The Dr Pepper Ballpark is widely considered to be the crown jewel of venues for minor league baseball in the U.S. The ballpark is located in Frisco, Texas, and is the double A affiliate of the Texas Rangers major league baseball club. Most importantly, the Frisco RoughRiders play to win in the stadium every season.
The ballpark hosts an estimated 70 baseball games a year, each with more than 10,000 fans in attendance, and serves as the host for multiple corporate events. While it is exceptionally equipped to provide fans with endless entertainment on and off the field, its digital options for fans was lacking.
“One of the most common questions we received from fans was ‘how do we log into your Wi-Fi?’ At the time, we were almost embarrassed to reply with the fact that we didn’t have free Wi-Fi available,” said Matt Ratliff, Vice President of Marketing for the Frisco RoughRiders. “In 2017, fans are expecting Wi-Fi when they walk into a stadium like ours and we realized we had to get a solution.”
Looking to find a local partner, the Frisco RoughRiders entered a 5-year partnership with Skinny IT, a Frisco-based information technology (IT) service provider. The RoughRiders wanted a partner capable of deploying high-speed Wi-Fi throughout Dr Pepper Ballpark to open seating and suites, upgrading network security, and enhancing Point of Sale (PoS) and user experience.
The Wi-Fi needed to be scalable to handle tens of thousands of fans for hours at a time during each game while not compromising speed and network reliability. In addition to the IT quality, the teams had three short weeks to plan and implement hardware and software before the 2017 Opening Day.
To begin, the Skinny IT team implemented a switched, redundant fiber-optic network that provided a 40 gigabits-per-second backbone encircling the entire stadium. Next, to allow fans to have Wi-Fi access regardless of where they sat in the ballpark, conduits had to run through seat areas and already established access points, ensuring the free Wi-Fi was literally at the fans’ feet. In the outdoor facilities, access points were mounted in ‘out of sight, out of mind’ areas, such as the eves of buildings, against utility poles and under the scoreboard.
The final product was no small feat, and the Skinny IT team raised the bar in cutting cost. The team delivered fast, high-quality, free Wi-Fi services with installing 20 percent fewer access points compared to similar stadiums and projects of this size. This allows the ballpark to spend less on hardware and services, while keeping the high Wi-Fi standards for fans’ online engagement.
The greatest advantage was not just fan enjoyment, but the sophisticated analytical software installed in the Wi-Fi that tracks, gathers, measures and describes user information. The ballpark can now see in real time who is accessing the Wi-Fi, demographics, high-traffic vendors and areas of the stadium and more, creating an engaging map of the fans’ ballpark experience.
“With these analytics, the Frisco RoughRiders can access large amounts of data to use for future sales and marketing initiatives that are tailored to each fan’s interests,” Sam Darwish, CEO at Skinny IT. “We are proud to exceed expectations by providing not just free Wi-Fi, but giving executives the opportunity to better fan experience in the future by leveraging the insights gained throughout this first season.”
The Frisco RoughRiders are all about a great fan experience. Skinny IT could provide the Wi-Fi experience to all the fans, whether they were in their seats, up at a restaurant or just taking it easy in the lazy river. Now, through Wi-Fi and analytics, the online experience matches the on-the-field entertainment. Batter up!
To learn more about Skinny IT’s Wi-Fi and analytics services, visit www.skinnyit.com.