebook continues to land at the top in terms of hit count, but Snapchat lands at the top in terms of bandwidth consumption across social apps.  Considering SnapChat users predominately post and consume video-based content, a medium that requires more network bandwidth, it’s understandable SnapChat consumes much more bandwidth than Facebook even if the former has a much lower hit-count.        

For more information about the NFL’s approach to Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi analytics, and the data usage trends they see year over year, watch our Post-Season Wi-Fi Analytics Webinar with the VP of IT at the NFL, and hear first-hand why these technologies are important to a quality fan experience.

For even more information, check out the resource below:

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