Venue News: MetLife Stadium Boosts WiFi, DAS in Preparation for Super Bowl

Compiled Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

While the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will be vying for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the wireless carriers will be battling for the bragging rights of network superiority during one of the more high-profile events of the year. It doesn’t take much — maybe a selfie or Instagram doesn’t go through — before one’s reputation for service gets sullied. Verizon began deploying the improvements to its network in the stadium 18 months ago, completing the equipment installation in October and spending the rest of the time tweaking and optimizing the coverage, writes CNET. The distributed antenna system, which is a mini network of antennas designed to boost coverage in crowded venues such as stadiums or malls, includes 552 antennas that are covertly hidden throughout the facility as stadium lights or under catwalks. The result: a venue that can handle four times the amount of traffic as a year ago, according to Michelle White, the head of network operations and engineering in the New York metropolitan region for Verizon Wireless…

…According to Mobile Sports Report, the in-stadium WiFi network at MetLife Stadium, also built by Verizon, is free and open to customers of all carriers, or basically anyone with a device that has a WiFi chip. But Verizon, like big competitor AT&T, has been beefing up its DAS installations significantly because most people try cellular first, even at stadiums, before instructing their phones to find a Wi-Fi network. AT&T, to its credit, usually does deliver a wireless scorecard quickly after big events…

…Entering a big league ballpark will be a bit like going through an airport by 2015. Major League Baseball has told its 30 teams they must implement security screening for fans by then, either with hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers. The Seattle Mariners announced Tuesday that fans entering Safeco Field will have to walk through metal detectors starting with this year’s opener. Boston, the New York Mets, Oakland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco were among the teams that experimented with screening at times last year. Security gained more intense focus after three people were killed and more than 260 wounded in when two bombs were set off at the Boston Marathon finish line…

…Making a call, sending a text, and accessing the Internet at Pinnacle Bank Arena are now far easier and more reliable than they have been in the building’s first four months of operation. In late December, a distributed antenna system, or DAS, that enhances voice and data coverage in the arena was switched on. The system was supposed to be operational when the arena opened in September. But equipment wasn’t available then, and there was a lengthy negotiation process with Verizon Wireless to be the DAS carrier. A late November target date was set for the system to become operational, but installation difficulties delayed it until late December…

…In an era where billions of dollars are being spent each year to build shiny stadiums and glitzy arenas, one of the biggest trends in sports is to take games to unexpected places. Hockey teams are playing outdoors in football and baseball stadiums. College football teams are playing bowl games in baseball stadiums. NFL teams are playing games in soccer stadiums each year in London. And college basketball teams have taken their sport to airport hangars and aircraft carriers — yes, aircraft carriers. Television ratings have driven the movement, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette…

…FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke is giving Brazilian organizers only a few more weeks to show that the stadium in Curitiba will be ready in time for the World Cup. Valcke showed real concern about the pace of construction at the Arena da Baixada after visiting the southern city on Tuesday, saying that work there is more than late. He said he believes the stadium will make it, but declined to guarantee it will be part of the tournament that begins in June. Valcke said local organizers have until Feb. 18 to demonstrate that the work can be completed in time.

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters


The Latest in Sports Video Production & Technology
in Your Inbox for FREE

Daily Email Newsletters Monday - Friday