Soccer fandom is sweeping the nation, from the World Cup victory by the U.S. Women’s National Team to thrilling matches in Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League to the thousands of fans who pack pubs and bars to watch matches from around the world every weekend. But in sports, the game itself is no longer all that attracts fans to the arena. Tech-savvy millennials expect an “Instagrammable,” in-stadium experience, or else they’ll stay back and watch at home. Recognizing the demands of its growing fan base, Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Houston Dash selected Extreme Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) Smart OmniEdge™ solution to provide high-density, professional-grade Wi-Fi connectivity in its home field, BBVA Stadium. The free fan Wi-Fi experience is presented by BBVA USA.
BBVA Stadium is the first MLS stadium to deploy Wi-Fi 6 technology. It will use its new Wi-Fi 6 network to enhance the game-day experience for fans of all ages; and the network will also create the opportunity to enable mobile ticketing and wireless food ordering today as well as potential future innovations such as augmented and virtual reality that will make fans feel like they are on the field. Taking it one step further, the Houston Dynamo and Dash have commissioned local street artists to design Instagram-worthy backdrops throughout the stadium to encourage real-time social sharing.
BBVA stadium holds more than 22,000 fans, puts on an average of 50 ticketed events annually, and has hosted more international soccer games than any other stadium in the United States. It is the home stadium for the Houston Dynamo and Dash soccer clubs as well as the Texas Southern College football team and has the capability to host concerts with top-name artists and performers. In deploying Extreme Elements™ from Extreme's Smart OmniEdge portfolio, teams will be able to seamlessly support mission-critical gameday operations, increase Wi-Fi capacity for their digital-native fans, and lay the foundation for BBVA Stadium to be the most forward-looking, digital soccer stadium in the United States.
- High-density, professional-grade Wi-Fi 6 network: Extreme Switching™ technology and Extreme Mobility™ Wi-Fi 6 access points were designed for the most challenging and dense environments, delivering 4x greater network capacity. With this network upgrade, the Houston Dynamo can power stadium operations and support a growing number of mobile devices and bandwidth-hungry applications. The team also has sufficient capacity to segment the network so media can seamlessly upload large image and video files in real time, without jitter or latency and without impacting operations or fan experience.
- Simplified network management: With the Extreme Management Center™ application the small IT team at Houston Dynamo will be able to shift focus from network and device management to building future-looking in-stadium experiences to satisfy its millennial fanbase.
- Granular visibility and analytics: The IT team is planning to deploy ExtremeAnalytics™ technology to gain granular visibility into network and application performance, users, locations and devices. With this information, Houston Dynamo will be able to deliver personalized offerings to engaged fans, deepening relationships and driving repeat attendance.
The Houston Dynamo and Dash chose Extreme Networks based on the company’s proven track record with professional and collegiate stadiums, esports arenas, and sports leagues. Extreme Networks is the Official Wi-Fi Solutions Provider of the National Football League, delivering high-density Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi analytics solutions to 25 NFL teams, and during the past six Super Bowls. Extreme's networking solutions are deployed at more than 4,500 college campuses worldwide, and the company is a leader in building digital esports arenas, as more schools and colleges look for ways to build competition-ready esports programs as part of their athletic and academic offerings.