Earlier this week a caller asked Matt and Ryan if the construction at Commonwealth Stadium included installation of some new cell towers to improve service. The guys weren’t sure of the answer. Today we now have it thanks to Jenn Smith of the Herald-Leader and the answer is a bit disappointing.
Jenn spoke with Guy Ramsey, UK’s director for strategic communication, and he said due to “ongoing renovations at the stadium, getting a system into place wasn’t feasible”. Jenn writes:
The 2,000 season ticket holders in the premium seats, as well as fans in the suites, will be given access to a wireless network. But the rest of the stadium might have to wait. Heading into 2016, UK might look into investing in a system for the entire stadium.
To older fans this may not seem like a big deal but to the younger crowd it most certainly is. Since the great recession attendance has been falling on the macro level at just about every major sporting event in the country. One major reason for the attendance decline is the rise of the the HD TV and social media. Why travel miles and miles to sit in the elements when you can have a better view from your couch? One with instant replay, multiple games at your command, interaction via twitter with friends and strangers, and no hassle of traffic.
The live experience has to adapt to provide all these same luxuries but with the added ability to say you were there when “X” happened. It’s the one thing that television or streaming can not replicate. Still, you have to find a way to balance being present and being connected. People want experience the environment for UK-Florida but the also want to tell people about it on Twitter. They want to witness the inside of the new CWS but they also want to Instagram it for all their friends. They want to storm the field when we beat Louisville and go bowling for the first time since 2011 but they want to periscope the view to the rest of the world.
Will the lack of a new system hurt attendance for Commonwealth Stadium’s inaugural year? Probably not but it is something Guy Ramsey should think hard about for 2016. According to CBS Sports fixing cell service would run bout $2 million per stadium but it’s an improvement that all schools will have to make eventually. I’m with Dave Hart, the AD at UT on this one.
“Our next generation of fans is used to staying connected. They should be able to communicate in real time with somebody on the other side of the stadium, it’s quite an investment but we have to make it.” There’s no time like the present.
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