Sports venues are searching for new and inventive ways to attract fans to events and engage them during games through digital technology. Today, Extreme Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) announced that the University of Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center has taken a major step forward, by tapping Extreme to deliver a professional-grade, high-density Wi-Fi network capable of simultaneously supporting venue operations and the digital appetite of 13,000 attendees, while providing a robust foundation to create next-generation fan experiences like augmented reality.
The Petersen Events Center hosts more than 100 events each year, including basketball games, concerts, and graduations, and the network is essential to powering its wireless ticket scanners, merchandise sales and myriad connected devices. It previously relied on the University’s campus network to deliver Wi-Fi access. However, the overtaxed network did not offer sufficient capacity or scale to meet University needs and the event center’s game-day demand for secure and reliable service, resulting in complaints from fans and the media.
Working with Extreme Networks and deployment partner, Ideal Integrations, Petersen Events Center built its own separate network, which seamlessly sends traffic back to the campus network in order to rapidly authenticate users. The new network supports the high bandwidth demands of spectators and media, and quickly resolves bottlenecks to ensure a quality, interactive fan experience. Leveraging a combination of Extreme Elements™, Petersen Events Center now has the building blocks in place to enable future digital innovations such as interactive scoreboards, an advanced game-day application equipped with mobile ordering services – supported by geofencing and beacon technology – and augmented reality experiences.
–High-density, professional-grade Wi-Fi network: Leveraging ExtremeMobility™ access points and ExtremeSwitching™ technology, Petersen Events Center has the scale and capacity to provide a frictionless game day experience. Students and fans can share their experiences on social media, instantly access real-time statistics and commentary, and stream instant replay videos on their mobile devices, while media can upload high-quality photographs and video during games without jitter or latency.
–Streamlined network management: Petersen Events Center’s IT staff of three needed a network solution that was easy to implement, so IT can focus on forward-looking initiatives, rather than troubleshooting and device management. With Extreme Management Center™, the IT team can automate and manage the network with a single pane of glass and ensure smooth operations during events.
–Full control and granular visibility: Combining ExtremeControl™ NAC software with Extreme Management Center™, Petersen Events Center now has centralized, end-to-end control of its network with granular visibility of all guest and IoT devices to ensure simple and secure onboarding and reduce security vulnerabilities.
Heather Lyke, Director of Athletics, University of Pittsburgh
“It’s a top priority for us to provide our fans with a complete experience when they visit the Petersen Events Center, whether it’s for a game, concert, or graduation. In this day and age, that experience is significantly measured by connectivity. How well do phones work in your venue? Do fans have access to social media? Is your Wi-Fi overloaded? This isn’t considered a luxury anymore—it’s an expectation. Through our partnership with Extreme Networks and Ideal Integrations, our fans can now enjoy seamless connectivity at ‘The Pete.’ This was an important step in helping us make the Petersen Events Center a contemporary, tech-driven venue, which will greatly enhance the experience for all.”
John Brams, Director, Hospitality, Sports and Entertainment, Extreme Networks
“Mobile connectivity is at the heart of today’s game day experience. If you don’t design your network with the ‘second screen’ in mind, your fans won’t stay ‘fans’ for long. The University of Pittsburgh recognized this and is now deploying a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi system that supports real-time fan engagement, and streamlines operations and management, so IT staff can focus on building even more personalized and interactive experiences.”
Michael Stratos, Founder and CEO, Ideal Integrations
“At Ideal Integrations, we strive to equip customers with the technology and skills they need to gain a competitive advantage. With Extreme, we’ve been able to help Petersen Events Center solve their immediate wireless needs and give them the power to innovate. With a powerful and reliable network in place, Petersen Events Center can have the confidence to tackle the future-looking projects they’ve been sidelining.”