September 4, 2015

Former co-CEO files counterclaims against Sporting Innovations, denies ‘conspiracy’

Asim Pasha

Asim Pasha

The second shoe has dropped in the lawsuit filed by Kansas City’s Sporting Innovations against its former co-CEO Asim Pasha, with Pasha filing counterclaims denying the company’s charges against him while also alleging that he was denied promised ownership stakes in the company for providing the technology behind its stadium-application business.

In case you missed the first episode, that came in June when Sporting Innovations fired its former co-CEO, alleging basically that he used company resources, trade secrets and relationships in a plot to build a competing entity. In his first response to those claims, Pasha denied the company’s allegations and replied with some legal fire of his own, claiming basically that Sporting Innovations’ other co-CEO, Robb Heineman, was jealous of Pasha’s public recognition for Sporting Innovations’ stadium app work, and refused to provide legal documents that would confirm Pasha’s promised ownership stake in the company.

While the Sporting Innovations lawsuit sought $75,000 in retribution from Pasha, Pasha’s counterclaims want his ownership stake — which is either 20 percent or more — confirmed, while having himself cleared of all the conspiracy charges, which his legal filing claims were trumped up mainly to try to get him to give up his ownership stake in the company and a key patent. Pasha’s filing also seeks “actual and punitive damages” for harm caused to Pasha and his son Zain by the lawsuit.

As Pasha’s filing claims:

Sporting Innovations’ use of legal process is not for the purpose of recovering on the claims stated in the Complaint, but for the illegal, improper and perverted purpose of intimidating and coercing Asim into surrendering his 20% interest in Sporting Innovations, along with his interest in U.S. Patent Application No. 13/789,372.

The next planned step in the proceedings, according to Pasha’s lawyers, is a hearing scheduled for Sept. 2, to talk about the schedule for the case going forward. Sporting Innovations refused to comment on the case. The lawsuit and the counterclaims have been filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western District.

Will fallout cripple Sporting Innovations?

There’s lots of conflicting drama in the two legal sides of this case, and eventually we are guessing a judge or jury will hear all the details. As we said before, we’re not lawyers, but it seems from reading through Pasha’s filings that he has documented answers to refute many of the company’s original claims, including what looks like a personal note from Heineman under which the claimed intent was to transfer more of an ownership stake to Pasha.

However the case ends up, what seems to be clear is that Sporting Innovations is going to have a tough time drumming up new business in the meantime. Sporting Innovations was a business that grew out of technology developments for the Sporting KC professional soccer team and its home stadium, which was one of the first to have full fan-facing Wi-Fi and a specialized fan app. But the company’s vision to provide similar technology to other teams and stadiums may have hit a roadblock with the legal entanglements.

As we already reported, the company’s deal to provide a stadium app for the Pac-12 is dead, and one of the other clients still highlighted on the Sporting Innovations website, the Tampa Bay Lightning, said they are currently moving to a different app platform after using Sporting Innovations technology for their app through last season.

All-Star Wi-Fi: Cincinnati crowds used 4.3 TB over All-Star Game activities

Fans at All-Star Game taking pictures of Pete Rose. Photo: Screenshot courtesy Fox Sports/Cincinnati Reds

Fans at All-Star Game taking pictures of Pete Rose. Photo: Screenshot courtesy Fox Sports/Cincinnati Reds

Like a player added to the roster just before game time, the new Wi-Fi network at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati handled some all-star traffic levels, carrying a total of 4.3 terabytes of data over the three separate events that made up Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities earlier this week, according to IT execs at the ballpark.

Though it only came online a couple weeks before the big event, the GABP Wi-Fi network held up admirably for the big game, carrying 2.36 TB during Tuesday night’s main event, according to Brian Keys, vice president of technology for the Cincinnati Reds. Almost another 2 TB was recorded during the ancillary events, the futures game and the Home Run Derby, proving once again that “big event” crowds like their Wi-Fi and are adept and finding and using in-stadium wireless networks. We don’t have DAS stats yet but it’s an easy guess that all four DAS deployments inside the stadium also carried significant traffic loads during the All-Star activities.

