In a world where there is a need to be constantly connected, many people's smartphones hold the key to that connection. They are never too far from their owner, and nearly every urban environment has tower signal or Wi-Fi available to some degree. One place that used to be the exception was professional sports stadiums, to the chagrin of tens of thousands of people at every single event. Luckily, in the past year alone there has been a huge jump in stadium Wi-Fi deployments this year alone according to Mobile Sports Report. Owners have heard the call, and the number of stadiums with full Wi-Fi capabilities has almost doubled to around 65%.
If you're a frequent traveler and looking to catch a Rockies' game next time you're in Denver, you might just be able to skip past those long lines to get in when the doors open. That's because the Rockies have joined the SF Giants, by bringing Clear technology to Coors' Field. That's right, the same tech that let's you skip the line at the airport allows you to skip the line at the ballpark too. The clear system goes live in Denver tonight, and if you're already signed up for Clear, you can use it immediately. If not a Clear member, you can sign up, and they'll even offer you a discount to upgrade to the airport membership.
MLS stadiums are also continuing to grow up and become more connected. After seeing the huge love and admiration fans have for the stadiums of Sporting Kansas City, San Jose Earthquakes, and Houston Dynamo, the management of Orlando City wants to join the stadium technology revolution. In addition to being designed specifically for soccer events, their new stadium plans have also been designed around providing a hi-tech and connected experience for fans. On top of the now standard giant video screen, it will feature robust Wi-Fi and custom apps for food/drink ordering once opened in 2016. Less than 2,000 season tickets are left for it's opening season, despite not yet breaking ground on the site.
At Big 10 media day this past week, Michigan Athletic Director Jim Hackett spoke about improving fan experience at games. Specifically he addressed issues relating to connectivity. Phone signal has always been a problem in large crowds, and in a crowd of 100,000 can be simply a pipe dream. To ease the burden, AT&T started improvements at the stadium with a handful of new antennas and will continue working with Michigan going forward to make improvements.
Over in the Pac-12, existing stadium technology is going to be utilized in a new way in the hopes of increasing fan engagement in the stands. Beginning this year all plays that come under review will have the fans treated to the same replays that the officials are looking at up in the booth. This includes every angle of the play when caught from different viewpoints. This kind of transparency is welcome for many fans, who often feel left in the dark about what is happening during extended replay reviews.