July 29, 2016

Twitter and the NFL: What does the deal mean for team apps and mobile video? Stadium Tech Report Podcast No. 3 tells you!

Episode 3 of the STADIUM TECH REPORT PODCAST is live, in which hosts Phil Harvey and Paul Kapustka discuss the NFL’s Thursday Night Football streaming deal with Twitter, and what that deal means for both team stadium apps in particular and for mobile video use in general. Take a listen and let us know what you think!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST: Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes!

Let the NFL streaming battles begin: AT&T brings live streaming to basic Sunday Ticket plan

Screen shot of DirecTV Sunday Ticket app for iPad

Screen shot of DirecTV Sunday Ticket app for iPad

If you are a regular MSR reader you may remember that when the AT&T/DirecTV acquisition came to pass, we wondered how long it would take before AT&T and Verizon started battling each other in the quest to bring live NFL action to fans on their phones. The answer: wait no more, the battle’s here.

Today, AT&T announced that all subscribers to the DirecTV Sunday Ticket plan “will be able to stream Sunday afternoon out-of-market football games to almost any device” when action kicks off this fall. Previously, Sunday Ticket subscribers had to shell out about an extra hundred bucks to get the Sunday Ticket Max package, which offered streaming. Last year, the basic Sunday Ticket package was about $250; so far we can’t find a price for this season (and we don’t want to hunt through all the splash screens trying to get us to sign up for DirecTV services). Suffice to say it will still be a premium product, but one that many NFL fans can’t live without.

According to AT&T, live streaming via the Sunday Ticket plan was up 35 percent last year, a figure that doesn’t surprise us at all. We’ve been tracking Verizon Wireless and its NFL Mobile package of live-streamed games (which varies but usually includes Monday, Thursday and any weekend games, as well as Sunday out-of-market games) for some time now, and posts about NFL Mobile typically draw the highest traffic to our site. Verizon has never released subscriber numbers for NFL Mobile, but if you guessed it was among the most popular sports apps out there, you would probably be right. Even at $1 billion for four years, the rights fees seem a bargain for Verizon.

DirecTV pays the NFL more (about $1.5 billion a year, according to reports) but it gets more; NFL Mobile is exclusive to cell phone devices, meaning you can’t use it on tablets or PCs. And now thrown into the mobile mix is Twitter, whose reported $10 million deal with the NFL for Thursday-night games also includes the rights to stream to cell phones and any other device. Anyone else out there want to play?

Why is NFL action so popular on mobile devices? Mainly, I think, because of several factors, including fantasy betting and the fact that the screens have gotten so big and sharp, you can actually watch a game on a phone and it’s not painful. As many of us mobile-NFL freaks know, the best part of the deals isn’t necessarily the games themselves, but instead it’s access to the NFL’s RedZone channel, which keeps you up to date on action all across the league (and despite its name, it offers way more than just plays “in the red zone.” They try to keep live action going at all times, and NO COMMMERCIALS makes it a football junkie’s dream).

Plus, on the West coast, RedZone will often just show all of later games since there are fewer contests to jump in between. I don’t know how many people will sit every Sunday through several games on the couch, but if you can watch a few minutes or a final drive while you’re somewhere else it’s pretty addictive.

No news yet this year from Verizon on what the NFL Mobile package of games might look like, but stay tuned: This battle is just getting started. Good news is, more competition means more access and lower prices for fans. That’s something we can all cheer, no matter which teams we root for.

Twitter to stream NFL Thursday night games to all platforms, including smartphones

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 11.00.55 AMThe big news from the NFL today was a deal signed with Twitter, under which Twitter will get to stream live NFL Thursday Night games online to any connected device, including smartphones. To us, that last bit is the most interesting part of the deal since it breaks the previous stronghold held by Verizon Wireless and its NFL Mobile deal, under which Verizon was previously the sole provider of live NFL action to smartphones.

While many NFL games have been streamed by various entities online — including recent years’ playoff games, the Super Bowl and Monday Night Football — for most of those “broadcasts” you could only watch on a phone-type device if you were a Verizon customer and used the NFL Mobile app. The only exception we know of for U.S. fans was the extra-price DirecTV Sunday Ticket package, which also allowed for mobile viewing; but for free online action, you could typically only watch on a PC, connected TV or a tablet — smartphones were the exclusive domain of Verizon.

