I’ve a bit of experience at deploying wifi to stadiums at sports stadiums. The business model is straightforward:
You offer free wifi access to spectators who otherwise would have trouble getting 3G or 4G access due to the short-term convergence of thousands of other spectators.
In return you capture spectators registration details, which you can subsequently use for marketing purposes. You can also force visitors to a landing page after the login, which can carry advertising. Finally, you can control access to premium event-related sites, like gambling. The venue can prohibit access to betting sites apart from their (paying) betting partner.
This technology has been around for a while but the tools and processes to commercialise it are still relatively new.
Venues across the country are already doing all of the above, but we’re only at the beginning of how sports venues engage with the phone in the hands of their in-stadium spectators. The venues control premium content – like replays of goals or key incidents, which they can use to entice stadium visitors to register, login and view adverts. You can view a goal reply on stadium screens, but this technology would allow you to view incident whenever you want, from whatever camera angle you want – great if you’re stuck at one end of the ground and want to see an incident in the opposite penalty area.
Eventually you will be able to order snacks or buy shirts through the same app you use to view replays. The possibilities are endless: view Benchcam to see who is doing what in the technical area, click on your adjacent Kioskcam to see if there’s a queue before leaving your seat.
Sizing an install is a straightforward process. You start with the capacity of the venue, then estimate what percentage you’ll get to register, then estimate how many will want to access the internet simultaneously, then estimate their average bandwidth requirement.
From that you get an estimate of what throughput your access points need (and where they are needed), what routers you need, and the leased line bandwidth. This exercise has been done in practically every town in the country.
It’s inconceivable # 1
It’s inconceivable that the supplier and customer have not gone through this sizing procedure. There will be email trails confirming the process.
It’s inconceivable # 2
It’s inconceivable that a customer expects 100% of their maximum population to register, login and access the internet simultaneously. Especially so if the customer already had a stadium wifi installation and was aware of visitor login profiles. If they did, their supplier would size accordingly, but this would have been well covered during the preliminary conversations.
It’s inconceivable # 3
The deal Newco Rangers are trying to get out of was signed under then chief executive, Charles Green. Star witness for the plaintiff would surely be the directors from the other side who instructed the deal:
Counsel: “Mr Green, as chief executive of Rangers International did you instruct our clients to install a wifi at Ibrox allowing around 10,000 users to simultaneously access the internet?”
The Association, the Affiliation and the Irish Association, by some distance the three largest supporters organisations, all issued statements condemning those who use pyrotechnics at Celtic games.
It’s difficult for any group of people counted in the tens or hundreds of thousands to self-police over decades. One of the functions which makes this possible is that when self-criticism is needed, it happens. There was no whatabouterry in these statements, no blaming the media, just the straightforward message about what this behaviour is doing to Celtic supporters.
I don’t know if these statements will make any difference (all points were previously known), but the wellbeing of the support depends no strong voices stepping forward at the right time, especially when they can be shouted down.
The 3rd Annual Celtic Supporter’s Féile takes place in Philadelphia from 29th-31st January, including a Tommy Burns Supper for the first time. Events are based at The Plough & Stars, in the Old City section of Philadelphia, where Celtic supporters from all over the world will gather.
There’s live music and radio shows, a book launch and a Q&A with Supporters Liason Officer, John Paul Taylor. $5 from each ticket also goes to the Foundation.
Book tickets for the Tommy Burns Supper here. If you need accommodation, special rates are available at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District with passcode: Celtic Group.