There’s a new three-letter acronym that you’ll be hearing around the stadium and ballpark this season, and its not RBI or ERA – it’s DAS, as in Distributed Antenna System.
A DAS system is rapidly becoming the hottest ticket to connectivity for major league and university stadiums, and with good reason. Fans headed to the stadium for the game are increasingly looking to stay in the game online, carrying their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices with them to enhance their experiences.
While the “second screen phenomenon” isn’t new, the volume of the fans making social network posts, replay watching and photo and video sharing part of their game day experience is increasing rapidly, right along with smartphone and tablet adoption. Today, more than 60% of Americans own a smartphone, and more than 30% own a tablet.
During major sporting events, use of mobile devices by tens of thousands of enthusiastic fans can grind a traditional cellular stadium network to a halt, making it nearly impossible to share the game-winning home run, touchdown or three-pointer. And some areas of big stadiums might not have connectivity at all, if they’re behind giant concrete walls or in areas otherwise subject to interference.
A DAS system can solve this capacity and coverage issue by deploying hundreds of small antennae throughout the stadium, and integrating them into a cohesive cellular network. These individual antennae can be turned up or down, easily adjusting to provide additional capacity when it’s needed most, whether at the height of the game or half time. A well-designed DAS system can also limit interference, ensuring that all sectors of a stadium have equal access to cellular connectivity.
A neutral host DAS model, like the one Boingo employs in places like Chicago’s legendary Soldier Field (home of ‘Da Bears!), allows all carriers access to these advanced systems, enabling them to extend the network to their customers and keep them wired in to all the second screen action, without users needing to take any additional steps to stay connected.
The University of Arizona and University of Nebraska recently joined the ranks of the major leaguers by choosing Boingo as their stadium DAS network provider. Wildcat and Cornhusker fans will soon be able to share every exciting goal and shot at the buzzer with their friends, family and fellow fans fast.
With advanced connectivity at no cost to the fans, it’s safe to say that DAS is in the running for 2013 stadium MVP.