Under the Twitter deal, fans who are Twitter users will be able to watch Thursday night games free of any other charge, on tablets, PCs, connected TVs and smartphones, according to a release today from the NFL and Twitter. In addition to live action, the league and Twitter promise pre-game extras like Periscope broadcasts from teams and players, meaning you will get low-quality jittery interviews instead of professionally produced material. But we jest. The Periscope broadcasts could be cool, especially if they are on the field where fans never really get to be.

The Twitter deal follows on the heels of last season’s Yahoo-streamed game, which attracted 15.2 million viewers. It will be interesting to see what the numbers are for Twitter this year, since the Thursday night games will be available on regular TV from both NBC and CBS, which have five games each, as well as on the NFL Network, which will simulcast all games on Thursday nights.

Stadium Tech Report: Connectivity soars at Denver Broncos’ Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Panoramic view of Sports Authority Field at Mile High from the top seats. All photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR (click on any photo for a larger image)

Panoramic view of Sports Authority Field at Mile High from the top seats. All photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR (click on any photo for a larger image)

On most of our stadium visits, we have to wait until we get inside the venue to start testing the network. At Sports Authority Field at Mile High, however, we barely got out of the car before the Wi-Fi auto-connected — at superb speeds. Nothing like a network that announces itself before you get in the door.

The parking-lot connection — at a download speed of 45.48 Mbps and an upload speed of 53.35 — was the first clue that football fan connectivity is taken seriously in Denver, especially so if you have Verizon service. While the stadium’s Wi-Fi network is currently only available to Verizon customers — more on this later — full DAS participation by the three other major U.S. wireless carriers means that pretty much any visitor to the venue is going to have good, if not great, connectivity for their mobile device, no matter which service they use.

Inside the stadium, a trained eye can spot many different types of DAS and Wi-Fi antenna placements, under overhangs, on towers, on ceilings and on walls; and thanks to a first-person stadium tech tour conducted by Russ Trainor, vice president of information systems for the Denver Broncos, we got to learn about a wide range of not-so-noticable antenna deployments, including in railing enclosures and on field-level walls, all part of an ongoing plan to try to stay ahead of the still-growing demand for mobile data from sports fans who come to the games.

The parking lots just outside Sports Authority Field have good Wi-Fi coverage as this light pole shows.

The parking lots just outside Sports Authority Field have good Wi-Fi coverage as this light pole shows.

The day we visited, during the last regular-season game on Jan. 3, was important for the Broncos as a team since their 27-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers gave Denver home-field advantage through the playoffs, an edge that helped the team reach its eighth Super Bowl. But even as he celebrated his team’s win, Trainor was happy for another reason: the bye week gave him and his team more time to light up some new Wi-Fi and DAS antenna placements, to better handle the expected and eventual playoff data crush.

“You can never have enough APs,” Trainor said.

Good Wi-Fi, but still only for Verizon customers

Opened on Aug. 11, 2001, with a concert by the Eagles, the then-named Invesco Field at Mile High replaced the old Mile High Stadium in basically the same spot, sitting at 5,280 feet above sea level. Seen by many on TV when it hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the acceptance speech of then-Sen. Barack Obama, the “new” Mile High has seen more than 12 million fans come through its doors since it opened for a variety of sports and entertainment events.

But true high-speed wireless for fans didn’t take root until 2012, when a revamp led by Verizon Wireless and the Broncos’ IT staff added a Cisco-based Wi-Fi network to the stadium with 500 access points, designed to serve 25,000 concurrent users and also designed to be “open,” allowing any other carrier to provide access to its customers by negotiating a deal with Verizon. While Trainor said the option still remains open and talks with some of the other carriers are underway, none have yet signed on — making the Wi-Fi network a fast playground for Verizon customers, who apparently are in the vast majority in the Denver region.

Sorry, AT&T customer, no soup for you

Sorry, AT&T customer, no soup for you

We don’t have any exact proof of that thinking, but statistics from the recent AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field — a 20-18 Denver victory over the New England Patriots — seem to show Verizon customers in a bit of a majority. According to Verizon, its customers at the game used a total of 2.87 terabytes of data, with 1.7 TB on the Wi-Fi network and another 1.17 TB on the Verizon LTE DAS network. AT&T, by comparison, said its customers used 819 GB on the AT&T DAS network that day. So either there are more Verizon customers at the stadium on game days, or Verizon customers use more data because they have more network options; take your pick.

With our Verizon iPhone 6 Plus in hand, we found great connectivity on Wi-Fi pretty much everywhere we roamed. After finding our way from the parking lot to the press box, we got a signal of 46.46 Mbps down and 46.90 up, this from the regular fan network in the stands and not from the press-only Wi-Fi network.

