Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wi-Fi saw 12 TB of data used at January’s college championship

The iconic ‘halo board’ video screen below the unique roof opening at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR (click on any picture for a larger image)

The Wi-Fi network at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium saw 12 terabytes of data used at the 2018 College Football Playoff championship on Jan. 8, 2018, according to officals from the Atlanta Falcons, owners and operators of this city’s new distinctive venue.

We’d long suspected that Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened in August of 2017, had seen big data days inside the 71,000-seat arena with its innovative technology, but until Sunday the Falcons had never made any network-performance data publicly available. But a day after the venue saw another 8.06 TB of Wi-Fi used during the SEC Championship game, Danny Branch, chief information officer for AMB Sports & Entertainment, revealed the statistics during a live MSR visit at an Atlanta Falcons home game. The 12 TB mark (which was an estimate — we’ll check back with the Falcons for exact numbers) is the second-highest we’ve ever seen in our unofficial research of single-day Wi-Fi totals, trailing only the 16.31 TB recorded at Super Bowl LII in February at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“We’re confident and ready for the Super Bowl,” said Branch during a pregame stadium tour, details of which we’ll dig into deeper in a full profile for our upcoming Winter Stadium Tech Report. Multiple network speed tests taken by MSR during Sunday’s 26-16 Falcons loss to the visiting Baltimore Ravens showed robust Wi-Fi performance on the network that uses gear from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, in a design from AmpThink.

DAS renovation complete

An under-seat DAS antenna in the 300 seating section at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

According to Branch, the cellular distributed antenna system (DAS) network inside Mercedes-Benz — a deployment that is at the center of a current lawsuit filed by contractor IBM against gear supplier and designer Corning — is also now at full deployment, with the completion of 700 new under-seat DAS antenna deployments, mostly in the upper seating deck.

MSR speed tests taken during Sunday’s game showed a wide range of DAS results, from single-digit tests in some tough-deployment areas to results near 100 Mbps directly in front of what looked like some new antenna deployments. Again, look for more details in our upcoming profile in the Winter Stadium Tech Report (due out in mid-December).

“We’re in a good place [with the DAS],” said Branch, though he did say there was going to be more DAS work done on the outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium prior to when Super Bowl LIII comes to the venue on Feb. 3, 2019, mainly to help ensure that the move toward more digital Super Bowl tickets goes smoothly. Mercedes-Benz Stadium also now has a couple of MatSing ball antennas in its rafters, there to bring DAS coverage to the sidelines of the playing field.

Sunday the Mercedes-Benz Stadium staffers were hosting a rare big-game back-to-back event, following Saturday’s packed-house tilt between SEC powers Alabama and Georgia, a championship-game rematch won by Alabama 35-28 after a dramatic comeback.

“That was a massive flip,” said Branch of the two-day stretch, which saw another huge data day Saturday with 8.06 TB of Wi-Fi used. The network, sponsored by backbone provider AT&T, averages about a 50 percent take rate from event attendees, according to Branch, who gave praise to Aruba and AmpThink for their combined deployment efforts.

“The expectation for fans now is that there will be Wi-Fi [in a sports venue],” said Branch. “But I love it when friends come to me after a game and tell me ‘the Wi-Fi is so fast!’ ”

THE MSR TOP 17 FOR WI-FI

1. Super Bowl 52, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 4, 2018: Wi-Fi: 16.31 TB
2. 2018 College Football Playoff Championship, Alabama vs. Georgia, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 8, 2018: Wi-Fi: 12.0 TB*
3. Super Bowl 51, NRG Stadium, Houston, Feb. 5, 2017: Wi-Fi: 11.8 TB
4. Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 6, 2018: Wi-Fi: 10.86 TB
5. Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif., Feb. 7, 2016: Wi-Fi: 10.1 TB
6. Taylor Swift Reputation Tour, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., July 27, 2018: Wi-Fi: 9.76 TB
7. Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles, NFC Championship Game, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 21, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.76 TB
8. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots, AFC Championship Game, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 21, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.53 TB
9. Taylor Swift Reputation Tour, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, May 25, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.1 TB
10. Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., Sept. 7, 2017: Wi-Fi: 8.08 TB
11. SEC Championship Game, Alabama vs. Georgia, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 1, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.06 TB*
12. Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys, Divisional Playoffs, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Jan. 15, 2017: Wi-Fi: 7.25 TB
13. Stanford vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., Sept. 29, 2018: 7.19 TB
14. (tie) Southern California vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., Oct. 21, 2017: 7.0 TB
Arkansas State vs. Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Sept 2, 2017: Wi-Fi: 7.0 TB
15. WrestleMania 32, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, April 3, 2016: Wi-Fi: 6.77 TB
16. Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 7, 2017: Wi-Fi: 6.3 TB
17. Super Bowl 49, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 1, 2015: Wi-Fi: 6.23 TB

