How Wi-Fi Reworked the Fan Expertise for the New England Patriots


Each Sunday, greater than 65,000 followers present as much as Gillette Stadium ready for the following thrilling second in New England Patriots franchise historical past. The group has constructed a best-in-class profitable legacy and are identified for his or her precision, finesse and preparation. They’re at all times prepared to achieve a aggressive benefit. That’s the mentality of the Kraft Group, the holding firm of the New England Patriots, New England Revolution sports activities groups and manufacturing teams reminiscent of Rand Whitney, Rand Whitney Containerboard, Worldwide Forest Merchandise LLC, New Indy Containerboard, Unified2 Packaging Group, Gillette Stadium and retail operation Patriot Place.

In 2012, the group was able to make one other leap. They made a giant wager on Wi-Fi – transferring it out of the suites and into all the bowl at Gillette Stadium, with a imaginative and prescient to utterly change the way in which followers expertise the sport. Profitable on the sector wasn’t sufficient. They had been decided to seek out new methods to win massive off the sector and within the stands. For a company that had constructed its legacy on a collection of a few of sports activities most defining moments, this new strategy to fan-facing Wi-Fi was born from a collection of strategic investments and calculated dangers.

From Making a Leap to Setting the Bar for Fan Expertise

In 2012, the New England Patriots started a 10-year partnership with Excessive Networks. The aim: present high-density Wi-Fi to each visitor at Gillette Stadium.

Patriots Fan on mobile phone filming the action

But, given the dimensions and scope of the stadium, there have been many challenges in constructing a Wi-Fi community that would concurrently help 65,000 followers. The plan was to first ship content material by way of the stadium app, updating followers on participant stats, offering authentic brief type content material concerning the staff and extra. However the longer-term was a lot greater. Like all the pieces else they do, the Patriots wished to set the usual of what “nice” connectivity appears like within the stadium and as soon as that was achieved, the choices had been infinite.

“You consider all the good moments in Patriots historical past. It’s at all times higher to have been there than to have watched it on TV. So, for those who can marry that pleasure with the creature comforts that you’ve got at house, that modified all the pieces when it comes to what was attainable on sport day.” –Fred Kirsch, Writer and VP of Content material, Kraft Sports activities Group

Whereas the New England Patriots compete with different groups on the sector every week, groups throughout the league are collaborating on new methods to counterpoint the fan expertise whereas on the sport. The true competitors is with the expertise a fan has at house.

Reimagining the Stadium expertise by Connectivity

Initially, the Wi-Fi Fan expertise was an experimental service reserved for membership members. They obtained unique perks like further digicam angles of the motion or digital souvenirs from the sport. Having discovered although the pilot that Wi-Fi is an enabler of the fan expertise, it turned the information the Kraft Sports activities Group wanted to go full scale and tackle the bowl. There have been many experiments alongside the way in which. Some succeeded and fed the following nice innovation and others failed and had been chalked up as a studying expertise.

Fred Kirsch, Kraft Sports Group, Takling

Delivering a stadium expertise higher than staying house

It begins on arrival, within the car parking zone. Wi-Fi is prolonged past the bowl, within the concourses, by the walkways, all the way down to the turnstiles that present entry into the expertise. Having gone utterly digital for ticketing, it’s the second that units the tone for the fan expertise for the remainder of the day.

In soccer and in life, it’s about getting the small issues proper, and what looks like insignificant successes, like a working digital ticket, compounds into main successes, like shorter strains, quicker entry to seats. Advances in cell ordering means shopping for meals and selecting it up when it’s prepared versus ready in line and lacking a pivotal catch on a go-ahead landing. None of that’s attainable with out Wi-Fi because the spine.

“I believe there’ll come a time the place persons are sporting for instance glasses that provide you with them stats who’s on the sector, you recognize the kind of subsequent gen stats that you recognize you will get in your cellphone now, you’ll be capable of get it when you’re obtained a beer in a single hand and a hotdog within the different.” –Fred Kirsch, Writer and VP of Content material, Kraft Sports activities Group

The fan expertise is about bearing private witness to greatness, and you’ll’t do this ready in line. That’s why the Kraft Group has labored diligently to leverage Wi-Fi to restrict time away from the seat and at all times maintain followers linked to the motion.

Personalizing Engagement at Stadium Scale

Getting the fan expertise proper isn’t nearly cell purposes. There’s a symphony of motion taking place behind the scenes operationally that’s simply as necessary to the fan expertise and simply as reliant on Wi-Fi.

Michael Israel, Kraft Group, Talking

Much like a soccer play, the place 11 specialised gamers should transfer in unison to satisfy an goal, creating the seamless fan expertise requires a seamless employees expertise as nicely. That’s why Kraft Group staff are linked as quickly as they arrive on the stadium grounds. The instruments they use are also linked to Wi-Fi, and that dependable, linked expertise is simply as essential to them as it’s to the followers’.

“When our staff get off of a shuttle bus, they’re in a position to soar on the Wi Fi community to clock in to hit our worker purposes for checking functions. After which over half of our point-of-sale terminals are hooked up to the Wi Fi community, which expands our attain profoundly.” –Michael Israel, CIO, The Kraft Group

The power to increase one’s attain is the transformational influence that Wi-Fi has had. And it’s necessary to notice that company and staff alike depend on the identical wi-fi community to efficiently work together throughout the almost 2 million sq. ft of Gillette Stadium.

