How a Powerful Network is Breathing New Life into Collegiate Athletics


The passion and excitement of live sporting events are unparalleled. The crowd's roar and the thrill of the match come together to create an unforgettable experience. But as technology advances, fans demand more from their stadium experience. They want to be connected, engaged, and fully immersed in the game. A reliable Wi-Fi network and analytics solutions become crucial to keep pace with the changing fans' needs. Still, the impact of a robust network has an effect that goes beyond the experience itself.

The Wi-Fi network breathes new life into old venues by creating a new era of connectivity and engagement. Extreme Networks learned from its experience being the official technology partner of the NFLMLBNHL and NASCAR, among other sports brands and implemented this knowledge in the collegiate environment. The connection between fans, athletes and the game is stronger than ever before because of the power of one strategic asset: A powerful network that is changing the game for sports and venues all over the world.

The University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Also known as "The Swamp," implemented a full network installation in 2019, which allowed them to experience a full season and learn how fans were using the Wi-Fi and where they could improve it. However, in 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they were only allowed a limited number of attendees, making it difficult to identify pain points in their system. Nonetheless, they were able to make the jump to mobile ticketing, which was a significant change for their boosters, alumni, and older fans who prefer traditional paper tickets.

The Benefits of Having a Powerful Network

1. Operating Efficiently

The Wi-Fi network has also brought new features to the Gators' back-of-house operations, such as connecting a new point-of-sale system for concession stands and allowing better digital engagement with fans. The addition of Wi-Fi has given Ben Hill Griffin Stadium a new lease on life, providing the potential to augment the old and usher in a new era of connectivity and engagement for fans and athletes alike. In a world where mobile ordering, mobile tickets, and cashless venues are becoming the norm, a powerful network is not a luxury but a strategic asset for collegiate athletics.

2. Driving Top Line Revenue

From the moment the gates opened until the final whistle, the stadium buzzed with energy. A staggering 13.6 terabytes of data was transferred during the game, setting a record and surpassing the previous high of 11.8 terabytes. The stadium operation team noted that this trend of increased usage has been growing steadily. Highlighting the need to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate future growth by improving bandwidth and throughput. It's clear for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium the value of this data. Especially for the college demographic hungry for every bit of information, knowing that every game day is an opportunity to learn and grow is exciting. The venue operation team is committed to staying at the forefront of innovation with the help of technology.

3. Reducing Risk

The venue operation team is actively experimenting with walkable concession areas to ensure quick access for fans. Furthermore, the team prioritizes security enhancements, promotes fan engagement, and efficiently moves people around the stadium.

Enhancing the Fan Experience

Improving the concession experience for fans and reducing wait times is an ongoing process. With the help of a converged network. The University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium can ensure quick and efficient processing during games.

“For us, Wi-Fi is not just a luxury, it's a necessity. We've partnered with Extreme Networks to create a winning experience at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. We know that not having Wi-Fi in our stadium takes something away from our fans, and that's simply unacceptable.” - Matt Vincent, Assistant Athletics IT Director, University of Florida.

[embed][/embed] In a world where technology is advancing faster than ever, a strong network is a necessity. Fans' needs are evolving, and venues must keep up or risk falling behind. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium's story is a testament to the power of innovation and the transformative impact it can have. Sports venues across the globe can use technology to take their fan engagement to the next level, from immersive virtual reality experiences to uncovering new revenue opportunities. The era of sports is changing. With a robust network, the potential to create unforgettable moments and experiences is limitless. Delivering new ways to improve game day for fans while unlocking better business outcomes for your organization.

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About the Author
Andrea Quintero
Global Channel Marketing Specialist

Andrea is a Global Channel Marketing and Programs Specialist.

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