* = pending official exact data

NFL CIO: Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s wireless is ‘ready for the Super Bowl’

The entry concourse at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR

The wireless networks at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium are “ready for the Super Bowl,” according to Michelle McKenna-Doyle, senior vice president and chief information officer for the NFL, who spoke to Mobile Sports Report via phone last week.

Though McKenna-Doyle would not comment on any of the particulars of the recent lawsuit filed by IBM against Corning that revolves around issues with the stadium’s distributed antenna system (DAS) cellular network, she did assert that any past problems have since been fixed, and that the league is confident the venue’s wireless systems will stand up to the stress test that will likely arrive when Super Bowl LIII takes place on Feb. 3, 2019.

“The [Atlanta] Falcons have been super-cooperative in remedying one of the challenges they had,” said McKenna-Doyle. “The networks will be ready for the Super Bowl.”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium also has an Aruba-based Wi-Fi network, which has not been the subject of any lawsuit; however, stadium officials have also not ever released any performance statistics for the network since the stadium’s opening. According to IBM’s lawsuit documents, the company said it had to pay extra to fix the DAS network, a task it said was completed before the end of the 2017 NFL season.

Outside connectivity a challenge as well

While the Super Bowl is almost always the biggest single-day sports events for wireless connectivity, McKenna-Doyle added that this year’s version will be even a little more challenging than others since the league is in the process of moving fans to digital ticketing for its championship event.

“This year one of the new challenges is the move to paperless ticketing,” said McKenna-Doyle in a wide-ranging interview about NFL technology issues (look for a full breakdown of the interview in our upcoming Winter Stadium Tech Report). Though this year’s game will still have some paper-based ticket options, McKenna-Doyle said the lessons learned in ensuring good connectivity outside the stadium gates will help prepare for future Super Bowls, which will likely be all-digital ticketing.

One Super Bowl technology not yet decided is the game-day app, which for the past two years has been built by the NFL. In previous years, the league used versions of local game-day apps with Super Bowl additions, a direction McKenna-Doyle said the league might still take this year. Designed mainly as a way to help visitors find their way around an unfamiliar stadium and city, the Super Bowl app this year might need to lean on the local app to help integrate the digital ticket functionality, McKenna-Doyle said. The Falcons’ app for Mercedes-Benz Stadium was built by IBM.

MSR News Wire: Aruba introduces new series of 802.11ax access points

Editor’s note: Welcome to a new feature for Mobile Sports Report, the MSR News Wire, in which MSR will now post press releases from companies in the stadium technology sector. These releases are prepared by the companies, and are NOT an MSR editorial product. For information on how to get your company releases on the MSR News Wire, please contact Paul Kapustka at kaps at mobilesportsreport.com.

Aruba Introduces New Secure, AI-Powered Mobility Innovations for the Experience Edge

New Series of 802.11ax Access Points, 802.11ax-optimized Switches, and AI-Powered Software to Give Organizations a Secure, Autonomous Network for the Mobile, Cloud and IoT Era

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – November 13, 2018 – Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced a new family of 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) IoT-ready wireless access points and complementary access switches, along with innovations in security, intelligent power management, and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered automation and service assurance, to deliver the performance, simplicity and reliability that organizations need to give users exceptional digital experiences.