In a phone interview Friday, Keys said that the peak concurrent Wi-Fi user number hit 9,700 at one point during the actual All-Star Game, with a total of 12,000 unique Wi-Fi connections over all of Tuesday night. And even though the game attracts a national audience, the hometown fans provided the biggest traffic surges during Cincinnati Reds-specific moments — like at the end of Monday’s Home Run Derby when local hero Todd Frazier won in dramatic fashion, and when former Reds star Pete Rose had a brief pre-game introduction.

“Especially when Todd [Frazier] got up to bat, that really tested the limits of our [bandwidth] pipe,” Keys said. The Rose introduction, he said, put similar stress on the 576 Wi-Fi access points, but with Keys’ staff as well as a special group from Wi-Fi gear provider Cisco on hand to help out, the new network performed in big-league fashion, Keys said.

During construction, the IT team had to overcome one structural hurdle, namely the lack of any railings in the lower bowl to mount Wi-Fi APs on. Keys said some of that was solved by putting APs at the bottom of seating rows pointing up, and using overhang space for other antenna mounts. The Great American Ball Park did not use any under-seat APs, Keys said.

Pete Rose. Photo: Screen shot of Fox Sports broadcast courtesy of Cincinnati Reds.

Pete Rose. Photo: Screen shot of Fox Sports broadcast courtesy of Cincinnati Reds.

Though the ballpark had explored putting Wi-Fi in last season, the initial deployment was stalled last summer due to what Keys called contract issues. But with the All-Star game coming this season, the park re-started its Wi-Fi deployment, which was part of the Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) plan to bring Wi-Fi to all parks for this season. Keys said the new network deployment began in March and finished up on June 26, giving his team a few home dates to kick the tires and tune it up quickly for its big event.

Going forward, Keys said the four-DAS deployment — with four sets of antennas and four different headends — will be consolidated into a single, neutral host DAS operation. Keys is also looking forward to adding features enabled by the Wi-Fi network, like expanded food ordering and greater use of beacon technology. “It’ll be great to add more things to improve the fan experience,” he said.

MLB Stadium Tech and Wi-Fi Reports — AL Central

Editor’s note: The following team-by-team capsule reports of MLB stadium technology deployments are an excerpt from our most recent Stadium Tech Report, THE BASEBALL (And Soccer!) ISSUE. To get all the capsules in one place as well as our featured reports, interviews and analysis, download your free copy of the full report today.

AL Central

Reporting by Paul Kapustka

Kauffman Stadium during 2014 World Series

Kauffman Stadium during 2014 World Series

Kansas City Royals
Kauffman Stadium
Seating Capacity: 37,903
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes (under construction)

Venerable Kauffman Stadium turned on its MLBAM-powered Wi-Fi network just in time for the Royals’ historic run to the World Series last year, where it was found and enjoyed by true blue fans even without any promotion. A new four-carrier neutral DAS is under construction for 2015.

Minnesota Twins
Target Field
Seating Capacity: 39,504
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

Host of the 2014 All-Star Game, Twins fans can now enjoy the Wi-Fi and DAS networks installed last year. MLBAM helped install the Wi-Fi network, while the DAS includes gear and expertise from InSite Wireless and TE Connectivity.

Chicago White Sox
U.S. Cellular Field
Seating Capacity: 40,615
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

One of the losers in the MLBAM program to bring Wi-Fi to all stadiums was Boingo Wireless, the previous provider of Wi-Fi at U.S. Cellular Field. For 2015, a MLBAM network will be in place with 550 new APs from MLBAM equipment provider Cisco.

Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park
Seating Capacity: 41,681
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes (under construction)

Tigers fans are yet another group who have in-park Wi-Fi this season courtesy of MLB, with 600 APs installed for the 2015 season. A full-featured DAS is currently under construction, and is expected to be operational by mid-season with all four major wireless carriers participating.

Cleveland Indians
Progressive Field
Seating Capacity: 43,545
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

Recognized as one of baseball’s most Twitter-friendly teams, the Cleveland Indians have stepped up their game with not one but two social media areas inside the stadium that will take advantage of the Verizon-powered Wi-Fi. Formerly known as the Social Suite, the Indians now have #Tribelive, which will have its own seating section inside a right-field bar; Cleveland will also have a Family Social Suite, in a more kid-friendly environment.

