The Problem with Stadiums

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

At the end of last month – back when the San Francisco Giants were still the reigning World Series Champions – AT&T released network usage data from the DAS system it operates at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  The numbers were impressive: 196 GB of data consumed (40 GB during the peak hour), 17,640 voice calls, and 67,390 text messages. They were also part of a trend to call out stadiums as a use case for any number of different technologies or network innovations.

–        Distributed Antenna Systems

–        Small Cells

–        Dense WiFi Deployment and Planning

–        Content Caching

–        LTE Broadcast

Stadiums are a natural use case for any technology focused on serving up lots of data in a dense, concentrated space.  They also play well into CEM agendas to the extent that connectivity is increasingly a part of the user’s experience at sporting events.  Heck, who doesn’t want to share a grainy, far away shot of the field with their friends who are stuck at home with their cheaper food, cheaper beer, clean restrooms, close-up shots of the players and instant replays?

Beyond the threat of getting beer spilled on your head or getting caught up in a soccer riot, there’s also a technology marketing risk in the stadium.  In particular, things get dicey for use cases that rely strongly (or solely) on the stadium.  You hear this a lot with local content caching since a stadium is one place where you can be relatively certain of the content that will be in demand.  The same holds true for LTE Broadcast for much the same reason; sporting events are one of the few occasions where you know everyone will likely want to access the same content.  The problem, here, is that the stadium will always represent a niche use case.  Commercializing LTE Broadcast, for example, based on a single use case will be difficult, at best.

This doesn’t mean that stadiums as use cases should be ignored.  Relying too much on them, however, is a crutch and won’t do the commercialization of any new technology much help.

About Peter Jarich
Peter is Vice President for the Current Analysis Consumer and Infrastructure services. Peter and his analyst team monitor and evaluate activities in the markets for Consumer Services and Devices, Digital Media, Fixed Access, IP Services, Mobile Access, and Transport and Routing Infrastructure, Telecom Vendor Services, and overall coverage of the Mobile Ecosystem.

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