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Would Wi-Fi Bring You Back To The Stadium?

Pictured: Zero Cell Reception

There is absolutely nothing certain in this world but death, taxes, and not having cell service at just about every major sporting event. We’ve all been there, sitting on the rows of Commonwealth trying to get a text out to your buddy holding down the fort in #Section206, crawling in the catacombs of Rupp trying to check the scores from around the sports world, or out at Keeneland trying to tweet to the world what horse you have in the tenth race. Then you get the dreaded message send failure. The simple fact is that if you’re in a place with a lot of people and want to get in contact with the world you’re going to have a bad time. But now the SEC is hoping to change that and their goal is to get more butts in the seats around the league.

For years attendance to major sporting events had been on the decline. Tickets are getting more expensive as televisions are getting bigger & cheaper while providing visual clarity better than most people’s eyesight. The stadium experience has to be improved in order to bring the fans back and the SEC is prepared to spend millions in order to do just that.  The SEC’s Working Group on Fan Experience came together and suggested that schools around the league need to invest in improved cell service and Wi-Fi at a cost of about 2 million per school.  A pretty penny for something that may not have a great return on investment.

Is AT&T to Blame for The Vandy Crowd?

Having access to my phone during a game would be great as a member of the generation of fans that Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said “Is used to staying connected”. However not being able to tweet or text hasn’t kept me away from going to a game to this point. As hard as it is, I can survive the two hours disconnected from the real world. So being able to check various social media during the game just doesn’t seem like a big draw. It’s a nice luxury to have but not one that would convince me to attend a game I otherwise wouldn’t.

For me the bottom line on attendance is the product on the field. 50,000 attending the spring game here is a testament to that. If the fans are excited about the direction of the program then they will show up in droves to support their team. If things aren’t going well (see: Kentucky Football 2012) then the stadium is going to be less than halfway full. What are your thoughts? Will you be excited to have access to your phone during games in the near future? Or do you think everyone’s focus should be on the field?

Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

37 Comments for Would Wi-Fi Bring You Back To The Stadium?

  1. UK
    9:41 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    A decent football team who plays hard and tries to throw the ball down the field would put me in the stands.

  2. bigbluejon
    9:41 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Sounds like another job creator to me! Love the idea of being able to actually use my phone at CWS. Living in Louisville with a wife and young kids staying at home, it can be a little unnerving not having service

  3. No Scrubs
    9:41 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Wi-Fi would be fine. A bubble screen on 3rd down looked just as bad in my living room as it did in person.

    But seriously, you know what will bring the crowds? If the big six conferences committed to only playing each other. No more non-conference cupcakes.

  4. BigBlueCardsFan
    9:45 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    LMAO they will do anything to put butts in the seats at commonwealth

  5. Ruppeat Offender
    9:47 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I think the benefits would be realized by the surrounding campus moreso than the game attendees. It would just be a bonus for fans. There have been dozens of times that I wish I could keep up with other SEC games or some Fall races while I’m at Commonwealth. Think about how many folks have a tailgating setup with a TV to watch other SEC games.

  6. Matt Jones from Duke
    9:52 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I switched to verizon so I could get service in rupp. how else am I supposed to text rick pitino live updates of the games?

  7. Old School
    9:53 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I prefer to get away from the “connected world” at the game. If I want to “stay connected”, I’ll watch at home. If you want people playing with their smart phones all game, could you at least put them all in a certain section—away from those of us who actually enjoy the fan experience of watching and being totally into the actual game?

  8. Frew Dranklin
    9:55 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Why are they wasting time talking about this? If they don’t feed this generation’s social media addiction, they can forget continuing to bring new fans into the fold. It’s good for the team when 50,000 people are posting photos from the game. I know Drew and Matt wish they could keep their Words With Friends rivalry going during the games.

  9. Curt D
    9:56 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    #5 Typical UL fan trolling UK blogs. Ive never been on a UL blog, do they even exist? Its probably just a Tattoo Charlies blog. Anyway being able to text during a game would be nice.

  10. Boogie
    9:57 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Stoops is going to crack some helmets on defense and Neal Brown is going to have the ball flying through the air. All I want to see is exciting football. I could care less about what is going on twitter. I know a lot of people couldn’t say the same.

  11. Curt D
    9:58 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    #5 was removed, never mind

  12. JiffyLubeGuy
    10:01 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Forty percent of car crashes occur at intersections, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as do 22 percent of all fatal crashes. Be sure to look both ways while driving!

  13. Jack
    10:18 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Happy to express my thoughts, Andrew. Have seen every home football game since 1966 and over 80 percent of games in Rupp Arena. That ought to clue you about my age. Till I read this,, I wasn’t even aware cell phones didn’t work in either venue.

  14. Blueswade
    10:21 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    App idea…
    How about a coordinated app that flashes blue and white from smart phones.
    Probably would not work at commonwealth, but might work in rupp with lights down.
    Would be neat seeing 15- 20 thousand phones flashing blue and white in unison…not sure if it could be coordinated or not.
    Could be neat at midnight madness.

  15. c1doc
    10:31 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I would also love this at Rupp!!

