GUEST POST: NFL Stadium WiFi/Data Connectivity

In partnership with Gillette Stadium, Verizon FiOS Internet access service #FiOSTailGaming was recently established as an amenity at all stadium events. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement of the venture between Verizon and the New England Patriots’ stadium last May, 31 facilities were part of the future Wi-Fi installation.

The idea to equip sports stadiums with open Internet access follows market research of ticket purchasing behavior. Wi-Fi installation is a response to declines in ticket sales said to be the result of fan preference for virtual reality at home.

With the introduction of Wi-Fi connectivity at NFL stadiums, fans have an equitable experience to that of internet interactivity at home. The on-demand installation of #FiOSTailGaming Wi-Fi access at stadiums is one example of what communications giant Verizon is doing to reinstate real-time in sports media.

The Wi-Fi service concept is also part of an effort to increase ticket sales. This follows low sales performance and blacked out games.

Analysis of the decline in NFL game ticket sales performance in a recent consumer segmentation study showed Web-based interactivity as a preference over real-time stadium experience. Details to the fan segmentation study indicated HDTV simulation outperformed onsite, NFL stadium games.

Other factors connected with low ticket sales: Concession prices (alcohol and food), accessibility to stats, tweeting and exchange of photos and other NFL collateral during games.

The concept for a virtual stadium environment to emerge from the results of the study is a plan to create synchronicity between real-time and virtual action, onsite. Stadiums still have some work in this direction, and Verizon's partnership is a critical link in establishing a total sports entertainment arena, including digital action.

Fan identification with the Verizon brand also reflects association with personalized access. The mobile component is central to this strategy. Most NFL fans own smartphones. The initiation of a mobile NFL user app promotes the idea of stadium access anywhere, anytime.

Some market intelligence specialists suggest that bringing the stadium to NFL fans has been the source of challenge in ticket sales. Others argue it is impossible to replace the comfort of the couch in the stadium, and that fans must reconnect with the excitement of real-time sports entertainment action.

With perks of mobile NFL, continuous streaming of stats and other game information, stadiums turn to technology to rekindle fan interest.

Verizon's partnership is predicted to go a long way for this, as fans associate mobile access with the WiFi service. The launch of Gillette Stadium’s Verizon FiOS service in coordination with Enterasys Networks has been successful. An increase in NFL game ticket sales at participating stadiums across the country is certain to follow.

About the guest author: 
Kelley McGrath is a marketing professional and freelance sports writer.  She recently graduated from Wake Forest University where she played lacrosse for four years and covered sports for the Old Gold & Black newspaper for one year.  She has also served as a contributing writer for Chat Sports.

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