In the Heart of the Action: A Deep Dive into Fan Engagement During NFL Games

Nov 21, 2023 | Blog, Extreme Networks, Sports & Venues

For eleven seasons, Extreme Networks has proudly served as the Official Wi-Fi Solutions Provider and Wi-Fi Analytics Provider of the NFL, a partnership rooted in delivering an unparalleled gameday experience. Behind the scenes, stadium IT teams rely on Wi-Fi solutions and analytics to ensure seamless connectivity and uncover valuable insights into fan behavior and preferences.

A strong wireless network empowers fans to engage with social media and other mobile experiences seamlessly, enabling them to share unforgettable moments, access real-time game data, and enjoy expanded coverage throughout the stadium. Wi-Fi analytics provide insights to stadium staff that serve as the foundation for enhancing and personalizing the fan experience and optimizing venue operations, resulting in exceptional stadium visits.

Extreme’s Wi-Fi has been a game-changer for teams across the league like Gillette Stadium in creating a digital fan experience. What started as a small deployment for just their club members in 2012 has expanded throughout the stadium and even into parking lots to ensure that fans are engaged from the moment their gameday experience begins. Today, fans at Gillette Stadium are able to connect when they arrive to ensure seamless mobile ticket entry, mobile payment and concession ordering, and even automated beer pouring!

Join us this season as we dive into the heart of fan engagement during the 2023-2024 NFL season! Each week, we will be analyzing stadium data to pinpoint the most digitally engaged moments. Every Thursday, you can participate in our LinkedIn and Twitter polls to guess what moment will draw the most Wi-Fi engagement that weekend and then you can tune in here on Tuesday to discover if you were right!

 

Top Fan Engagement Moment of Week 1

On September 10, Tom Brady, the GOAT, made his highly anticipated return to Gillette Stadium, the field he called home for twenty years. Donning a Patriots jersey as he came onto the field, Brady, a 7x Super Bowl champion, was met with thunderous cheers. During his halftime speech, Gillette Stadium experienced its largest bandwidth spike (17.1 Gbps) since raising the 2018 Super Bowl banner.

Top Fan Engagement Moment of Week 2

On September 17, country music icon Kenny Chesney attended the Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots match-up as the Patriots ‘Keeper of the Light.’ Minutes before the game, Kenny got things started by ringing the bell atop the new 22-story in-stadium lighthouse (the tallest lighthouse in America) at Gillette Stadium, a moment which saw the stadium’s largest bandwidth spike of the night (14 Gbps) with 18,463 peak devices connecting to the network.

Engagement Moment of Week 3

Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Boomer Esiason were Bengals’ Ring of Honor inductees during Monday night’s game at Paycor Stadium. Johnson, known for his electric speed and exuberant celebrations, was a six-time Pro Bowler and the franchise’s all-time leader in receiving yards and receptions. He brought an infectious energy to every game and remains a beloved figure among Bengals fans. Boomer Esiason was the quarterback maestro who guided the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII. He was named NFL MVP in 1988 and left a memorable mark on the franchise as one of its greatest signal-callers. Prior to kickoff, both were named the ’Ruler of the Jungle’ and started the Bengals famous “Who Dey” chant, leading to a season high bandwidth spike of 18.3 Gbps.

Engagement Moment of Week 4

On Thursday night, before another historic chapter in the Packers vs. Lions rivalry, the Packers teamed up with Bellin Health and the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation for the seventh annual Packers vs. Cancer game. Cancer survivors and their loved ones were commemorated as the players were announced running onto the field. This ceremony paired with the anticipation before a primetime rivalry game led to an 18.1 Gbps, the largest of Week 4.

Engagement Moment of Week 5

The halftime show, featuring Bay Area rapper Too Short and California rap legends Warren G and DJ Quik, added an exciting twist to the Packers vs. Raiders Monday Night Football showdown. It was a performance that bridged the gap between the two iconic NFL franchises, highlighting the rich football history and the vibrant music scene of both Green Bay and Las Vegas. In this thrilling halftime celebration, the unity of the NFL community and the shared love for the game were on full display, making it a memorable moment for football fans everywhere and sparking the biggest bandwidth spike of the week (11.5 Gbps).

Engagement Moment of Week 6

Before the Patriots vs Raiders game, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada lit the Al Davis Memorial Torch. The crowd cheered in response, appreciating the simple yet poignant gesture honoring the Raiders’ legacy and sharing a moment of unity. The roar of the crowd at Allegiant Stadium just moments before the highly anticipated game led to the top Wi-Fi engagement moment for Week 6 of the NFL season with a 9.9 Gbps bandwidth spike. A total of 32,453 clients connected to the stadium network throughout the game.

Engagement Moment of Week 7

During halftime at the Steelers vs. Rams game at SoFi Stadium, the crowd was treated to a high-energy performance by the iconic rapper Ice Cube. The legendary rapper and entertainer took the stage and instantly transformed the atmosphere. The stadium came alive as fans from both teams sang and danced to the music. The stadium buzzed with unity and enthusiasm, as Ice Cube’s performance turned the halftime break into a memorable, high-energy celebration enjoyed by all in attendance. This moment also resulted in the highest Wi-Fi network bandwidth spike of the week (12.5 Gbps). A total of 27,737 clients connected to the stadium network throughout the game.

Engagement Moment of Week 8

The excitement before the Packers vs. Vikings game at Lambeau Field reached new heights as the crowd was treated to a flyover by the elite U.S. Air Force pilots from the 62nd Fighter Squadron out of Arizona. The roar of their fighter jets created a thunderous spectacle that left fans in awe and led to the highest bandwidth spike of the week at 16.4 Gbps. The flyover not only celebrated the impending competition but also paid homage to Kenny Metoxen, a 20-year veteran who was brought on the field with his family prior to the game, and all the men and women who serve in our armed forces. It was a fitting prelude to a game that would be remembered for its intensity and the unwavering support of the fans. A total of 44,950 devices connected to the Wi-Fi network during the game.

Engagement Moment of Week 9

In the electrifying atmosphere of Paycor Stadium before the Sunday Night Football showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, two 14-year Bengals, Kevin Huber and Clark Harris, took center stage to lead the ‘Ruler of the Jungle’ pre-game celebration. The stadium erupted in unison during the celebration, chanting the iconic “Who Dey” chant and sparking the greatest Wi-Fi engagement moment of week 9 with a bandwidth spike of 21.0 Gbps.

Engagement Moment of Week 10

In his highly anticipated return from injury, the name Kyler Murray echoed throughout State Farm Stadium on Sunday. After 335 days, the former #1 overall pick made his long-awaited return. His return to the field during warmups resulted in the highest Wi-Fi engagement moment of week 10 with a bandwidth spike of 12.4 Gbps.

Prepare to join the excitement through our weekly polls on LinkedIn and Twitter and stay tuned here for the weekly top moment!

Learn more about how Extreme Networks and the NFL are enhancing the game-day experience.

By Cammy Perry

Content Marketing Specialist

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