The new wireless access points support the latest Wi-Fi standard and are the first to be Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) certified for the new WPA3 and Enhanced Open security standards to provide stronger encryption and simpler IoT security configuration. Aruba is also the first Wi-Fi vendor to integrate Bluetooth 5 into its APs combined with an integrated ZigBee® capabilties. These new capabilities enable IoT use cases, such as smart door locks and electronic shelf labels, while Bluetooth 5 also delivers user-aware indoor location allowing IT to create personalized experiences. In addition, Aruba is delivering industry-first power management innovations allowing customers to preserve their existing PoE switch investments while significantly reducing access point power consumption during off hours. These unique features include Intelligent Power Monitoring, a capability delivered by Aruba Operating System (AOS) 8, and NetInsight Green AP, part of Aruba’s AI-powered analytics and assurance solution.

Enabling the Experience Edge
Organizations are expecting IT professionals to deliver IoT-enabled innovation that will allow them to create extraordinary digital experiences for their employees, customers and guests. New types of experiences such as location-aware mobile engagement, digitally-assisted patient care, and user-aware meeting rooms can give organizations a competitive advantage. According to Gartner, “Enterprises preparing for the future of work must offer engaging, consumer-like experiences and deliver technologies that enable, rather than hinder, streamlined work execution [1].”

The network at the edge is what connects people and IoT to this digital world. It is the platform for building these digital experiences and it must be secure, intelligent and always on. However, a solid network foundation is not enough. To enable these new experiences, IT must be able to deliver improved and consistent service levels to address growing business demands and heightened user expectations. This requires not only a state-of-the-art network, but also the ability for IT to proactively anticipate issues in an ever-changing environment before they impact users and the business.

To address these challenges, Aruba is introducing the following new products and innovations:
• The Aruba 510 Series APs, a new series of 802.11ax, IoT-ready APs, with advanced security, AI-powered RF optimization, intelligent power monitoring, and integrated ZigBee and Bluetooth 5 capabilities.
• The Aruba 2930M access switches, with support for the 802.3bt standard to provide higher power PoE (up to 60 watts per port), a requirement for some high-end 802.11ax access points.
• Support for Wi-Fi Alliance WPA3 and Enhanced Open Security Standards to deliver state-of-the-art device security. Aruba is the first vendor in the industry to receive WFA certification for these new standards.
• Green AP, a unique, new feature of NetInsight, Aruba’s AI-powered analytics and assurance solution, that dynamically powers down APs when user devices are not present, offsetting the increased power requirements associated with select 11ax APs.

Leveraging Aruba’s Rich Heritage to Bring Intelligence to the Network
An effective AI solution requires domain expertise, a historical pool of clean data to feed the algorithms that deliver precise and trusted network automation and assurance, and real-world experiences to validate the solution. Aruba has a unique advantage over many competitors, including 16 years of Wi-Fi expertise, with learnings and best practices built into the AI algorithms from the largest edge networks in the world and from millions of installed APs to deliver secure, autonomous network operations.

The new 510 Series APs work in concert with Aruba NetInsight to proactively monitor and troubleshoot the network, generating actionable insights and recommendations based on peer comparisons and benchmarks, and applying these recommendations to the network autonomously. This allows businesses to deliver the kind of improved performance and efficiency needed for today’s highly mobile and IoT-centric environments, while continually adapting to changing requirements and improving experiences for their users and customers.

Built for IoT with ZigBee and Bluetooth 5 Integration
The Aruba 510 series is the industry’s first set of 802.11ax APs with integrated support for ZigBee and Bluetooth 5, enabling Aruba customers to support 74% of IoT devices. Having all three wireless technologies available in a single access point gives customers powerful, extensive connectivity. In addition, customers can significantly reduce both their capital and operational expenditures since the Aruba infrastructure with ZigBee integration eliminates the need to deploy and operate a separate Zigbee network.

Smart Energy Management with Green AP and Intelligent Power Monitoring

As higher performance 802.11ax APs will handle a greater number of devices and traffic, they will also consume more power. In addition, network architects generally design AP configurations for the highest capacity scenarios, and these combined factors mean that many organizations are confronted with rising power costs.