While roaming through the plush United Club we got a speed test of 33.36/35.19, a figure that Trainor said could change on any given game day — “when it gets cold outside, this place fills up,” he noted — and then later when we walked up to the top, 5th-level concourse, we still got a Wi-Fi signal of 34.96/30.40 on the walkways behind the seats. During second-quarter action we even sneaked up to the nosebleed seats in section 501, one of the ski-slope steep sections near the stadium’s top edge — and still got a Wi-Fi signal of 10.28 Mbps/5.00 Mbps.

According to Trainor, the upper seats are among the toughest challenges for Wi-Fi reception, especially those in the “bulge” areas in the middle of the stadium where on both sides the sections curve upwards, adding more seats. Though the light structures that wind all the way around the stadium do provide good spots for antenna mounts, the bulge areas are harder to reach, and in the near future Trainor and his team will keep experimenting with other methods of deployment, like railing enclosures and row-end mounts they have used successfully for both Wi-Fi and DAS in other areas of the stadium.

Lots of antennas visible in this overhang area

Lots of antennas visible in this overhang area

One interesting architectural quirk of the stadium — its use of metal decking instead of concrete — actually helps the wireless deployment team, Trainor said. Installed to mimic the metal upper deck at the old Mile High Stadium — where Broncos fans would do the “Denver Stomp” to produce thunderous noise — the metal construction acts as a barrier to keep Wi-Fi signals from the bowl from interfering with those from antennas inside suites and concourses, Trainor said.

While most of the stadium has favorable locations for overhead antennas — there are three main levels of seating, providing two expansive overhangs covering about 80 percent of the seating area — some typical problem places like seats near field level and in the no-overhang South stands have required some creative thinking, an excercise that never really ends.

“We started with 500 Wi-Fi APs, and we’re now at 640, and by the time we get it [the current plan] all built out we’ll have about 850 to 900 total,” Trainor said.

DAS deployments a mix of connectivity

On the DAS side, Trainor said that the four major carriers — Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile — are all present inside the stadium, with different antenna placements in different numbers. In some instances, all the carriers use “neutral” antennas, mainly in areas where there isn’t enough room for exclusive deployments. But in other areas, the carriers have installed their own antennas, an arrangement that allows them to replace and upgrade them as necessary at their own discretion, Trainor said.

Field-level Wi-Fi AP (small white box next to right leg of Peyton Manning fan)

Field-level Wi-Fi AP (small white box next to right leg of Peyton Manning fan)

We didn’t have a Sprint or T-Mobile device on hand, but our AT&T Android phone had good connectivity everywhere we measured, including a 4G LTE signal of 27.94 Mbps down and 6.86 up in the press box, and signals of 47.83/6.37 on the same 5th-level concourse area where we tested the Verizon Wi-Fi.

All the carrier back-end gear is housed in a brick building built outside the southeast side of the stadium, Trainor said, since there wasn’t room inside the stadium structure itself. DAS and Wi-Fi antennas also exist in great number in the vast parking lots that directly surround the stadium, as well as in the “fan zone” gathering area outside the South stands.

Like with the Wi-Fi, Trainor and his team are always planning for more DAS capacity, even if contracts aren’t signed yet. On the new railing enclosures they are installing, the Denver IT team builds in enough space for both DAS and Wi-Fi, even if only one network is using the deployment to start with. Again, you can never have enough antennas — or enough places to put them.

YinzCam app and Cisco SportsVision

Rounding out the mobile-device offerings is not one but two YinzCam team apps, one for use at outside the stadium and the other one for live game-day offerings, with a geocache feature that allows the team to provide content it has stadium rights to, like the NFL’s RedZone channel. Both apps have live links to the Broncos radio coverage from KOA Radio, and the in-stadium instant replay feature worked superbly during our visit, showing plays in seconds and often before they appeared on the stadium’s big screens.

In the concourses we recognized the split-screen capabilities of Cisco’s StadiumVision technology, which can direct programming to all the TV screens inside a stadium. Another nice touch in the United Club was a circular charging station, with tabletop space so fans could have a place to put food and drink while waiting for their devices to juice back up. “We are always looking for ways and configurations to allow fans to recharge their devices,” Trainor said.

With all its different parts, the wireless deployment at Sports Authority Field at Mile High adds up to a favorable fan experience, one that clearly has the ability to keep getting better on an incremental basis. But like their Super Bowl team, Denver fans should be happy with what they have right now.

MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Railing antenna enclosure. Some of these have both Wi-Fi and DAS.

