Manchester United signs Extreme Networks to modernise in-stadium connectivity experience

Football club sets out to transform the fan experience and increase its capability to deliver low-latency and secure digital services via fast and reliable Wi-Fi connectivity

With the winter transfer deadline looming, Manchester United Football Club has announced a major signing – Extreme Networks as its official Wi-Fi network solutions and analytics provider.

The cloud-driven networking company has signed a multi-year partnership to provide a digital makeover for the Red Devils’ Old Trafford stadium, and later this year will install Wi-Fi 6 access points that will begin to transform the fan experience with fast, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity and increase the club’s capability to deliver high-performance, low-latency and secure next-generation digital services and fan experiences, for example providing the highest-quality connection and a performance boost for secure fan-facing technology such as mobile ticketing. 

Extreme will also offer high-speed wireless connectivity customised for high-density venue environments and bandwidth-heavy apps and devices used by fans and club officials, with Wi-Fi 6 access points also supporting increased network efficiency to power secure in-stadium services.

Extreme said it would also help Manchester United access real-time network analytics to drive more personalised and informed decisions around the fan experience and overall venue operations. This will provide the club with datasets and insights in real time around performance and usage, dwell time and location-based services.

As a result, it can continuously review and optimise venue management by identifying stadium bottlenecks, overcrowded concessions and other consumer traffic patterns, while gaining insights into fan activity to better customise experiences and pinpoint sponsorship opportunities.

For network administrators, the tool allows a real-time view into the health, performance and security of the stadium, helping officials to monitor and control Wi-Fi capacity and efficiency, device configuration, traffic patterns and analytics to streamline management and performance of the network while scaling IT operations.

Manchester United chief operating officer Collette Roche said the collaboration with Extreme Networks is an important step in the club’s IT enhancement and modernisation, opening up opportunities to deliver next-generation digital services to fans on match days and to visitors throughout the year.

“Old Trafford is known as the Theatre of Dreams because of its 112-year history of triumphs and dramas,” she said. “With experience working with other iconic venues around the world, Extreme will help us keep our stadium up to date while preserving the character that makes it unique. Providing fast, reliable Wi-Fi to fans, underpinned by cutting-edge analytics to optimise performance, is a crucial part of that process.”

The deployment at Old Trafford follows a number of similar fit-outs at iconic sports venues including the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Olympiastadion Berlin, where the installation of Wi-Fi 6 was the first and largest public deployment of the new wireless technology in a European stadium, enabling the venue to meet the most demanding connectivity requirements of spectators, staff and media attending football tournaments, concerts and other international sporting events.

The Berlin deployment also offered the possibility for the stadium to design, build, manage and troubleshoot networks, providing a simple, agile way for IT to deploy new services.

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