Wednesday November 23rd, 2016

Read about the latest sports tech news, innovations, ideas and products that impact players, fans and the sports industry at SportTechie.com.

Prior to the Washington Redskins’ Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers, the team announced it upgraded its Wi-Fi connection at FedExField to 10 gigabit per second.

While the Redskins touted the bandwidth increase as a way for fans to have a “best-in-class stadium experience,” the team is also encouraging season ticket holders to watch games across the NFL while attending in person.

Season tickets members receive NFL RedZone and NFL Game Pass for free as part of their memberships and with the new Wi-Fi, can take advantage of the faster connection to watch from their seats, according to a recent release.

Like the Redskins, the New England recently updated its connection. At Gillette Stadium, there is the potential for augmented reality integrations in the future. According to Fred Kirsch, Vice President of Content with the Patriots and Kraft Sports Productions, fans now expect a seamless experience online, one that allows them to stay connected anytime, anywhere, regardless of venue.

“We recognize that in-stadium, high-density Wi-Fi connectivity is the next frontier for the NFL,” Kirsch said in a recent statement. “… Looking ahead, we’re confident that we’re prepared to meet our fans’ increasing connectivity demands. Whether it’s wearables, augmented reality or accessing next-gen player stats, we’ll be ready with the best available technology to support our fans.”

In the current digital and Gen Z era, it is becoming more common to see team owners, professional sports leagues and college athletic departments embracing technology upgrades — like Wi-Fi — to support the fan experience, even if it’s not as explicit as the Redskins. There are still others, such as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who are opposed to fans having their phones out during game action.

“Anytime I see someone looking at a phone (during play) I feel like we lose a little bit of them,” Cuban said in January at CES. “Technology can work against you in an arena. You have to be very careful that you don’t do anything that will take the game away.”

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