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App promo on the scoreboard

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Panoramic view of the stadium and the city

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South stands have a horse and Wi-Fi antennas on the top of the scoreboard

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Cisco SportsVision in action on 6-panel display

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DAS antennas on end-of-row railing area

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Game on, phones out!

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Antennas covering the concourse area on second level

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More SportsVision and Wi-Fi deployment in the United Club

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Only accept on the scene reporting!

Stadium Tech Report: Wi-Fi arrives at the Green Bay Packers’ legendary Lambeau Field

Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, now has Wi-Fi for fans. All photos: Green Bay Packers (click on any photo for a larger image)

Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, now has Wi-Fi for fans. All photos: Green Bay Packers (click on any photo for a larger image)

When most NFL fans think of the Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field, they think of frozen tundra – of Vince Lombardi roaming the sideline in his thick glasses and peaked hat, with visible breath coming through the face masks of behemoth linemen on the field. In the stands, they see the venerable fans braving the cold of northern Wisconsin in their snowmobile suits, with mittens wrapped around a bratwurst and a beer.

But do they think of those same Packers fans pulling out their iPhones and Samsungs to take selfies, and posting them to Instagram or Facebook? Maybe not so much.

The reality is, however, that in 2015, football fans in Green Bay are pretty much like fans anywhere else when it comes to wanting to use their mobile devices while at the game. So to make sure the Lambeau Field fan experience remains at the top of the league, the Packers teamed up with Extreme Networks and Verizon Wireless to bring a fan-facing Wi-Fi network to Lambeau this season, one that will likely be heavily used even at the risk of frostbitten fingers.

Editor’s note: The following profile is an excerpt from our most recent Stadium Tech Report, THE PRO FOOTBALL ISSUE. To get all the profiles in one place as well as our featured reports, interviews and analysis, download your free copy of the full report today.

Bringing the beast to the bowl

With more than 1,000 Wi-Fi access points installed throughout the stadium, the already-live network in Green Bay is the culmination of a 2-year project that started with an overhaul of the venue’s distributed antenna system (DAS), a task completed last year by Verizon, which acts as the DAS neutral host.

According to Wayne Wichlacz, director of information technology for the Packers, the second step of putting in and turning on a full-stadium Wi-Fi network required a lengthy search and qualification process, to ensure that the partners could deliver in the face of big challenges that exist in bringing wireless technology to a historic and legendary facility like Lambeau Field.

Wi-Fi APs visible on press box structure

Wi-Fi APs visible on press box structure

Even the most casual of NFL fans probably has some knowledge of Lambeau Field, which has known more than its share of history since opening in 1957. The glory years of the Packers of the 1960s, when coach Lombardi and quarterback Bart Starr won the first two Super Bowls, helped cement the Green Bay “Titletown” lore, and the famous “Ice Bowl” game of Dec. 31, 1967, between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, gave birth to the “Frozen Tundra” nickname for the big concrete circle on Lombardi Avenue.

That big bowl, which has been added to significantly since its opening, now can seat 81,435 fans, making it the third-largest in NFL seating capacity, behind only AT&T Stadium in Dallas and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Though Lambeau Field previously had Wi-Fi networks for internal business purposes as well as for some suite and premium seating, bringing Wi-Fi to the full stadium was a task of a different magnitude, Wichlacz said.

“It’s a different beast to bring [Wi-Fi] to the bowl,” Wichlacz said.

The two big challenges for Wi-Fi deployment at Lambeau revolved around aesthetics and placements; as a historic and legendary structure, extreme care needed to be taken to make sure Wi-Fi gear placements didn’t detract from the visual experience and old-time charm. And just to make that first task tougher was the challenge of finding enough places for Wi-Fi APs in a facility that is mainly a big open bowl, without much overhang space for mounting.

And don’t forget about the large amount of metal-bench seating, which took away the opportunity to install under-the-seat APs.

“There’s just not a lot of levels [in Lambeau] for us to do things,” Wichlacz said. “It was a real installation challenge.”

After putting out an RFP that took all the necessary considerations into play, Wichlacz said the Packers evaluated proposals from all the major players in the large public venue Wi-Fi gear market before finally settling on Extreme, which has a solid history of NFL stadium deployments. After picking Extreme in the middle of last year, construction got underway in early 2015, Wichlacz said.

On the Extreme side, the company knew it was deploying on the NFL equivalent of hallowed ground, said Norman Rice, executive vice president for marketing at Extreme.

