First Look: Shining start for Notre Dame’s stadium renovations, new Wi-Fi network

Notre Dame logo on Wi-Fi railing enclosure at Notre Dame Stadium. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR (click on any photo for a larger image)

How do you bring new technology into a building and institution that embraces history as an integral part of its brand? There may be many answers but in the sports stadium world, Notre Dame’s renovation of its hallowed football field and the addition of high-speed Wi-Fi look like a good example for any other venues trying to solve the same issues.

At this past Sunday’s “New and Gold” game, a sort of glorified scrimmage, the public (including Mobile Sports Report) got its first look at the University of Notre Dame’s Campus Crossroads project, a $400-million plus effort to bring premium seating, a large video board and high-density Wi-Fi to a venue that came to life in 1930, according to university history.

While we will have a full report on our visit to Notre Dame Stadium in our upcoming Fall STADIUM TECH REPORT issue, we wanted to give you a “first look” at the new facilities, which basically include three new large buildings built into the sides of the existing structure, to provide support for the video board as well as two expanded premium-seating and press box areas on either side of the field.

Wi-Fi AP overlooks a concession stand

One of the coolest parts we saw were the new rooftop premium seating areas, where you can sit on a couch and see the full field while also peering out over the edge of the stadium to see Touchdown Jesus, the Golden Dome, and the rest of the world (well, OK, mostly South Bend, Indiana) while enjoying your favorite beverage and speedy Wi-Fi.

The new Wi-Fi network design using Cisco gear was led by AmpThink, and includes custom-designed enclosures for railing-mounted APs that feature a sharp version of the “ND” logo known to any football fan. Though the network hasn’t yet been optimized or tested with a full house of fans, we were still getting solid up/down signals in the 60-70 Mbps range throughout the building, even in low and high bowl seating areas. There is also a new neutral-host DAS in the stadium, built by Crown Castle. According to Notre Dame, Verizon Wireless and AT&T will be live on the cellular network by the start of the season, with T-Mobile to follow soon.

Like we said, look for more details in our upcoming report… but for now enjoy some scenes from Sunday’s game!

A good look across the main east seating section, with Wi-Fi handrail enclosures visible

DAS in the grass: A DAS antenna finds a home in the grassy strip separating seats from the field

The new big screen video board now dominates the south end zone

A good look at how the new structures bookend up to the stadium on its sides

Now that’s a premium suite: Rooftop couch area provides full view of field, plus scenic views over campus and beyond

Additional seating Wi-Fi coverage from small antennas over VOMs

Painted Wi-Fi AP blends in to column in main concourse outside seating area

The view of ‘Touchdown Jesus’ remains unobstructed

Inside look at the swanky, wood-paneled club for premium seatholders in west building

Scoreboard plug for the Wi-Fi

Notre Dame fans already figuring out how to use social media to get on the big screen

Smart fans at Notre Dame — early arrivers went right for the new, padded premium seats

How do you get bandwidth to APs located below grade level? By being clever and using routing down the side of stairways… more details on this trick coming soon!

Extreme, DGP part of Wi-Fi and DAS upgrade coming to Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium

Screen shot 2015-09-03 at 10.47.36 PMExtreme Networks and DAS Group Professionals have been selected by IMG to build a new Wi-Fi and DAS network respectively at Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium, the 82,300-seat home of the Seminoles football team, according to the school’s website.

Extreme, which has mainly made its stadium name in pro football venues, has one other college deployment that we know of but nothing on the scale of regular national-championship caliber FSU. DGP, which was relatively unknown until its Levi’s Stadium deployment last year, is now racking up big deals in a hurry, following its selection (also alongside Extreme) by the Chicago Cubs for new communications infrastructure at Wrigley Field.

Since the press release said the deals are only so far at the “evaluation” stage that means that Wi-Fi and DAS aren’t available yet. More details on this deal as we hear them, in what is shaping up to be a very busy season of new stadium deployments. This also appears to be the first fruit of the Extreme/IMG relationship announced last winter.

YouTube Deal Will Enhance ACC’s Digital Network

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s digital network has introduced a channel on YouTube that will deliver live content from the ACC as YouTube continues to grow as a force in live sports broadcasting with deals such as this.

We have long talked about the emergence of YouTube as a de facto channel for sports, and YouTube has been working hard to cement that position with the ACC deal as one of its more notable deals. However in case you missed it will also be serving up some nice Olympic moments via a deal with NBC that will enable it to show highlights and live events from the London Olympics.

The ACC and YouTube have been partners to a degree for several years and provided exclusive, but not live content at its site since at least 2009, however this takes it a significant step further.

Between that time and now the ACC started a deal with Silver Chalice that enabled it to launch the ACC Digital Network that provided broad coverage of the ACC schools including news conferences, highlights and analysis that could be delivered to both Apple and Android mobile devices.

Now it will also present live events as well as on demand videos that are created by the ACC as well as a live weekly studio program during football and basketball season. There will also be condensed replays of ACC Network productions of football and basketball games.

The current deal will call for the ACC to provide fan access and interaction to its analysts via Google’s Google Hangout. Fans can view, comment upon and share the programming by visiting, or by searching for ACC Digital Network on YouTube.

Of course others are also working on attracting digital partners. The Big Ten Networks recently expanded to support Android in its broadcast and the Pac-12 is increasingly involved in digital media. Still it is nice that the ACC will be presenting live sports to its fan base and other interested parties.