What a couple of weeks it’s been for sports fans!

In addition to the historic ending to the NFL’s Big Game, two of the four major professional sports leagues in the U.S. rolled out the red carpet for their annual All-Star Games in recent weeks – the NFL Pro Bowl took place in Orlando, FL, while the 2017 NHL All-Star Festivities invaded the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. While everyone seems to have a different (and strong!) opinion on the value of All-Star Games in professional sports, it’s generally a fantastic place for fans to check out some cutting-edge activations, snag a few autographs and see their favorite players in a more relaxed environment. I attended NHL All-Star Weekend and I have to admit this year was no different. Big shout out to the SJ Sharks Joe Palvelski for helping me find the perfect “Pavs” jersey for my daughter in the NHL team store.

The NHL Fan Fair in LA invited fans to test their hockey skills in the All-Star Skills Zone, and even utilized virtual reality (VR) technology to allow fans to experience what it’s like to be in the goal for an NHL game. VR, along with augmented reality, represents one of the next frontiers of technology for sports, and it will be interesting to see how the teams and leagues begin to integrate this more into game day and global fan experiences.

At the STAPLES Center in LA, the capability to implement new and exciting technologies such as VR stems from a flexible and reliable digital network architecture. All game day digital experiences, brand activations, communications and operations powered by a single, secure platform for innovation and growth. Our customers require this to meet the demands of fans and partners and we’re proud to provide that for them and hundreds of properties around the world.

Closer to home, it was recently announced that the San Jose Sharks – our neighbors here in the Bay Area – are improving the fan experience by implementing a fully integrated digital platform and our Connected Sports and Entertainment Solutions at the SAP Center. Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi is currently up and running throughout the venue, allowing fans access to faster, more reliable connectivity at all events at the Shark Tank. Cisco StadiumVision is also being rolled out at the arena, and when completed, will deliver synched, and dynamic content to fans on all displays throughout the arena. Cisco’s state-of-the-art technology will offer more engaging experiences to some of hockey’s greatest fans!

Day in day out, on the game’s biggest stages, digital is playing a leading role in enhancing the fan experience for our customers and partners around the world. From San Jose to Sydney and from LA to London, we’re excited to be on this journey together.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or @KenMartin08.