Championship games traffic stats: AT&T DAS hits high-water marks; Seahawks Wi-Fi sees 1.6 TB of data

Just a quick update on some wireless usage statistics from the recent NFL championship games in New England and Seattle: According to AT&T, the AT&T customers on the DAS networks at both stadiums hit high-water marks for the host teams this season, well above the traffic averages. And maybe due to their team’s lackluster play for most of the game, fans at CenturyLink Field in Seattle didn’t give the stadium’s new Wi-Fi network a record workout, but did end up using about 1.6 terabytes of data during the Seahawks’ come-from-behind win over the Green Bay Packers.

On the DAS side, AT&T said that the two championship games “resulted in the two greatest data traffic increases of the 10 playoff games compared to their regular season data traffic averages.” During the Patriots’ blowout of the Colts, AT&T customers on the DAS at Gillette Stadium used 444GB of data, a 44 percent increase over the regular-season average at Gillette; and in Seattle, AT&T DAS customers used 496GB, 53 percent higher than the regular-season average at CenturyLink. Remember, these stats are for AT&T customers only, on DAS networks in stadiums where AT&T has a DAS deployment; Mobile Sports Report requested similar data from Verizon Wireless, but Verizon did not respond. AT&T summed up its playoff DAS findings in this press release page.

According to Chip Suttles, vice president of technology for the Seahawks, the CenturyLink Wi-Fi networks saw 20,064 unique users during the NFC championship game, with a peak concurrent user number of 16,078. At CenturyLink there are actually two fan-facing Wi-Fi networks, one exclusively for Verizon customers and the other for all other device users; according to Suttles there was 1.2 TB of data consumed on the main CenturyLink Wi-Fi network, and 198 GB used on the Verizon-only network. Interestingly, media at the game used more data than the Verizon customers, with 223 GB of Wi-Fi traffic used by press, according to Suttles. We also requested statistics from the Wi-Fi operators at Gillette, but have not heard anything back yet.

YinzCam’s Super Bowl stadium app will have instant replays, Super Bowl commericals, stadium maps and more

Screen shot of Super Bowl app for this year's game.

Screen shot of Super Bowl app for this year’s game.

We’ve been waiting for official word on what the YinzCam-developed app for the Super Bowl will look like, and though there’s no press release the page where we are guessing it will eventually be available is offering some details, like the availability of instant replays from different camera angles, video of Super Bowl commercials, and stadium maps.

On the site we found a good how-to story for fans going to the game, which included a link to this page, where we are guessing the Super Bowl stadium app will be available for download. Here is the boilerplate:

New for Super Bowl XLIX, the Super Bowl Stadium App Presented by Verizon aims to take the fan experience inside University of Phoenix Stadium to the next level. Features that will enhance Super Bowl ticketholders’ experiences include exclusive in-stadium video content such as Super Bowl commercials and replays from four different camera angles, stadium seating and concession maps, once-in-a-lifetime gameday opportunities visible only to fans inside the stadium and the option to receive up-to-the-minute gameday notifications. Available on iOS, Android and Windows. Goes Live 23rd January 2015

(Looks like the app is already available in the App Store and in Google Play, but nothing is live; we downloaded the app and the only three buttons available, for highlights, commercials and memories, all say they will be available on Feb. 1 at the stadium, so no idea what the “goes live” on the splash page above means yet.)

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 11.40.41 PMYinzCam founder and CEO Priya Narasimhan had told us earlier this year that a Super Bowl app was in the making, and apparently it will contain features found in some of the latest YinzCam app deployments, such as the Seattle Seahawks’ new stadium app, which has multiple camera angle replays. The Super Bowl app is different from the Arizona Cardinals’ regular stadium app, which was also built by YinzCam, which also features instant replays.

We were able to download the app for iPhone (it’s free) and apparently you will need to be connected to the stadium Wi-Fi (which has the clever SSID of “Stadium WiFi”) in order to view highlights and other video options.

The good thing for fans at the big game, there will be plenty of networking horsepower to keep the app running, no matter where you are. If you’re inside the stadium there is a new Wi-Fi network and a refurbished DAS deployment to keep fans connected; stay tuned next week for our big breakdown of DAS deployments and carrier plans to keep the Super Bowl crowds super-connected.

NBC will live-stream Super Bowl online for tablets, computers; Verizon NFL Mobile will carry for smartphones

Screen shot 2015-01-20 at 10.37.03 AMIf for some reason you are banned from the living room couch for the Super Bowl, NBC has you covered — the network will be streaming the game live online, along with hours of pregame, postgame and halftime festivities — for anyone with an Internet connection and a laptop, PC or tablet.

According to a press release sent out Monday NBC said it will also not require viewers to have a qualifying cable or satellite contract to view the game, thereby eliminating the often annoying login process that accompanies many other online live sports streaming activities. You will, of course, be subject to multiple NBC advertisements but hey — a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to watch the game online.

