IT and Data Change the Sports and Entertainment Experience


Hugo Moreno, Contributor

October 8, 2014

The use of information technology and data is not limited to the retail and finance industries. IT and data have invaded the sports industry to create next-generation football stadiums with a robust communications infrastructure, designed to attract more fans than ever. According to “Football Stadiums of the Future: The Tech-Enhanced Experience,” a Forbes Insights study sponsored by Comcast Business, these structures will offer every imaginable form of entertainment and convenience, supported by backup systems designed to troubleshoot any crisis, ranging from power outages to emergency evacuations.

One of the people in charge of designing and building event spaces with these capabilities is David Scott, president of Comcast-Spectacor, a sports and entertainment company and Comcast subsidiary. The company envisions endless screens, a formidable Wi-Fi network, and sufficient charging stations throughout every location in these future stadiums.  However, the technology needed to make this vision possible is still in the early stages. “The sports industry got left behind in its ability to use IT and data,” says Robert Jordan, vice president of Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. However, the good news is that “IT in sports is now moving on a pretty phenomenal trajectory, probably faster than non-sports businesses,” according to Jordan.

Comcast-Spectacor is diligently working to refurbish the Wells Fargo Center that opened in 1996. Though this facility is relatively new, the company wants to make this nothing less than the ultimate showcase for technology. They want to engage fans by providing content before, during and after the show though the use of apps. In order to achieve these goals, the company is:

–       Installing a new Data Antenna System to improve cellular network coverage.

–       Expanding its Wi-Fi footprint inside the Wells Fargo Center to create an even better fan experience.

–       Using fiber-based Ethernet provided by Comcast Business to create a gigabyte connection to the Wells Fargo Center that will enable its Wi-Fi network to become even larger as demand grows.

–       Investing in mobile and location-based services to improve and expand on the visitor experience.

The big hope is that new and refurbished stadiums, with forward-thinking technology, can attract the stay-at-home fan. With any number of HDTVs and hand-held devices, fans are able to do more in the comfort of their home. Much of this involves instant gratification that watching sports at home provides so adequately. However, with endless screens, stronger Wi-Fi signals and overall better facilities, Comcast-Spectacor hopes to create an unforgettable experience for sports and entertainment fans.

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