MLB Stadium Tech Reports — AL West

Editor’s note: The following team-by-team capsule reports of MLB stadium technology deployments are an excerpt from our most recent Stadium Tech Report, THE BASEBALL (And Soccer!) ISSUE. To get all the capsules in one place as well as our featured reports, interviews and analysis, download your free copy of the full report today.

AL West

Reporting by Paul Kapustka

The iconic sign outside the "Big A," aka Angels Stadium of Anaheim. Credit Terry Sweeney, MSR

The iconic sign outside the “Big A,” aka Angels Stadium of Anaheim. Credit Terry Sweeney, MSR

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Seating Capacity: 45,050
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

Angel Stadium is now fully wired for Wi-Fi and DAS, courtesy of integrator 5 Bars, which used Wi-Fi gear from Ruckus Wireless and DAS gear from JMA Wireless.

Houston Astros
Minute Maid Park
Seating Capacity: 40,963
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

The Houston Astros were one of the beneficiaries of MLB’s program to bring updated Wi-Fi to all stadiums. The new network was scheduled to be live for the 2015 season.

Seattle Mariners
Safeco Field
Seating Capacity: 47,476
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

Finally, geeks of all stripes in Seattle can stay connected while at Safeco, thanks to a new Wi-Fi network with 560 access points that is scheduled to be live for the 2015 season. New LED lighting for the field should make it easier to watch games through the rain and mist.

Oakland A’s
O.co Coliseum
Seating Capacity: 35,067
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

With Wi-Fi already in place the Oakland A’s spent $10 million in the offseason to upgrade the video boards in aging O.co Coliseum. The two new HD Daktronics screens, 36 feet high and 145 feet wide, were joined by new ribbon LED boards to bring more info to fans.

Texas Rangers
Global Life Park in Arlington
Seating Capacity: 48,114
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

The team isn’t talking about it publicly yet, but according to MLBAM there is now a working Wi- Fi network and a DAS at Global Life Park in Arlington, one of the latest beneficiaries of the MLB program to bring Wi-Fi to all MLB parks.

MLB Stadium Tech Reports — NL Central

Editor’s note: The following team-by-team capsule reports of MLB stadium technology deployments are an excerpt from our most recent Stadium Tech Report, THE BASEBALL (And Soccer!) ISSUE. To get all the capsules in one place as well as our featured reports, interviews and analysis, download your free copy of the full report today.

UPDATE: This version fixes the report for Milwaukee’s Miller Park.

NL Central

Reporting by Paul Kapustka

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.31.22 PMChicago Cubs
Wrigley Field
Seating Capacity: 41,160
Wi-Fi – No
DAS – Yes

For those hoping to use Wi-Fi at Wrigley Field, it’s “wait until next year” as the ongoing stadium renovations have forced the team to suspend the Wi-Fi services it had previously installed.

Look for an enhanced Wi-Fi and DAS network next season at the Friendly Confines (which now has outfield video boards)

St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium
Seating Capacity: 50,345
Wi-Fi – No (under construction)
DAS – Yes

Finally, Wi-Fi is coming to Busch Stadium, with plans to have the MLB- installed network live sometime after the All-Star break but before the end of the season.

Milwaukee Brewers
Miller Park
Seating Capacity: 42,200
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes (two systems)

Free fan Wi-Fi went live at Miller Park on opening day this season (April 6, 2015). The network was built as part of the MLBAM initiative; there are 600 APs covering all areas of the ballpark and ticket gates. Miller Park also has two DAS deployments, one a neutral host DAS run by AT&T that also currently carries Sprint traffic, as well as a standalone DAS for Verizon Wireless.

Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park
Seating Capacity: 38,496
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

One of the most-loved facilities in baseball, PNC Park, is now Wi-Fi enabled thanks to your friends at MLBAM.

Cincinnati Reds
Great American Ball Park
Seating Capacity: 42,036
Wi-Fi – Yes
DAS – Yes

Though it already had some Wi-Fi, Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark is getting a network upgrade this season thanks to MLBAM, which wants the park to be uber-connected for this summer’s All-Star Game.

Levi’s Stadium, AT&T Stadium tops for stadium Wi-Fi usage

Niners' Flickr promotion on scoreboard at Levi's Stadium. Photo: Paul Kapustka, MSR

Niners’ Flickr promotion on scoreboard at Levi’s Stadium. Photo: Paul Kapustka, MSR

There’s no competition and no wagering, but if you wanted to find the sports stadium that handles the most Wi-Fi traffic, two of your top finalists would no doubt be Levi’s Stadium and AT&T Stadium, which both recently released some season-long Wi-Fi statistics to Mobile Sports Report, including year-long totals in excess of 40 terabytes for both facilities.