(Mobile Sports Report is old enough to remember Super Bowl parties where we rented extra TV sets for the bathrooms and the kitchen; now you can just use in-house Wi-Fi and a tablet or laptop, perhaps with a splash guard.)

On the cellular side, if you are stuck somewhere and want to watch on your phone, the only option is having a Verizon contract and using the NFL Mobile app. If you are a More Everything customer the live viewing of the game is free, if not you must pay a $5 monthly charge for the one day in February that you will need premium access. (Pro tip for Verizon customers — don’t forget to cancel that premium access charge the day after the game, since Verizon will happily charge you $5 a month all summer long even though there are no NFL games during that time.)

It’s an easy guess so we will predict right now that this year’s Super Bowl will set new online records for most Internet viewers — without fail this has happened every year since the networks and the league started making the game available online. According to the NBC folks the online stream will have some handy extras, like the DVR feature that lets you scroll back to important plays, as well as additional camera angles and in-game stats.

Now our next dream is for the Shield and its broadcasters to follow ESPN’s lead on the college championships and provide online “Megacast” options for alternate announcers. A man can hope.

SignalShare ‘relaunches’ with new fan-engagement platform for large-venue Wi-Fi

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 6.52.24 AMSignalShare announced today its new LiveFi nGage product suite, a system that combines content, analytics and advertising links to give venue owners and operators a turnkey method to improve fan engagement and perhaps increase revenue opportunities for large-venue Wi-Fi networks.

The product launch coincides with a redesign of the company’s website in what company leaders are calling a bit of a public relaunch, one that includes tweaks like a new logo and subtle changes to main product naming as well as streamlining explanations of what exactly the mobile mass-audience engagement specialist SignalShare does. The Raleigh, N.C.-based SignalShare is also set to significantly increase its operational size soon, as the 20-person privately held company is in the final stages of a “reverse IPO,” going public by acquiring another company that is already trading on the public markets.

Though small, SignalShare has racked up an impressive list of customers for its high-capacity Wi-Fi network design, deployment and management systems and services. Professional teams including the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets all use SignalShare in some capacity for their Wi-Fi network operations, as does the U.S. Open tennis tournament, as well as major entertainment acts like Bon Jovi. The new nGage suite is a top-layer addition to the company’s existing proprietary LiveFi audience engagement platform, which according to SignalShare “leverages real-time analytics and dynamic messaging to deliver location-aware customized content – including offers, discounts and call-to-actions – to attendees’ mobile devices during events.”

In a phone interview this week prior to the announcement, SignalShare founder and chief technology officer Joe Costanzo said that in its operation of stadium and other large-venue networks, SignalShare often found that attendees were using the local networks far more for independent apps like Twitter and Facebook, and in many cases were basically ignoring the team or stadium app.

“The reality in a lot of places is that the mobile app [for that venue] is floating to the bottom of the pile,” Costanzo said. To help remedy that situation, SignalShare came up with LiveFi nGage, which has as its linchpin an HTML5-based portal site that fans are directed to after logging in to the local network.

Increasing ways to monetize the network

Screen shot of nGage Fan Feed. Credit: SignalShare

Screen shot of nGage Fan Feed. Credit: SignalShare

In a demonstration prior to the announcement, the nGage “Fan Feed” component appeared on the device like any other smartphone app, with graphic and text links that could be vertically scrolled through. Through its ability to combine event content, fan social media contributions and advertisements or promotional links, Costanzo said nGage Fan Feed could act as a funnel directing fans to a team or stadium app or website, while also providing up-front engagement opportunities that could go a long way toward helping venues monetize their Wi-Fi network investments.

The HTML5 construction of nGage Fan Feed, Costanzo said, makes it easier for venue owners to change the content feed quickly — an important factor for venues that may host a lot of different events, such as basketball arenas that also have hockey games or concerts. The nGage suite also includes an analytics engine to capture usage patterns across the Wi-Fi network, a feature rapidly being seen as a necessary component for any large venue networking operation.

While the splash-page feel of the Fan Feed could be seen as competition for an arena or team’s own app, Costanzo said that the low engagement rates for stadium or team apps seem to be calling out for some kind of help to keep fans from just using outside apps.

“We’re just reacting to the data we’re seeing,” Costanzo said. “Our goal is to help venues close the circle of engagement, and evolve how you get fans to engage with the event.”

Owning the network

According to Costanzo, SignalShare makes money by being a sort of neutral third-party host for venue Wi-Fi networks, providing the Wi-Fi as a managed service instead of a capital expense. In a recent deal at the University of Maryland where SignalShare partnered with Wi-Fi gear and analytics provider Extreme Networks, Costanzo said SignalShare “owns the network,” and will work to bring in sponsors to share revenue with the school. The LiveFi nGage suite, Constanzo said, will help both SignalShare and the venue owner find a faster ROI.

“We’ve taken the concept of a managed service approach, which is an off-the-books approach for teams and venues,” Costanzo said. Trying to justify the ROI for a stadium Wi-Fi network, he noted, “can get pretty hefty when [the venue] only has six events a year.”

