It’s Saturday and you’re sitting in the lower balcony of the stadium to root for your favorite college football team. Sometime during the game, you find yourself standing on the bleachers screaming because you just witnessed the greatest play of your life. Your mind is racing and you had to let your friends and the sports community know what you just experienced. You try tweeting it, texting your friends, posting it on Facebook, anything – but nothing gets through. You find yourself in disappointment because you realized you didn’t get service in the stadium.
Worry not, the sports organizations and leagues understands your frustration. In fact, providing cellular access to the fans in the stadium has been the top priority. Stadiums across the nation have been partnering with cellular carriers to build a Distributed Antenna System (DAS). This system splits the transmitted power of antenna to make the cellular service more reliable. DAS are in a form of mobile cellular towers known as “cell on wheels”. AT&T and Verizon both have partnered with various stadiums across the nation over the past couple years.
Yet, cellular towers aren’t enough. Instead of “cell on wheels” that supports only a fraction of the sports attendees, WiFi is an alternative solution many stadiums have adopted. During the past Super Bowl in Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium), the WiFi network was built by Verizon Wireless. Other stadiums – like Boston Red Sox Stadium (Fenway Park), New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium), Stanford (Stanford Stadium) – have all got into the groove of the WiFi installation trend. These WiFi systems have dead spots and thus not perfect, but expect the best in the coming years.
The sports industry is working to improve fan experience in stadiums and WiFi will go a long way in making that happen. For now you can still use cool sports apps like Fantelope to check in and do cool things in stadium, but it will be easier with better WiFi for all. Let’s keep working to get WiFi in all stadiums across the country!