Green AP, a new feature of NetInsight and a new innovation for the networking industry, allows IT to intelligently manage APs to reduce power consumption by up to 72% dramatically lowering costs, while supporting social responsibility. Using Green AP, APs can be automatically turned on or off based on utilization, resulting in significant energy costs savings and an environmentally-friendly network.

Additionally, Aruba’s Intelligent Power Monitoring (IPM), a feature in AOS 8, actively measures the power utilization of an AP and dynamically adapts to the available power resources. IT organizations can define and prioritize which capabilities to disable when an AP is operating over its power budget. IPM will begin taking power reduction steps autonomously as defined by the priority definition until the AP is operating within the power budget.

State-of-the-Art Security with WPA3 and Enhanced Open
Aruba is the first networking vendor to release products that have received WPA3 and Enhanced Open certifications from the Wi-Fi Alliance. With support for WPA3 and Enhanced Open, Aruba’s new suite of 11ax APs can deliver the security enterprises need as more users, devices and things join their networks.

WPA3 adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security, enable more robust authentication, and deliver increased cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets, such as government or finance. Wi-Fi Enhanced Open complements the security protection WPA3 delivers by improving data privacy while maintaining ease-of-use in open public networks where user authentication is not used, such as local coffee shops, airports and stadiums.

Pricing and Availability
The Aruba 510 Series APs are available now, beginning at a list price of $1,095. The Aruba 2930M access switch is available now, starting at $10,799 list. The new version of NetInsight with Green AP will be available in the first quarter of 2019, with one-year subscriptions beginning at $50 per year per AP.

Supporting Quotes
Home to the Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium is located in Charlotte, North Carolina and supports more than 75,000 fans.

“Our fans expect an outstanding connected stadium experience,” said James Hammond, Director of Information Technology for the Carolina Panthers. “In order to continue to deliver that experience, we need to prepare for the future demands on our network which is why we’re evaluating Aruba’s .11ax APs to support new applications and greater IoT and mobile device density requirements.”

The University of Minnesota has 48,000 students, 18,000 faculty and staff, and connects over 120,000 devices on its network daily.

“As we prepare for the introduction of 802.11ax devices on campus, we need to understand the impact of the additional traffic and device density to the infrastructure and IT staff,” said Louis Hammond, service owner for data and voice network services for the University of Minnesota. “Testing Aruba’s 802.11ax APs will help determine how to best integrate ax with our current system while improving the user experience, and look at ways to leverage Aruba’s NetInsight Green AP capabilities to potentially reduce energy usage and costs.”

CSPI is a Florida-based solutions provider helping customers meet the performance, availability and security requirements of their network, applications and services.

“The real value in the Aruba 802.11ax solution is that the infrastructure is leveraged with automation and IoT in mind,” said Peter Kaufman, Vice President, Advanced Technologies, CSPi. “By using NetInsight and new IoT protocols like ZigBee, our customers will be able to create the autonomous experiences they want while delivering performance-stringent applications and securely connecting IoT devices over Wi-Fi with ease.”

Zunesis is a Colorado-based IT Solution Provider and Value Added Reseller (VAR) that delivers end-to-end infrastructure solutions, IT business solutions, and IT professional and consulting services in the Western United States.

“Our customers are seeing a major increase in IoT use cases resulting in additional requirements for the network and IT,” said Steve Shaffer, Founder and CEO, Zunesis. “A significant benefit of the Aruba 802.11ax solution is that it’s built with integrated IoT connectivity capabilities. Having one hardware platform with Aruba that supports ZigBee and Bluetooth 5 will help eliminate the need for separate IoT networks, allowing organization to get more out of their infrastructure investment while reducing IT overhead.”

Additional Resources
• Blog – Deliver Amazing Experiences with Amazing Simplicity with Aruba
• Blog – Discover a New Way to Save: Green APs

Footnote 1: Gartner, Cool Vendors in Employee Engagement and Enablement in the Digital Workplace, September 2018, ID: G00355285

About Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is a leading provider of next-generation networking solutions for enterprises of all sizes worldwide. The company delivers IT solutions that empower organizations to serve the latest generation of mobile-savvy users who rely on cloud-based business apps for every aspect of their work and personal lives.

