Preparing for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Wi-Fi Analytics


Talladega Superspeedway is more than just a racetrack; home to many major events, the track turns into its own city, accommodating up to 80,000 fans. Beyond the thrill of high-speed racing, Talladega offers a variety of immersive experiences and amenities, from camping to dining, among other activities spread throughout the venue.

Central to this immersive experience is Talladega's robust Wi-Fi infrastructure, boasting over 700 access points strategically positioned to cater to the digital needs of fans and operational requirements alike. This advanced network facilitates seamless connectivity, enabling fans to engage with a variety of digital offerings such as live commentary, interactive activities, virtual gaming, and social media. During major events, like the upcoming Geico 500, which is known for adrenaline-pumping action and thrilling wrecks, fans can capture every moment digitally and share it in real-time through Wi-Fi 6 connectivity


Unique Fan Experiences

As fan expectations soar for sports venues, NASCAR establishments face a unique set of challenges in delivering seamless connectivity. The sheer size of these venues and the often rural location, coupled with high bandwidth demands, present obstacles to providing comprehensive wireless coverage. NASCAR recognized the importance of a robust wireless infrastructure capable of extending connectivity to every nook and cranny of the venue, from the campsites all the way to the action-packed track.

In-venue Wi-Fi Has Become a Necessity

Fans today don't just want connectivity; they expect it. Real-time engagement is an essential piece of enjoying a live sporting event now. Fans crave immediate access to the latest stats, in-car video feeds, and conversations between racers and their crews. This necessitates the seamless transfer of data across various platforms, including sports betting apps, NASCAR event day apps, and other sporting applications, ensuring fans remain fully immersed in the action.

To meet these demands, NASCAR has harnessed the power of the NASCAR Track app, serving as a gateway to real-time updates and information on experiences throughout the venue. Through this platform, fans can tune into live scanner feeds, watch dash cam footage of their favorite racers, and explore different camera angles to enrich their viewing experience even when the action is not directly in front of them.

NASCAR has a clear commitment to innovation in enhancing fan experiences. From enabling easier in-venue communication to refining services in the app, NASCAR’s technology teams are constantly striving to push the boundaries of fan experience to ensure that every fan’s journey is as immersive and memorable as possible.

We have the backbone of the strong connectivity there; that isn't a constraint. Now we can think bolder about what we want to do since we have a solid foundation.
Wyatt Hicks
VP Digital, NASCAR

Deploying a Wi-Fi Network that can Support Fan Engagement

Stadium Wi-Fi deployments often pose unique challenges, and NASCAR venues are no exception. Unlike conventional arenas where APs can be mounted under the seats for unobstructed connectivity, NASCAR stadiums have space under the seats for fans to bring in coolers, necessitating some creative thinking on where else APs can go. But it wasn't just under-seat APs that were a challenge; overhead APs needed to be placed in just the right spots so as not to obstruct the view of fans or cameras.

Beyond the physical placement challenges, ensuring strong connectivity throughout a venue as expansive and as heavy in bandwidth requirements as a venue like Talladega Superspeedway can present another set of challenges. With the capacity to host hundreds of thousands of spectators, facilitate venue operations, and keep racers and crews connected to real-time information, the deployment team had to be meticulous and strategize how to place and deploy APs to meet the diverse connectivity needs of all stakeholders.

Ultimately, NASCAR was able to successfully navigate these challenges by deploying Wi-Fi 6 APs that were strategically placed throughout the venue to ensure robust connectivity to the multifaceted demands of the venue. With this technology in place, fans, racers, and venue personnel alike can seamlessly access the array of digital offerings and technologies, enhancing the overall experience at NASCAR events.

Wi-Fi Analytics

Wi-Fi solutions offer venues a valuable avenue for gaining deeper insights into their fan base. While NASCAR typically receives limited information about attendees through their initial ticket purchases, as many order for a group, making it difficult to know who else is with them, the moment fans connect to the venue’s network a wealth of data becomes available. This data enables venue teams to better understand individual fan profiles, interests, and preferences, empowering them to personalize and enhance the overall fan experience. By leveraging Wi-Fi analytics, NASCAR venues can refine their offerings, delivering tailored experiences that resonate with each fan on a meaningful level.

Connectivity is just table stakes today. Venues need that next-level insight into what is happening within their network to inform them on how to create the best fan experience.
Kevin Wittnebert
Director of Venues, Sports, and Entertainment, Extreme Networks

What Data Can Wi-Fi Provide?

The implementation of ExtremeAnalytics equips NASCAR with invaluable insights into fan behavior, offering a detailed breakdown of the specific apps used by attendees. This comprehensive analysis extends to social media, streaming, gambling apps, web, and even dating apps and beyond, providing venue teams with an understanding of their audience. By delving into app usage patterns, NASCAR venues such as Talladega can tailor experiences to cater to diverse preferences of fans, fostering deeper engagement and satisfaction.

ExtremeAnalytics enables venue teams to monitor peak bandwidth use, both overall and within specific app categories, offering valuable insight into moments that captivate fans. This granular understanding allows venue teams to synchronize major events with bandwidth spikes. Through data analysis, NASCAR can identify trends; for example, they have noticed a frequent social media spike during pre-race flyovers. 

Traditional sports are Team A vs Team B. At a home game, say, depending on what happens on the field, about 60% of the fans are happy, and 40% of the fans are mad, or vice versa. In NASCAR, often fans are looking at driver one, and they are really hyper-interested in that one driver and trying to figure out how they can get the most data for driver one versus the other 30 or so on the track.
Kevin Wittnebert
Director of Venues, Sports, and Entertainment, Extreme Networks 

Wi-Fi and Analytics from an Operational Perspective

Wi-Fi technology and Wi-Fi analytics offer more than just insights into fan engagement; they serve as invaluable tools for optimizing venue operations. By harnessing Wi-Fi connectivity, venue teams gain access to critical data that informs decision-making and ensures the smooth functioning of various aspects of the venue.

From powering fan activations to informing resource allocation and facilitating pop-up concession and merchandise stands, Wi-Fi plays a central role in enhancing the overall fan experience. Through Wi-Fi analytics, venue teams can analyze location data to understand fan movement patterns, identify areas prone to congestion, and inform resource allocation accordingly to alleviate traffic flow issues.

The Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

With strong connections and a data-backed strategy, the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway is set to be a successful event filled with unique and immersive fan experiences. Through Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi analytics, Talladega Superspeedway has laid the groundwork for an event that seamlessly integrates cutting-edge technology with the excitement of race day. From real-time updates and interactive experiences to personalized offerings and streamlined operations, fans can anticipate an exciting day at the racetrack! 

About the Author
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Cammy Perry
Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Cammy is a Content Marketing Specialist at Extreme Networks, leveraging her expertise to craft thought leadership and engaging content.

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