As lightning fast Wi-Fi in stadiums continues to grow in popularity, the Atlanta Braves announced that they have partnered with Comcast Business to install a multi-site network at the team's new SunTrust Park stadium.
The stadium, which is being built in Cumberland, a northwest suburb of Atlanta, will also offer high-speed connectivity to fans through 700 Wi-Fi beacons, which will be installed either overhead or within handrails in the ballpark. There will also be additional Wi-Fi beacons added to the parking structure to ensure coverage in all areas, for a total of approximately 1,000 beacons overall.
Comcast will provide two 100 Gbps ethernet lines at the Braves' new ballpark, which is scheduled to be completed next year. The network will connect the team's front offices at the new ballpark with the club's minor league teams in Rome and Gwinnet counties in Georgia, and in Danville, VA, as well as a Braves' sales office in downtown Atlanta.
"More than ever, we needed a communications infrastructure across multiple sites that would give us fast, reliable communications and more than enough capacity to accommodate a host of emerging technology applications," said Mike Plant, president of development for the Atlanta Braves. "This is exactly the sort of technology investment that can ultimately translate into a competitive advantage for us on the field, and a great experience for fans."
Security was another reason for the dedicated network.
"More and more, with network security being such an issue these days, it makes sense that teams like the Braves want to ensure that they have a dedicated and secured network that they're taking advantage of," said Joel Shadle, spokesperson for Comcast.
The tech-forward ballpark will be part of a multi-use project spanning 60 acres around the stadium. Comcast is providing Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the project, including retail stores, restaurants, a hotel, and an office building in the surrounding area.
"The Braves very much wanted to make technology the backbone of the fan experience. Gone are the days of fans going to ballparks and swearing about the food, now it's all about the Wi-Fi," Shadle said.
Fans expect the same Wi-Fi experience at stadiums that they get at home or at the office, and being able to post to social media matters to many fans.
"Today's fan is really focused on sharing memories real time. That's important to be able to give a fan a seamless experience. You've got so many social media vehicles like Snapchat and Twitter. My parents are in their mid-60's and they're on Facebook. It's not generation specific," Shadle said.
Luckily, at the new ballpark, that will be possible. The new connectivity means that "40,000 fans will be able to simultaneously post a selfie," Shadle said.
Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Comcast is installing two 100 Gbps ethernet lines at the Atlanta Braves new ballpark, set to open in 2017.
- The tech-forward ballpark will be part of a multi-use project spanning 60 acres around the stadium, and which will also connect local businesses and retailers.
- The stadium will also offer high-speed connectivity to fans through 700 Wi-Fi beacons, which will be installed either overhead or within handrails in the ballpark, enough to allow 40,000 fans to simultaneously post a selfie.
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Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.