To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.

Jared Miller leaves Falcons for Madison Square Garden

Jared Miller, former chief digital officer for the Atlanta Falcons, has moved to a new job with Madison Square Garden. Credit: Paul Kapustka, MSR


In a personnel move that may have some technological impact on the upcoming year’s Super Bowl, former Atlanta Falcons chief digital officer Jared Miller is now executive vice president and chief operating officer at Madison Square Garden Ventures, according to Miller’s LinkedIn page.

We haven’t yet spoken to any of the principals involved, so more details will have to come at a later time (maybe at next week’s SEAT conference in Dallas, where the greater world of the sports technology marketplace regularly gathers). Miller, as those who read MSR know, was the point person for all technology deployments at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new roost for the Falcons that opened last summer and is scheduled to host Super Bowl 53 in February, 2019.

If history is any guide, the networking teams at MBS are likely already busy preparing for the NFL’s big game — in the recent past, carriers have used the offseason before a Super Bowl date to update the DAS inside Super Bowl venues, a task likely already underway in Atlanta. What’s not known is how Miller’s departure may or may not affect technology strategy decisions, either on the DAS side or on the Wi-Fi side of things. After touring MBS during a press day last summer, MSR did not receive any network-performance updates during the 2017 football season, despite repeated requests to stadium representatives, including Miller.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium also hosted the College Football Playoff championship game this past season, but for the first time in years the stadium hosting the game did not provide Wi-Fi usage statistics.

Preakness gets Aruba Wi-Fi network just in time for Saturday’s race

Selfies should be easier to share this year at the Preakness, thanks to a new Wi-Fi network at Pimlico Race Course. Credit: Preakness Instagram (click on any photo for a larger image)

Talk about a photo finish: According to executives at the Pimlico Race Course, a new Wi-Fi network using gear from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, will be ready to greet fans who arrive for Saturday’s 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes.

Thanks to some hard work from network construction teams who are good mudders, the new network and its 330-plus APs for both the main buildings and the infield at the Baltimore, Maryland track that hosts the second stop of the Triple Crown got finished at the wire, according to Joe Blaylock, director of IT for Pimlico.

“We took a 4-to-6 month project and did it in 3 weeks,” said Blaylock in a phone interview, chuckling as he recalled the challenges of deploying a network around bad weather and tight deadlines.

“We weren’t laughing three weeks ago,” Blaylock said. “But we’re at 99 point 5 percent. Anyone at the property [Saturday] will get on Wi-Fi.”

Improving the fan experience

Though Pimlico had some limited Wi-Fi prior to this year, Blaylock said Belinda Stronach, the chairman and president of track owners the Stronach Group, gave his group a goal to bring more extensive connectivity to the venue so fans could use mobile devices however they wanted. With a history of using Hewlett Packard technology in its back end networks the track’s IT team found what they needed in the Aruba Wi-Fi offerings and with the help of deployers MS Benbow, got the network installed just before post time.

Two hundred-plus new APs will serve the infield crowd at the Preakness

According to Blaylock the new network increased the AP count for the infield (where 60,000 or more of the expected Preakness crowd of 140,000 congregates) to 200 APs, up from about 38 last year; in the main seating structures, there are now 130 Wi-Fi APs, up from 40 in 2017.

“Last year we could barely support 4,000 or 5,000 fans [on the network],” Blaylock said. “Now we can handle 50,000 concurrent users.”

One thing the new network will enable is mobile betting for the entire facility, through the Xpressbet service also owned and run by the Stronach Group. While the venue does not have a distributed antenna system (DAS) for enhanced cellular service, Blaylock said both AT&T and Verizon Wireless have brought in Matsing Ball antennas for temporary coverage, especially for the infield crowds. There is also a new 10 Gbps backbone pipe to support the new Wi-Fi network, Blaylock said.

And thanks to his crew’s ability to conquer a construction “trifecta” of “no time, bad weather and tired humans,” fans at this year’s race who don’t cash in at the betting window should still find the Wi-Fi connectivity a winning bet, Blaylock said.