Studying from Each Interplay

Delivering the optimum fan expertise constantly, sport after sport, requires measurement and analytics. The Kraft Group depends on these instruments to measure not solely how the Wi-Fi community is dealing with the calls for of a full bowl at an occasion, but in addition how they’ll reply to the information and develop findings that result in higher choices transferring ahead.

A computer screen showing ExtremeCloud IQ Wireless Analytics

“By the usage of analytics, we will see from warmth maps we will see if company are shifting after which if we have to shift employees accordingly, we will cope with that actual time. With the deployment of Wi-Fi 6, our throughput has elevated our efficiency has elevated. We’re in a position to lengthen additional out with our choices primarily as a result of we’ve prolonged the attain of Wi Fi we’ve prolonged the place we need to connect with the place we would like company to have the ability to connect with.” –Michael Israel, CIO, The Kraft Group

Following any soccer sport and also you’ll discover gamers again at staff headquarters in convention rooms learning sport movie, reviewing what occurred on the sector. The place had been the gaps within the protection? What had been the missed alternatives?  How can tendencies be exploited subsequent time?  The identical is true for evaluating the stadium expertise after the lights have shut off and the followers have returned house.

An Extreme Networks Access Point with a Patriots Logo on it.

Evaluation of fan habits, nonetheless innocuous, can, infrequently, result in profound discoveries. These discoveries then result in the creation of latest, proactive providers that create novel experiences that drive followers again to the stadium, repeatedly. Maybe autonomous buying at concession stands gave solution to automated beer pouring, an actual function of the fan expertise at Gillette Stadium!

A extra pragmatic means analytics have been used to bolster the fan expertise is to develop lavatory wait occasions. Followers have entry to attend occasions for the 5 bogs nearest to their seat. Understanding motion patterns in concourses and the place cell gadgets sit in queue helps followers choose their finest path to reduction and shortens the time away from the occasion.

“When you’ve got a live performance like Taylor Swift, which, in contrast to soccer, is usually feminine. So now we convert lots of the bogs from males to girls. So in all probability 75% of the bogs are for girls throughout a Taylor Swift live performance, and simply figuring out the place the strains are or was actually useful for followers. Having, Wi-Fi and having digital choices actually lets you adapt from occasion to occasion.” –Fred Kirsch, Writer and VP of Content material, Kraft Sports activities Group

It’s been mentioned, “Information is energy,” and the learnings about fan habits by the usage of Wi-Fi analytics has enabled the Kraft Group to ship highly effective experiences to every visitor who passes their turnstiles.

Past the Stadium and into the Warehouse

Success at Gillette Stadium and insights gained from analytics of the fan expertise feeds into technique throughout all the Kraft Group, the guardian firm of the Kraft Sports activities Group. For among the different companies beneath their administration, success on Sunday means extra environment friendly manufacturing Monday by Friday.

A worker in a factory at a machine.

“We have now manufacturing services all through the Northeast. All of them use Excessive Wi-Fi for quite a lot of functions. From our forklift monitoring, to digital warehousing, to worker interplay, to monitoring the place vehicles are in our services and monitoring the place they’re transferring in and about in our services, to wherever we will lengthen the reaches of our conventional community, we use Excessive Wi-Fi.” –Michael Israel, CIO, The Kraft Group

It stands to motive that the advantages of understanding the circulation of individuals in a stadium would inform higher methods to maneuver uncooked supplies by a manufacturing facility. Understanding the place bottlenecks are at a concession stand would possibly produce strategies that may be useful for manufacturing and vice versa. A dependable Wi-Fi community throughout tens of hundreds of individuals means much less menace of operational downtime the place misplaced time equals misplaced income. These sensible purposes of how one answer would possibly apply in a unique {industry} and the brand new enterprise alternatives it may well foster by analytics is the kind of ingenuity that has turn out to be the hallmark of the Kraft Group and its affiliated corporations.

Excessive is The Proper Accomplice for the Kraft Group

10 years in the past, Wi-Fi at Gillette Stadium was simply an experiment, and Excessive Networks wasn’t the one vendor that supplied Wi-Fi tools to the market, however the Kraft Sports activities Group selected Excessive not just for its ability at architecting high-density wi-fi networks, but in addition due to the intangibles that matter after the community has been put in.

A projector with light coming out of the lens

“That’s what we search for right here on the Kraft group with any of our distributors. We like to enter enterprise with them. And I’m simply proud to know that we had been the primary NFL staff that Excessive did Wi-Fi with and now look what they’re doing with all the opposite sports activities. I really feel proud that we had been collectively from the start. I like seeing the expansion that they’ve had and so they’ve turn out to be the type of Cadillac of Wi-Fi experiences for sports activities.” –Fred Kirsch, Writer and VP of Content material, Kraft Sports activities Group

The Roman thinker Seneca famously mentioned, “Luck is what occurs when preparation meets alternative.” Whereas it might have taken just a little luck for his or her massive bets to repay, it’s the meticulous planning and drive for excellence that has made the fan expertise at Gillette stadium the gold commonplace for sports activities.

For greater than 10 years, alongside the Kraft Sports activities Group and its associates, Excessive has been proud to help in Gillette Stadium’s digital transformation, the evolution of expertise in sports activities and the extension of Wi-Fi into new industries.

Growing industry-leading Wi-Fi, delivering real-time efficiency analytics and taking a real curiosity in prospects’ companies is what differentiates relationships from transactions, denotes companions from suppliers and separates Excessive from the competitors. If you’d like extra out of your vendor than their worth listing, think about Excessive.

Contact Excessive In the present day.



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