Enhancing the Big Game: The Transformation of Stadium Connectivity and The Fan Experience
The fanfare of the Super Bowl is no longer confined to the dazzling performances and the on-field clash of football titans; it’s now as much about the high-tech spectacle that surrounds this mega event. For fans at home and those lucky enough to witness the action live at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the seamless integration of cutting-edge technology is ensuring an unparalleled viewing experience.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how telecom giants like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are prepping their networks to handle the onslaught of social media updates, live streams, and coach-to-coach communications expected during Super Bowl LVIII. Plus, we’ll delve into how technology is shaping the future of fan experiences both onsite and beyond the stands.
The Tech-Driven Transformation of Live Sports Events
In a world where digital connectivity is as essential as the air we breathe, fans are no longer content with merely watching a game. They demand an immersive experience that puts them at the heart of the action, no matter where they are. These expectations are pushing stadiums to provide connection capabilities previously unfathomable.
Breaking New Grounds in Network Performance
Allegiant Stadium, the breathtaking venue hosting this year’s Super Bowl, isn’t just architecturally stunning—it’s a technological powerhouse. With its own Wi-Fi network and the enhanced efforts of leading telecom providers, the stadium is prepared to tackle the immense data demands of tens of thousands of fans.
T-Mobile leads the charge by enhancing 5G coverage and capacity, enabling neck-breaking speeds up to 1.2 Gbps. This enhancement is not just limited to the insides of the stadium but spills over into the surrounding Las Vegas Strip area, ensuring that fans stay connected every step of the way.
Private Wireless Networks: A Game-Changer for Coaches
The strategic partnership between Verizon and the NFL has birthed a revolution in coach communications. By deploying a private wireless solution called “coach-to-coach,” Verizon has converted the traditional radio helmets into high-tech communications tools that eliminate delays and improve decision-making. It’s a milestone deployment, marking the first instance of such technology being used at the Super Bowl—and it’s game-changing, literally.
Robotics and Drones: Enhancing the Viewing Experience
More than 24 live robotic cameras will be mounted inside the stadium and throughout the stadium. Using 5G for broadcast applications – wireless broadcast cameras utilize network slicing to ensure they get the uplink they need.
Aside from drone views from CBS cameras, don’t even think about flying your drone near the Super Bowl or be ready to face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The FAA has imposed temporary flight restrictions over Las Vegas prohibiting all drone flights from within a 30-mile radius of Allegiant Stadium, and essentially the entire Las Vegas metropolitan area.
The 5G Experience: Beyond Just Connectivity
Verizon’s 5G rollout in Allegiant Stadium transcends traditional cellular services. It’s a robust system that covers not just the insides of the stadium but also extends to the NFL Experience in the parking lot.
This move signifies a departure from overwhelming Wi-Fi networks to serving fans directly through cellular connectivity, with over 250 mmWave 5G antennas and an extensive C-band spectrum deployment as shown above.
Innovation on the Sidelines
This year, 5G technology brings yet another layer of sophistication. Coaches and referees now have access to tablets and communications powered by a private 5G network, making strategic communications and decision making faster and more efficient.
The face of NFL sidelines has been drastically altered with the introduction of technology like Microsoft’s Surface tablets. These rugged devices withstand harsh weather and provide instant access to high-resolution play images, allowing for agile strategy adjustments right on the field.
Interactive Super Bowl Experiences
The NFL, in collaboration with Toyota, has also created an interactive Super Bowl experience at the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center in Vegas. The 700,000-square-foot space has been transformed into a kind of NFL-themed theme park.
There will be a virtual reality Super Bowl experience, hosted by Meta, that will feature interactive games and Super Bowl trivia for fans, as well as a platform for fans to connect and share predictions for the big day.
Snickers, a Mars company, is also launching a Super Bowl-themed AR experience to the Apple Vision Pro headset. Beginning on Feb. 11, fans who own an Apple Vision Pro headset can step into the virtual experience, which is tied to the brand’s wider Rookie Mistake campaign. Fans can practice kicking field goals and visit ‘football oracle” T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Viewers can also access the experience on their smartphones and can submit embarrassing moments for the chance to win an at-home football viewing set-up.
Since this year’s Super Bowl will be in Vegas, for fans looking to place their bets, high-performing networks will be a major requirement. Online betting is a use case where latency and throughput restrict online gambling, but 5G is expected to solve and enable low latency and high network performance for the stadium experience.
The Social Fabric of Sports
Keeping fans connected isn’t just about viewing pleasure. It’s about empowerment and engagement. Network installations facilitate spontaneous social media shares, such as videos with the bustling stadium in the backdrop, further blending the digital and physical worlds.
A New Era of Stadium Wi-Fi Performance
The advancements in network connectivity in stadiums have ushered in a new era where fans’ expectations for seamless digital experiences are not only met but surpassed. From sharing updates on social feeds to participating in immersive digital interactions, these enhancements are redefining what it means to be a part of the world’s greatest sporting events.
This year’s Super Bowl is a testament to the strides we’ve made in tech-driven fan experiences. With the support of telecom industries, next-gen connectivity isn’t a vision of the future—it’s the standard of today. So as we gear up to enjoy the biggest game of the year, let’s also appreciate the unseen digital architecture that’s turning live sports into comprehensive, connected experiences.
Whether you’re a sports tech aficionado, an event venue planner, or simply a fan eager for an enriched viewing experience, the evolution underway is nothing short of thrilling. As we reflect on the advancements in stadium Wi-Fi performance, network connectivity, and enhanced fan experiences, one thing is clear: The game just got bigger, and so did our expectations.
eSIM Technology is Enabling Enhanced Fan Experiences at Smart Stadiums
Find out how eSIM from TEAL overcomes similar challenges faced by Allegiant Stadium at this year’s Super Bowl. Boingo Wireless partnered with Teal to utilize its consumer eSIM for Private Networks at Petco Park. Teal’s patented SM-DP+ technology is the first solution to market offering a Network-Identity-as-a-Service (CaaS) model, empowering network operators like Boingo to unlock the full value of digital credentialing on eSIM-enabled devices, including smartphones, wearables, laptops, and tablets.
As highlighted in Boingo’s recent case study, “Boingo provides closed, dedicated bandwidth to run operational traffic separate from public Wi-Fi and cellular networks, in which it connects more devices, reduces congestion, and eliminates outages.” The solution features built-in layers of security ideal for sensitive data transfer, such as mobile payments, and offers fast, low latency coverage.
Boingo implemented the new private cellular network in less than one month, connecting staff iPads and POS devices that handle mobile food, beverage, and merchandise transactions. Since its launch, Petco Park has generated more sales from concessions and merchandise by making the mobile payment process completely frictionless, handling customer transactions faster and increasing the volume of goods sold.