“A lot of additional work went into the design, in part because Lambeau Field is a historical site and such an iconic part of the landscape in the NFL,” Rice said. “We did a lot of unique stuff to get to what a Packers fan expects.”

Yellow paint and handrail enclosures

If most NFL fans are familiar with the Packers’ traditional gold and green colors, so now are the Wi-Fi deployment teams from Extreme and the Packers, who spent a good part of the deployment time painting APs to blend in to the stadium scenery. That meant green for antennas mounted up against certain building sections, and the bright yellow for the handrail antennas that Extreme used to help bring signals down into the rows of the bowl.

“We did a lot of unique stuff,” said Extreme’s Rice. “There are some pretty cool enclosures, where the yellow blends right into the walls.”

“If you’re looking for it, you can probably find it,” said Wichlacz of the painted antennas. “But it blends in pretty good.”

Lambeau bench seating with railing-mounted Wi-Fi APs

Lambeau bench seating with railing-mounted Wi-Fi APs

To gain some important real estate for wireless components, the Packers and their partners actually relocated the team’s signage listing the names of Packers inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, raising it up one level and using it as a way to mask Wi-Fi and DAS gear.

“You can actually see the [names] better now, and we were able to put Wi-Fi and DAS antennas in there,” Rice said. “It’s a nice piece of work.”

All the aesthetic work had to also be blended with the technical requirements of antenna placement, to ensure good coverage without interference. Jacque Vallier, the Illinois/Wisconsin regional executive director of network for Verizon Wireless, compared Lambeau Field to the older college stadiums, the large concrete bowls that are among the hardest structures to bring services to.

“It definitely was an RF and engineering challenge,” said Vallier of the DAS design. Vallier said that AT&T is currently a client on the Verizon neutral DAS, which uses CommScope gear. The DAS also covers the parking lot areas outside Lambeau Field, where tailgating is a high art.

Separate SSID for Verizon Customers

Like other NFL deployments where Verizon is a major sponsor, the Lambeau Field Wi-Fi network will have two separate SSIDs, one reserved for Verizon Wireless customers, and the other for everyone else. According to Verizon’s Vallier, the Verizon subscribers will have access to about 40 percent of the Wi-Fi bandwidth, with some devices supporting automatic authentication to the service. Verizon and Extreme have a similar deployment at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

According to Extreme’s Rice, the mix of network usage is tuned to ensure that all fans who are seeking Wi-Fi connectivity will have more than enough bandwidth. Both the Verizon-specific network and the public network (which run off the same Wi-Fi gear) will meet or exceed the NFL’s Wi-Fi requirements, he said.

“It’s done to ensure Verizon customers have a good connection, but not at the expense of other users,” Rice said of the split SSIDs. Verizon, which is a big sponsor of the NFL in general (including its $1 billion payment for live-action rights on smartphones for its NFL Mobile app), is also a sponsor of Wi-Fi networks at NFL stadiums in Detroit and Denver.

As a final Green Bay touch, the Extreme “Wi-Fi coaches” program, which trains people who wander the stands on game days helping fans to get connected to the network, will use area high school students as “coaches,” fitting right in with the family-friendly atmosphere that the Packers are famous for.

“It’s really going to be cool to tie the coaches program to the community through the schools,” Extreme’s Rice said. “It’s great fun to be part of that.”

Can’t test the network until the stadium’s full

When it comes to large public venue deployments, there is the Wi-Fi network you design on paper, the network you build, and then the network that happens when the venue fills up with users. Thanks to the mid-year completion of the Lambeau Field network, Wichlacz and his IT team were able to test the Wi-Fi network in several “beta” situations, which included a Kenny Chesney concert and a Brett Favre celebration that filled the bowl.

Wave the flag, Wi-Fi has come to Lambeau Field! Photos: Green Bay Packers

Wave the flag, Wi-Fi has come to Lambeau Field! Photos: Green Bay Packers

“Testing network theory versus having people [using the network] is night and day,” Wichlacz said. Live tests, he said, “give the engineering folks the ability to test and tweak. It’s definitely helpful to have those events.”

And if there was any doubt that fans at Lambeau Field want to use their devices, Verizon’s Vallier can help end the debate.

“During the second preseason game we saw more than 500 gigabytes of traffic [on the DAS],” Vallier said, noting that totals so far are pointing to be one-and-a-half times bigger than in 2014.

And though Wichlacz is reticent to provide exact Wi-Fi data usage numbers, Extreme’s Rice said one of the Packers’ preseason games recorded “one of the highest [Wi-Fi usage] numbers we’ve ever seen.”