  16. Beavis606
    10:37 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Get service in RUPP dammit!!!!

  17. Unboltedharp
    10:46 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Why would you do that to football fans? I was at a UK vs GA game with a GA fan doing play by play on a phone. He pissed everybody off. If you cannot live without a stupid phone for a couple hours, then you need help! Sad that so many lives are controlled by a damn phone.

  18. kfund
    11:15 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    It would help, really in a number of ways.

  19. Sean D
    11:53 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    The Vandy game last year was love, I texted about and took pictures of empty seats all day.

  20. Benjamin
    12:21 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    I would love to have phone service at CWS or RUPP! I’d want to attend more games.

  21. SeaCat
    1:04 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    Home on a couch with a wide screen
    beats stadium torture anytime!!!
    If not for tailgating, stadiums would have
    died years ago…

  22. Ukbradstith
    2:18 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    I have perfect service in rupp

  23. BoCoCat
    3:53 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    Wi-fi on its own? Not a huge draw. Now if they had some sort of in-stadium service that you could use when connected (I know some NFL teams have something similar) to do stuff like view replays, live stats, include game/stadium/team trivia, a couple of football related games for little kids who lose interest after halftime to play so they’re not squirming and screaming, maybe get a special halftime update/coach comments, stuff like that. Wouldn’t be enough to swing on the fencers most likely, but at least it’d be something unique and nice if you’re going to spend the money to install wi-fi anyway.

  24. Beavis606
    7:31 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    #22, NO ONE has perfect service in RUPP

  25. Burly
    7:34 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    Agree with 21…if not for tailgating I would never step foot in Lexington on a Saturday. Watching in HD and having access to all college football games is much better than the setting on a bleacher around idiots…listening to some goof yell 1st down Kentucky.

  26. Michael
    8:09 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    It’s not really an issue if you don’t have AT&T. The other networks seem to work just fine….or at least passable.

  27. KentuckyHouse
    8:18 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    Here’s the thing…WiFi would allow you to check your social media during the game via a data connection, but it’s not going to help you make a call or send a text. Why? Because only T-Mobile allows WiFi-calling (outside of Apple’s iMessage, but if you’re still using an iPhone…bless you, you poor bast-rd). AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint don’t. So really, this wouldn’t help much of anything. Because UK chose to get in bed with Verizon as their corporate sponsor instead of AT&T (only the most popular cell service around central Kentucky), only the select few Verizon customers at games will still be able to get service. For the rest of us on AT&T (which means the majority of us), we’ll continue to just get sucky service at the stadiums. Way to do your homework, UK! Let’s go with the cell company with the least amount of customers in our area as our corporate sponsor!

  28. Blame the celll companies
    11:35 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    I have very little problem at UL games and only some problem at Churchill Downs. Both have a lot of people like Commonwealth. Does anyone have a precise cell tower coverage map b/c AT&T stinks anywhere near Commonwealth – parking lot, campus and especially inside. Same with Rupp. I switched to Verizon and a big reason was UK sports. When I go to games and the wifey cannot get in touch with me to tell me how loud the kids are screaming it is a bad night in my house.

    Wi-fi would be great but closer cell towers would be better.

  29. Barry Thaxton
    11:47 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    The schools (and other organizations)should consider mobile platforms to deliver temporary increases in phone and Wi-Fi service. Would be a benefit whenever you get a big crowd together.

  30. UK6MAN
    12:03 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    If the game is exciting enough and keeps your attention you will not have time to look at your phone. Just keep getting hte 4* recruits and mix in some 5*’s and lets put a competitive team on the field and every seat will be full no matter what.

  31. Really
    12:43 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    Really are we there to watch games or watch your phone…….. all some people at Rupp do is look down at there phone the whole game. What is the point in even going if you arent going to watch………. i say ban all phones at any sporting event unless you are with the media……. bring a camera if you want pics

  32. Duffus
    12:49 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    What Phone? Two places I escape golf course and watching the “Air Raid” offense!!! It’s a hurry up offense — don’t want to miss the action– 5 season ticket holder!!!

  33. Josh
    1:32 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    This seems like a story that is not really intended for Kentucky. If Kentucky has two million dollars to spend on stadium renovations, I doubt that they would want to spend it on cell service and wifi.
    Teams like Alabama, Florida, and LSU don’t have to deal with attendence issues or creating a winning product on the field. Their concern is making sure that their stadiums have great cell service and wifi so they have something to keep them occupied when the they are beating other teams down.

  34. Buzz Lightbeer
    4:52 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    Two Words = Sell Booze

  35. To win me back
    4:57 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    I want all the seats to be blue and white chair-back seating. I’m tired of the fattys buying one seat but occupying part of my seat as well.

  36. Dwntwn
    6:30 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    For me, it’s not about checking social media….d-bag. It’s about calling or receiving calls to check on my….I don’t know……..KIDS……IN CASE OF A FREAKIN’…….oh I don’t know……EMERGENCY!!!

  37. Stork Montgomery
    4:43 pm May 30, 2013 Permalink

    WIFI is a band aid…DAS or Distributive Antenna System is what the stadium needs…They need a neutral host system that will house AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint. I am a member of SMA and SVG, both will tell you that having good connectivity during any event is a must to keep fans returning. People want to follow the other games and browse their social media. The Amway Center in Orlando has a neutral host and they will tell you their fans have a great experience at their venue. I see people taking their tablets to the games this fall.