The connectivity requirements of stadiums and other large-scale venues continue to evolve. But the basics remain the same.
Venue operations teams expect high levels of reliability and resilience from their communications infrastructure at all times. Visitors to stadiums expect to be able to make calls, send data and stream video whenever they feel like it, regardless of how many other fans are doing the same things at exactly the same time.
However, while the requirements remain straightforward, the growing volume of demand coupled with the increasing dependence of stadium operations teams and of visitor experience on high quality and resilient connectivity make the consistent delivery of a wide variety of wireless services ever more challenging.
Over the past five years we have written and posted a lot about this topic, not least because Real Wireless has done a lot of work in this area. Examples include our involvement with two of the UK’s premier sporting venues – Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club – and, since 2007, our work with the Football Association. We are also independent wireless advisors to several more world-class stadiums in the UK. The continually shifting requirements of all these groups has taught us a great deal.
The commercial benefits and challenges wireless can bring to large venue owners and stadium operators are still clear and still valid. There’s no doubt that prioritising higher-quality mobile phone coverage can deliver an overall improved visitor experience. Of course Wi-Fi is heavily in demand – and visitors expect it to be available – but it can’t always be relied upon to deliver on user expectations when it’s needed, especially at times of very high demand and in large volume areas such as stadium bowls.