Verizon Wireless and the Boston Red Sox today announced the completion of a new Verizon Distributed Antenna System (DAS) designed to greatly improve the mobile device reception for fans inside Fenway Park and for residents in the surrounding Fenway neighborhood. The Verizon DAS is a network of antennas that deliver wireless service within a geographical area or large building where steel and concrete interfere with wireless signals.
The infrastructure for the new antennae system separates into 18 different sectors throughout the ballpark and was built and installed by Verizon Wireless, the official wireless provider of the Boston Red Sox. The system also incorporates other service providers onto one platform offering improved service for mobile devices using other carriers.
‚ÄúHandheld technology is really changing the in-park fan experience,‚ÄĚ said Red Sox Executive Vice President/Business Affairs Jonathan Gilula. ‚ÄúThis new system not only enhances reception inside Fenway Park, it also helps us meet both the current demands of our fans from a mobile technology standpoint and sets us up with the proper infrastructure to meet their future needs.‚ÄĚ
New System, Old Challenges
The nearly year-long project to install the Verizon DAS system faced some unique challenges in the 1912 ballpark. In fact, the project would not have been possible without the improvements that were made over the past decade, which included building the cable tray infrastructure that now houses the miles of cable connecting the 300 plus antennas driving the system. In addition to housing the unseen parts of the wiring system, additional attention also needed to be paid to areas where the antennas would be visible.
‚ÄúMarrying Fenway Park‚Äôs old charm with modern conveniences and amenities has been an ongoing effort for the last decade, but sometimes the realities of a 99 year-old ballpark can pose some unique challenges,‚ÄĚ said Gilula. ‚ÄúWe worked closely with the Massachusetts Historical Commission to ensure that the antennas complied with historical standards and that from an aesthetic standpoint, they did not interfere with the look and feel of the ballpark.‚ÄĚ
Enhanced Social Media Experience
To celebrate the upgrades, during today‚Äôs game the Red Sox will conduct a number of new social media contests as well as expand on some old favorites, including:
- Play Ball ‚Äď Prior to the game, the team will host a Twitter contest where the winner will get to announce ‚Äúthe words we all love to hear‚ÄĚ on the field during the pregame ceremony
- Fan Photos ‚Äď Fans will be encouraged to submit photos to the Red Sox on Twitter during the game. Several photos will be selected and featured on the video board during inning breaks
- 20th Check In ‚Äď Every 20th person to ‚Äėcheck in‚Äô using MLB‚Äôs At Bat app on a mobile device will win a free Red Sox At Bat t-shirt which can be collected at the Red Sox Nation booth in the Gate B concourse
- Tweet Your Seat ‚Äď A special, expanded edition of the Red Sox classic ‚ÄėTweet Your Seat‚Äô will happen on Saturday, with fans Tweeting their seat locations using the hashtag #tweetyourseat at Fenway Park for the chance to win prizes
The Red Sox will continue for the rest of the season to conduct live Twitter Player Q&A‚Äôs, which launched on July 9 with Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald. Yesterday, Daniel Bard joined McDonald as the latest player to respond to fan questions during a live Twitter Q&A session with fans on @RedSox using the hashtag #AsktheSox. Bard‚Äôs live Q&A session is available for fans to read on redsox.com/askthesox.
‚ÄúEngaging with our fans using multiple platforms during the second half of the 2011 season is a major focus and interacting with them via social media while they‚Äôre at the ballpark is a critical piece of that effort,‚ÄĚ said Red Sox Director of Information Technology Steve Conley, who worked closely with Verizon on this project. ‚ÄúThis upgraded system not only brings greater convenience to our fans, it also removes a significant barrier for those using social media in-park.‚ÄĚ
Fans interested in learning more about the Red Sox social media initiatives can visit redsox.com/connect
Source: Boston Red Sox
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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