By using nGage and its Fan Feed component, Costanzo said operators can “make sure the sponsor content gets elevated, but that fans are not just slammed by ads, ads, ads.” Costanzo said the LiveFi nGage platform can also be used to push synchronized messaging to other stadium displays, like big screens or LED ribbons.

Reverse merger takes SignalShare public

On the business side, SignalShare is near completion of a planned “reverse merger” with a company called Roomlinx, Inc., a Broomfield, Colo.-based provider of interactive TV applications for the hospitality industry. Roomlinx, which trades on the “pink sheets” over-the-counter market, will own (along with its investors) 14 percent of the new company, which will be called SignalShare Inc. SignalShare will own the balance, and will give $1 million in cash to Roomlinx, according to a news release from last spring that announced the deal.

Stadium Tech Report — NFL stadium technology reports — AFC East

Editor’s note: The following team-by-team capsule reports of NFL stadium technology deployments are an excerpt from our most recent Stadium Tech Report, THE FOOTBALL 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.


Reporting by Chris Gallo

Buffalo Bills
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Seating Capacity: 71,757
Wi-Fi – No
DAS – Yes, 200 antennas
Beaconing – No

The Buffalo Bills have had a busy offseason. After the passing of longtime owner Ralph Wilson, the organization was bought by Buffalo husaband-and-wife team of Terry and Kim Pegula for $1.4 billion. Even while the future of the team was uncertain, the stadium named after its longtime owner became fan-friendlier. New gates to enter the stadium, HD video boards, and increased cell service are just a few of the improvements. No Wi-Fi, but Ralph Wilson Stadium does have over 200 DAS antennas.

New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium
Seating Capacity: 68,756
Beaconing – No

The New England Patriots are doing everything to get fans off the couch and in Gillette Stadium, with Wi-Fi outfitted by Extreme Networks, a team-centric Game Day Live mobile app, and a squad that’s won the AFC East 5 years in a row. Is it time for another Patriots Super Bowl run?

Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium
Seating Capacity: 75,540
Wi-Fi – Yes, 1,100 access points
Beaconing – Yes

Near the end of the 2013 season, Sun Life Stadium became one of the NFL’s first venues to feature beacon technology. The Qualcomm Gimbal contextual awareness platform delivers coupons for concessions as fans walk by and alerts them of shorter wait times on the concourse. Plus, AT&T upgraded the stadium with more than 1,100 Wi-Fi access points and DAS antennas a year ago. All of this has the Dolphins delivering one of the better wireless game day experiences. The search to find a new Dan Marino, however, is still a work in progress.

New York Jets
MetLife Stadium
Seating Capacity: 82,500
Wi-Fi – Yes, 850 access points
DAS – Yes, over 600 antennas
Beaconing – No

There are lots of benefits to hosting a Super Bowl – including the improved connectivity of your stadium. After AT&T and Verizon spent over a year outfitting MetLife Stadium with their own DAS deployments, the stadium saw a 60 percent increase in wireless data from the previous Super Bowl. Safe to say the stadium is well-equipped to easily connect fans with 850 Wi-Fi access points and more than 600 DAS antennas. MetLife Stadium enters its fourth season and continues to make the fan experience unforgettable. Now can the Jets make 2014 an unforgettable season and find their way back to the playoffs?

Tennessee Titans pick Extreme Networks for LP Field Wi-Fi deployment

LP FieldThe Tennessee Titans picked Extreme Networks to provide a Wi-Fi deployment at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., becoming the third NFL team to choose Extreme gear for wireless connectivity.

Along with Wi-Fi integrator PCM, Extreme said in a press release Monday that it will bring both its Wi-Fi networking gear as well as its analytics software to the Titans, to provide a free-for-fans wireless network to all parts of the 69,143-seat LP Field. Previously, Extreme had built Wi-Fi networks for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Extreme may have a leg up when it comes to securing more NFL Wi-Fi deals, thanks to a deal announced earlier this year under which Extreme is the league’s “official provider” of Wi-Fi analytics. Though the deal doesn’t automatically provide Extreme with any signed contracts, in the follow-me world of sports technology deployments one successful implementation plus an endorsement from the league means that at the very least Extreme is on most short lists when NFL teams are seeking Wi-Fi providers. The company is also known for implementing the Wi-Fi coaches idea, where network-knowledgeable employees roam the stands at games to help fans connect to the Wi-Fi.

“Our fans are our number one priority, so being able to provide an enhanced experience for them is a tremendous opportunity,” said Don MacLachlan, executive vice president of administration and facilities for the Titans, in a prepared statement. “The partnership with Extreme will not only positively change the in-game atmosphere but will also allow us to garner deeper insights into how fans interact with their devices while they are in the stadium. Extreme’s Wi-Fi and analytics solution is unparalleled and we are confident we will receive encouraging feedback.”

According to Extreme the network is scheduled to be live in time for the start of the season. The Titans’ first home game of the regular season this year is Sept. 14 against the Dallas Cowboys.