Boingo Wireless is supplying the San Diego Padres with a Citizens Band Radio Services (CBRS) private network at Petco Park in San Diego.
Boingo’s private network operates alongside the stadium’s public network; Boingo doesn’t operate the distributed antenna system (DAS) at the stadium, a spokesperson said. The private network is for Petco Park staff and not available to the public.
The network, currently running LTE, is 5G-ready, meaning it will be ready to support 5G speeds and latencies when that standards-based CBRS equipment is ready, Boingo CEO Mike Finley said during a conference call with media. It’s using the unlicensed portion of the CBRS 3.5 GHz spectrum.
The CBRS network expands wireless coverage to Gallagher Square, a community gathering space inside Petco Park, and will be used by staff to process cash-free payments, contactless concessions and mobile ticketing. The staff are using Apple iPad Pros.
Federated Wireless, Cisco and CommScope/Ruckus are supplying gear and services to Boingo to make it all happen.
Boingo has years of experience working with professional sports teams for connectivity and the pandemic has increased those needs, according to Finley. Mobile ticketing and touchless experiences are in high demand to support current health and safety protocols. Once it’s 5G, the stadium’s network will enable speeds up to 1 Gbps.
Stadiums and other large venues can leverage Boingo Private Networks to move operational traffic off public networks to connect more devices and reduce congestion, according to Boingo.
“Our networks are now used for use cases like contactless concessions and robotic cleaning devices,” he said, adding that connectivity has never been more important. “We’re thrilled to be in the space that we’re in.”
Padres CEO Erik Greupner said the team selected Boingo among all the options that were out there because “they fully understand the need that we have in the current day and age to move to a private network that can support the backbone of our operations at the ballpark and preserving bandwidth on our public networks for our fans.”
Fans have moved to digital formats that require low latency and high-speed bandwidth, from entering the venue with digital ticketing and ordering food and beverages with mobile devices to streaming content while they’re at the game. “We could not be more pleased with the way Boingo stepped up to build a private network that’s robust and allows us to meet our back-of-house needs,” Greupner said.
They’re already modifying the venue in preparation for the first ever college football game at Petco Park, which will rely heavily on the Boingo network when they host teams from the Pac 12 and ACC, according to Greupner. Part of the 2021 Holiday Bowl, that game will be open to the general public on December 28.
But first things first. Finley and Greupner will deliver a keynote next week at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles 2021. The keynote is at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 27, and also will feature Gillian Zucker, president of business operations for the L.A. Clippers.