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Extreme Networks powers superior Wi-Fi experience for National Football League

Extreme Networks powers superior Wi-Fi experience for National Football League

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Extreme Networks powers superior Wi-Fi and provides actionable insights to simplify venue management and improve fan experience.

Extreme Networks, a cloud-driven networking company, has announced it has extended its partnership with the National Football League (NFL) and will remain the Official Wi-Fi Network Solutions Provider and Official Wi-Fi Analytics Provider of the NFL through 2024, adding new Wi-Fi 6 deployments with the Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

As a result, the NFL will be able to provide next-generation in-stadium fan experiences while gathering and leveraging real-time analytics that will help to drive better decisions around both business and venue operations, such as redirecting the flow of foot traffic based on device density or repositioning staff based on current demands.

ExtremeWireless access points and/or ExtremeAnalytics software are currently deployed across 24 NFL stadiums, supporting 25 teams. Through the extended partnership, Extreme will begin working with an additional five NFL stadiums and six teams. Extreme’s solutions have also supported every Super Bowl since Super Bowl XLVIII and ExtremeAnalytics will be in use at SoFi Stadium during Super Bowl LVI in February 2022.

Key facts

• Next-generation connectivity for Ravens, Packers, Patriots and Seahawks: Extreme recently completed network deployments for the Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, upgrading each stadium with a high-density Wi-Fi 6 network as well as simplified Wi-Fi network management solutions. The Wi-Fi network upgrades in all four stadiums will power faster wireless speeds and lower latency than previous generations of Wi-Fi, giving fans the highest quality connection and improving fan-facing technology including stadium apps, mobile ticketing and cash-free payments. Additionally, IT and network management staff will have greater visibility into the Wi-Fi network performance and devices as well as greater control over optimization.

Real-time, actionable analytics across the league: By the start of the 2021 season, ExtremeAnalytics will be deployed at 29 of the 30 NFL stadiums. The extensive use of ExtremeAnalytics across the league enables the NFL to benchmark Wi-Fi network data from team to team and understand common trends, activities and usage patterns. Extreme is rolling out next-generation analytics capabilities to the NFL this season, providing IT teams with richer data sets and insights around app performance and usage, dwell time and location-based services. Operations teams can also use this data for more efficient venue management such as identifying stadium bottlenecks or popular lounge areas and event management teams can gain insights into fan activity to better customize experiences and pinpoint sponsorship opportunities.

Enhanced fan experiences: Extreme’s Wi-Fi solutions deliver high-speed wireless connectivity optimized for high-density venue environments and bandwidth-hungry applications and devices used by both stadium personnel and fans, such as social media apps and mobile card readers. ExtremeWireless Wi-Fi 6 access points also support increased network efficiency by enabling network traffic optimization and prioritization, allowing IT teams across the league to ensure mission-critical applications have the bandwidth necessary to deliver a seamless game day experience.

Powerful solutions for high-density environments: In addition to NFL stadiums, Extreme’s networking solutions are deployed in professional sports stadiums around the world. Extreme also supports more than 17,000 schools and 4,500 college campuses worldwide, powering digital education initiatives and enabling competitive esports programs.

Michelle McKenna, Chief Information Officer, National Football League

Michelle McKenna, Chief Information Officer, National Football League, said: “Fan expectations and demands for technology-driven experiences are evolving and it’s our job to fulfill those expectations every game day.

“We do that by providing great Wi-Fi connectivity, leveraging insightful analytics to improve business operations and creating a simple and effective way for our team to manage the network within a single dashboard.

“Our partnership with Extreme allows us to stay ahead of the curve, providing every team in the NFL with a resource for leading stadium Wi-Fi network technology. We’re extending our relationship with Extreme because we want to continue working with a partner that is equally invested in creating a superior fan experience every single week.”

Norman Rice, Chief Operating Officer, Extreme Networks, said: “Stadium environments require high-density, powerful Wi-Fi networks that can be adjusted and scaled depending on the needs of each event and these are environments where Extreme excels.

“With the right network technology and analytics in place, the NFL can continue to make data-driven decisions that advance the game and keep fans engaged. Network analytics are the currency driving innovative new services like real-time sports betting and mobile concessions.

“We’re proud to extend our long-standing partnership with the NFL, continuing to work together to make technology an integral part of the game both on and off the field.”

Extreme Networks is the Official Wi-Fi Network Solutions Provider and Official Wi-Fi Analytics Provider of the NFL.

Michelle McKenna, Chief Information Officer, NFL, expressed her opinions on the following topics in conversation with Norman Rice, Chief Operating Officer, Extreme Networks, on the Extreme Networks website.

On the NFL’s relationship with Extreme Networks

I have been working with Extreme now for my entire tenure at the NFL. This is my 10th season. I do remember one of my first key conversations was about the lack of connectivity in stadiums at that time. Ten years ago, I think, four or five stadiums had great connectivity.

This has turned out to be a great partnership because now we have great connectivity and Wi-Fi, as well as all kinds of experiences in our stadiums because of that partnership.

On the highlights of her NFL tenure

I’ve always been such a huge football fan, but I came from the theme park world where it was all about experience and immersive experiences that were based on technology.

I thought coming to work for the National Football League would be a lot of fun but I just assumed that all of the connectivity would have been worked out.

It was a lot of fun to be on the digital frontier at that time with all sports coming into it and the NFL taking the lead.
A few highlights along the way were just learning what our fans loved doing the most. And being able to discover that certain clubs had certain expectations and things that their fans liked doing in their mobile apps versus others, and just learning about each club and their particular needs.

On the last Super Bowl being the first ticketless, fully digital cashless event in history and the entire league going digital

We had been preparing for this day for a long time, not because of a global pandemic, but because we knew our fans wanted and needed the ability to not have paper tickets, and to be mobile.

We wanted to be able to gather the right data so that we could make the right kind of decisions about what offerings to give. So we’ve been preparing for it and had been working for this day for a long time.

We just didn’t expect it to all happen immediately and for the reason that it did but thank goodness we were prepared.
Every stadium is mobile. There is no option and it’s got to work. It’s been a big moment for not just us from a tech perspective but for fans too. They know they need to have a phone, download their tickets and go through this process, and they know there is a reason for it.

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