Lord’s Cricket Ground has been brought into the internet age after its owners signed a deal with The Cloud to provide free Wi-Fi access for spectators.
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Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns the venue, has agreed to the five-year contract with The Cloud – the BSkyB-owned Wi-Fi provider – and has already rolled out the technology across its media centre and hospitality areas, as well as its public food and bar facilities.
The plan is to get connectivity to every stand at the ground, enabling 28,500 people to surf the web on match days. But when Computer Weekly asked what the timeframe was for this roll-out, we were told the two organisations were still discussing it.
However, we were told the spectators wouldn’t have to pay for the connections as The Cloud just asks for a user to register with their name, email and home address.
“The availability of high-speed Wi-Fi adds to the experience of visiting Lord’s,” said Derek Brewer, chief executive and secretary of the MCC. “Spectators spend a whole day with us, so having secure access to the internet means that they can post photos and videos of their experience, as well as keeping up to speed with commentary and analysis of the match online.”
This is the latest in a raft of deals for The Cloud, which now provides Wi-Fi for other sporting venues, such as Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and Silverstone race track, as well as a number of food and drink retailers, such as Wetherspoons, Pizza Express and Caffe Nero. The service now has five million users registered and is present in more than 11,000 locations.
Vince Russell, managing director of The Cloud, claimed the company had doubled traffic on its network over the past six months, with users accessing over 100m minutes per week.
“We are delighted to have been chosen by MCC to provide [the] Wi-Fi access at the spiritual home of cricket,” he said.
“Whether it is an avid fan wanting to discuss the game on Twitter, or a businessperson who needs to send a couple of quick emails between overs, there is a huge need for free Wi-Fi to be available.”
The cost of the roll-out has not been revealed by either party.