Just over one week ago, more people watched Super Bowl XLVI on television than any other time in history – 111.3 million people, a staggering number. In addition, more than 2.1 million unique visitors saw the game streamed live online, another first. The experience for fans at home is incredibly powerful with HD, live streaming, and fast access to the Internet.
However, while so many of us were tuned in at home, another first was taking place inside Lucas Oil Stadium – all fans, regardless of their service provider, were able to use their smartphones and devices to connect to a free Wi-Fi network. This provided them with a significantly faster option to surf the web, use apps and share photos and video “live” with friends and family versus doing so post-game.
Without Cisco’s Connected Stadium Wi-Fi network from Verizon Wireless in place, this would not have been possible as more often than not fans in dense stadium environments have experienced spotty service, with no access to the Internet, and they are left frustrated in their inability to connect. Cellular networks were never designed to be reliable for calls, text and data when 70,000 people attempt to use their devices in the same spot for the same reasons.
A Tipping Point
The NFL is a leading indicator of change. It is at the forefront of delivering the best in entertainment experiences for fans, most specifically at the Super Bowl, one of the biggest sporting events in the world. With the NFL recognizing that its fans desired to have their smartphones work everywhere at Lucas Oil Stadium, they made a Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi network from Verizon Wireless available to them. It made access fast, reliable and delivered fun ways to connect, engage and share.
Most importantly it shows that this is headed mainstream, and a tipping point has been reached. Just as people walk into an airport today and expect to be connected to a Wi-Fi network, so fans in stadiums around the world are beginning to look for and demand the same thing.
Fans in Kansas City have already been reaping the benefits of the powerful Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi platform. At Livestrong Sporting Park this last season tens of thousands of fans checked in, played trivia, used apps and connected with their favorite team, Sporting KC, from their seats.
Take a look here at a short video that showcases the enthusiasm fans have about the technology.
It doesn’t stop there. Right now Real Madrid in Spain is implementing this same solution at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for use in the 2012 season. Other major marquee sports and entertainment venues around the world are making similar investments that will allow them to engage fans in completely new ways.
Super Bowl XLVI was an incredible game. And for the first time ever, a more connected, engaged and rewarding experience for fans in attendance. The beauty is that this is going to be the case around the world very soon.
For more information in Cisco’s leading Technology solutions in the Sports and Entertainment Industry visit www.cisco.com/go/sports.