That figure seems to answer a question Rice said the team had asked itself earlier, about whether or not the Green Bay Packers and their fans needed stadium Wi-Fi. “There was a time when they [the Packers] had a big question, about if it mattered,” Rice said. Now that the Wi-Fi network is in, he said, “it’s amazing to see how much people use it.”

Wichlacz noted that Packers fans may not need to worry about frozen fingers, since the team has more home games earlier in the season this year. But he also remembers Verizon stats from the DAS last season that showed usage didn’t go down that much when the temperature got cold.

So – if you make it to Lambeau Field from now on, make sure you soak in the atmosphere and if you care to, share it with the world via Wi-Fi – something you can do now with ease thanks to the hard work from the Packers and their partners.

“For our whole team here, it’s been a labor of love,” Wichlacz said. “We spent a lot of hours working on this. We’re excited to launch it, and correct it as we go.”

New Report: Green Bay’s Lambeau Field leads new NFL Wi-Fi deployments

Wave the flag, Wi-Fi has come to Lambeau Field! Photo: Green Bay Packers

Wave the flag, Wi-Fi has come to Lambeau Field! Photo: Green Bay Packers

When most NFL fans think of the Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field, they think of frozen tundra — of Vince Lombardi roaming the sideline in his thick glasses and peaked hat, with visible breath coming through the face masks of behemoth linemen on the field. In the stands, they see the venerable fans braving the cold of northern Wisconsin in their snowmobile suits, with mittens wrapped around a bratwurst and a beer.

But do they think of those same Packers fans pulling out their iPhones and Samsungs to take selfies, and posting them to Instagram or Facebook? Maybe not so much.

The reality of 2015, however, finds us with fans in Green Bay being just like fans anywhere else — meaning, they want to be able to use their mobile devices while at the game. As the cover story of our most recent Stadium Tech Report series, we explore the details of bringing Wi-Fi to historic Lambeau Field, where late-season texting might carry the threat of frostbitten fingers.

Our PRO FOOTBALL ISSUE has 50-plus pages of insight and how-to explanations that in addition to Green Bay’s work also cover some interesting Wi-Fi access point hiding tricks practiced by the IT folks at AT&T Stadium, and a recap of Levi’s Stadium plans as it gets ready to host Super Bowl 50. Plus team-by-team capsule descriptions of stadium tech deployments for all 32 NFL franchises. It’s all free to you, so download your copy today!

The NFL haves and have-nots when it comes to Wi-Fi

PRO_FB_ThumbWas it really three long years ago that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued an edict calling for Wi-Fi in all 31 NFL stadiums? While we’re almost there, it’s not quite everywhere yet and during the course of preparing this year’s PRO FOOTBALL ISSUE we found ourselves wondering how many of the current NFL stadium Wi-Fi networks are really up to snuff. Sure, there are leaders in the networking space, as teams with lots of money or recent Super Bowl hostings seem to be in a bit of an arms war when it comes to installing robust wireless networks. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers, the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots and a few others come to mind when you are making a list of top networks, and you can probably add Green Bay’s 1,000-plus AP deployment to that tally.

But what about the balance of the league, which now has some kind of fan-facing Wi-Fi in 25 of its 31 venues? While those that don’t have any Wi-Fi at all are somewhat understandable (mainly due to questions about imminent franchise relocation), what about the stadiums that put in Wi-Fi a few years ago, or only put in a limited amount of technology? With no end in sight to the increasing demands for wireless bandwidth, how soon will the older networks need revamping? Including the DAS deployments? Those are questions we’ll keep asking and looking to answer, as we’ve already seen some public reports about Wi-Fi networks falling down on the job. The best place to start, of course, is with the report, so DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY right now!

Thank the sponsors, who let you read for free

Reporting, writing, editing and producing all this content has a cost, but thanks to our generous (and increasing!) list of sponsors, our editorially objective content remains free for you, the reader. We’d like to take a quick moment to thank the sponsors of the Q3 issue of Stadium Tech Report, which include Mobilitie, Crown Castle, SOLiD, CommScope, TE Connectivity, Aruba Networks, JMA Wireless, Corning, 5 Bars, Extreme Networks, ExteNet Systems. and partners Edgewater Wireless and Zinwave. We’d also like to thank you, our readers for your interest and continued support.

As always, we are here to hear what you have to say: Send me an email to kaps at mobilesportsreport.com and let us know what you think of our STADIUM TECH REPORT series, and whether or not the Wi-Fi at your local NFL stadium is a division winner.