Minor League Baseball hits in-stadium connectivity to new level

Cloud networking provider partners with Minor League Baseball to provide in-stadium tech and help its teams and players to become smarter and faster in improving their games and optimising the overall in-stadium experience

After hitting home runs in the senior form of the sport with its network technology, the baseball presence of Extreme Networks has goes from major to minor after being selected by Minor League Baseball (MiLB) as an official technology innovation partner, supporting the testing of new stadium and in-game technologies as they are rolled out more widely across the league’s stadiums.

MiLB is the official governing body of professional baseball in the US and Canada outside of Major League Baseball (MLB). It comprises 120 teams in the league and also includes teams affiliated with MLB clubs and independent baseball leagues consisting of teams with no affiliation.

Extreme sees MiLB as the perfect testbed for technology and been named the official Wi-Fi solution, Wi-Fi analytics solution and WAN edge solution provider for MiLB. It also deploys products and technology such as ExtremeCloud software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). Extreme Networks is already the official Wi-Fi solutions provider for MLB, delivering in-stadium Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi analytics in MLB ballparks, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity in bullpens, dugouts and press boxes in all 30 MLB stadiums.

Under the new agreement, MiLB will use ExtremeCloud SD-WAN to drive sporting performance and fan engagement and power secure connectivity for important information-sharing between teams and regional training facilities. With ExtremeCloud SD-WAN, all of MiLB’s 120 teams will have access to a system that is claimed to enable them to share data easily and securely, including player performance data, game review videos and other proprietary information.

Extreme also aims to help reduce operational complexity for network administrators by optimising thousands of applications and dynamically routing traffic to ensure quality experiences for critical applications, such as voice and video.

As it aims to increase technology-driven stadium experiences and gameplay, Extreme will offer Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity to MiLB stadiums to enable testing of new in-game technologies aimed at improving the fan experience and speeding game play.

MiLB will also offer ExtremeAnalytics to MiLB clubs and stadiums, with the technology delivering insights into network performance, fan usage and stadium operations to improve experiences for fans and MiLB staff. MiLB will also deploy ExtremeAnalytics to better understand the performance and testing of new technologies, including monitoring the performance of new applications. Extreme says this demonstrates the popularity of new in-stadium technology based on fan consumption and tracking mobile data usage during games.

“We have an amazing opportunity as MiLB’s innovation partner to reshape the game through technology and ensure future generations of fans will be as captivated by the sport as they have been for over 150 years,” said Nabil Bukhari, chief technology officer and chief product officer at Extreme Networks. “SD-WAN and Wi-Fi analytics will provide the technological foundation necessary for MiLB to fearlessly adopt new technology and use data to demonstrate success.”

The MiLB deployment comes after a series of in-stadium tech wins by Extreme at leading UK Premier League football grounds – Liverpool’s Anfield stadium and Old Trafford, home of arch rival Manchester United. Liverpool FC is aiming to set new standards in connectivity for fans and has engaged Extreme Networks as its official Wi-Fi network solutions provider and official Wi-Fi analytics provider in a multi-year partnership, seeing the installation of high-capacity Wi-Fi and network analytics to drive “exceptional” experiences for fans and more fluid operations for the club.

“Much like the path players take to the big leagues by starting in the minors, so does the usage and broad adoption of fan-facing and in-game technology," added Mark Ayotte, CIO, Worcester Red Sox. "The partnership with Extreme gives us an incredible opportunity to increase our use of technology and be bold when it comes to new solutions that we’re testing, enabling us to expand usage across our teams based on real-world results. Extreme’s SD-WAN solution will also help us connect more closely with our regional teams, so we can share secure data the same way we would if we were all playing in the same ballpark.” 

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