Levi’s Stadium, the brand-new home of the San Francisco 49ers located in Santa Clara, Calif., has carried more than 45 TB of traffic on its Wi-Fi network through 20 events, according to Chuck Lukaszewski, very high density architect in the CTO Office of Aruba Networks, an HP Company (Aruba is the Wi-Fi gear suppler to Levi’s Stadium). During those events — 10 of which were NFL games, the other 10 a list including college games, concerts, a hockey game and a wrestling event — the Levi’s Stadium network saw approximately 415,000 unique users, Lukaszewski said.

Down in Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys reported some similar Wi-Fi statistics, with a total tonnage mark of 42.87 TB across 11 NFL games and six college games, according to John Winborn, chief information officer for the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. During those games the AT&T Stadium Wi-Fi network saw more than 500,000 unique connections, Winborn said.

AT&T Stadium at College Football Playoff championship game. Photo: Paul Kapustka, MSR

AT&T Stadium at College Football Playoff championship game. Photo: Paul Kapustka, MSR

For comparison, for football games Levi’s Stadium has a normal capacity of 68,500, with additional seating available (including on-field seats for concerts and other events) that can bring capacity to nearly 80,000. AT&T Stadium has a listed football capacity of 85,000, but that number can also be expanded with standing-room only numbers; according to Wikipedia AT&T Stadium had a record 105,121 fans in attendance for a Cowboys football game on Sept. 21, 2009, and had 108,713 fans in the stadium for the NBA All-Star game on Feb. 14, 2010.

Single-day connections for both pass Super Bowl marks

And while the most recent Super Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., still holds what we believe to be the highest single-game data mark for Wi-Fi traffic at 6.2 TB, both Levi’s Stadium and AT&T Stadium have had events with Wi-Fi usage totals exceeding 4 TB, with March’s WrestleMania 31 hitting 4.5 TB at Levi’s Stadium and the January College Football Playoff championship game recording 4.93 TB of traffic at AT&T Stadium.

Scoreboard promo for the Levi's Wi-Fi network

Scoreboard promo for the Levi’s Wi-Fi network

Both AT&T Stadium and Levi’s Stadium surpassed the Super Bowl when it came to high-water marks for single-game connected user totals; somewhat ironically, AT&T Stadium set what is probably the highest-ever Wi-Fi connection total of 38,534 unique users (out of 91,174 in attendance) during last season’s home opener against the visiting 49ers. According to Winborn, the total was reached “largely due to heavy in-game promotion around the Wi-Fi upgrades and new stadium app.”

At Levi’s Stadium, the season home opener against the Chicago Bears saw 29,429 unique users on the Wi-Fi network, which was more than the 25,936 unique devices connected to the network at Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. Levi’s Stadium also saw the highest number of concurrently connected users, 18,900, at the Bears game, compared to a high of 17,322 at the Super Bowl. At AT&T Stadium, Winborn said the season high for concurrently connected users was 27,523, recorded during the Cowboys’ home playoff game against the Detroit Lions.

Looking ahead to Super Bowl 50

According to Aruba’s Lukaszewski, the Wi-Fi network at Levi’s Stadium “did what it was supposed to do” last season, carrying high loads of wireless traffic. One stat the Levi’s team invented for its own network was “amount of time the network spent carrying more than 1 Gbps” — a total that Lukaszewski said reached 21 hours and 30 minutes across the 10 NFL events, and 31 hours 40 minutes across all 20 events.

For the upcoming football season and the hosting of Super Bowl 50 next February, the Levi’s Stadium Wi-Fi network will get some strategic Wi-Fi AP upgrades, specifically along some of the concourse areas where groups of standing fans had effectively blocked signals from under-the-seat APs near the tops of seating rows. Lukaszewski said the stadium team would add additional APs in areas where fans are spending time standing, as well as in concourse and plaza bar areas, where some structures were added during the season. Levi’s Stadium is also planning to deploy temporary under-the-seat APs when additional bleacher seats are added for the Super Bowl, Lukaszewski said.