(Thanks to the Pimlico folks, Aruba and MS Benbow for sending along the following photos.)

We are guessing on these photos, but some like this one are pretty self-explanatory.

Guessing again but most likely an infield AP deployment.

That’s one way to get an AP out over the overhang to cover seats below.

AP in upper right corner to serve what looks like betting/hospitality area.

If you look closely there are APs on larger front stanchions serving this premium seating area.

Cranes, dust dominate Los Angeles venue sites

Three Los Angeles-areas venues are under construction for soccer, football and the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Workers install turf at the Banc of California Stadium (click on any photo for a larger image)

Between the cranes, earthmovers and swarms of fluorescent vests, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Los Angeles basin for a construction zone. Sporting-wise, there are three construction zones, including a new stadium for a Major League Soccer latest expansion franchise, the venerable Coliseum gets a much needed renovation, and a bling-y NFL stadium starts to emerge from the silt of the Angeles alluvial plain.

Construction or renovation plans for all the venues were underway before the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2028 Summer Games to Los Angeles last fall; all three venues are expected to host Olympic events in a decade.

Banc of California Stadium opening this April

Editor’s note: This profile is an excerpt from our latest STADIUM TECH REPORT issue for Spring 2018, which includes a look at Wi-Fi performance during the Final Four, a recap of wireless performance at Super Bowl 52, a profile of the Vegas Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena and more! DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY right now from our site!

Let’s take them in the order they’re expected to open. In its inaugural season, Major League Soccer’s newest franchise, Los Angeles Football Club, is moving with speed and efficiency to make sure the Banc of California Stadium is ready for LAFC’s first home game April 29.

The 22,000-seat venue features steep stands (35-degree angles), with no seat more than 135 feet from the playing field. IBM was tapped to handle the stadium’s technology requirements in October 2016; Ruckus supplied the access points for the new stadium, according to Christian Lau, LAFC’s VP of information technology. About 500 APs will blanket the stadium with Wi-Fi; Lau told Mobile Sports Report that number could “possibly trend higher.”

Construction at the LA Coliseum

Right next door (literally) is the Los Angeles Coliseum, where demolition began in January after the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams playoff loss to Atlanta. Located on the campus of the University of Southern California, the Coliseum is home field for both the Rams (at least til 2020… more on that in a second), and the USC Trojan football team. The Coliseum has already hosted opening ceremonies for two Olympiads and is poised to do the honors again.

Coliseum upgrade means fewer seats, more Wi-Fi

In the meantime, construction crews are working 16 hours a day, six days a week, according to Derek Thatcher, IT manager at the Coliseum and an employee of USC, which oversees and administers the venue for Los Angeles County. This is the eighth renovation of the 97-year old venue; in addition to making the bowl ADA-compliant, this latest upgrade will add more aisles and larger seats, reducing capacity from 93,607 to 77,500.

New Wi-Fi is also part of the renovation plan; no word yet on which vendor will supply gear, though Mobilitie donated Aruba APs last year for use in the student section and elsewhere in the bowl.

About half the Coliseum’s $270 million renovation will be done during this year’s football offseason; a new field and refurbished seats will be ready for the Rams and Trojans by late summer. Remaining construction and upgrades will be completed in the 2019 offseason, according to Coliseum officials.

Meanwhile, 9 miles southwest of USC in the LA suburb of Inglewood, the arcs of a bowl for the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park
are taking shape. Construction crews broke ground in late 2016 to transform a 300-acre site into a gleaming new sporting destination. The $2.6 billion complex will be shared by the Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers starting in 2020; LA Stadium is scheduled host the Super Bowl in February 2022.

With a capacity of 70,000 (expandable to 100,000), the stadium’s indoor/outdoor design and a two-sided, 120-yard oculus video display are already generating buzz. Site managers haven’t mentioned any network technology or which vendors they’re considering for wireless and other IT requirements. LA’s Olympic planning committee also reserved the option to use the stadium and the Coliseum for dual-venue opening and closing ceremonies in 2028. Using the Coliseum satisfies the Olympic purists; mixing in LA Stadium would provide the glitzy spectacle global audiences have come to expect from Olympics hosts.