SB52 Gameday Essentials: Tickets, Hot Dogs and……DAS?

January 31, 2018 By Jason Jennings

On Super Bowl Sunday, nearly 70,000 football fans will pour through the gates at U.S. Bank Stadium to watch the Patriots battle the Eagles. They’ll snap selfies, shoot videos, and post them on social media to impress their friends and family. They’ll check live game stats and watch instant replays of the action. They’ll do all this using their mobile devices—and they’ll demand five bars of signal coverage and the high-speed network capacity to do it.

How U.S. Bank Stadium tackles this challenge will be on full display when the NFL holds its championship game in Minneapolis February 4. But preparations for tackling this massive need for mobile data on game days began during the construction of the stadium, with the singular goal of creating a positive digital experience for every fan in attendance.

Starting early on a mobile device connectivity strategy makes designing and building a wireless solution more cost effective and provides better network performance; that’s why Mortenson gets involved early in the process in an advisory capacity with its Digital Integration team. Working with team executives and stadium operators, we help determine the best way to provide connectivity for a positive and memorable fan experience—then follow through with the coordination of our own team and multiple other tech companies who help provide wireless connectivity at sports and entertainment facilities like U.S. Bank Stadium.

The backbone of the technological infrastructure that allows 70,000 fans to connect is DAS, or a distributed antenna system. DAS extends mobile phone network coverage within indoor structures by positioning many small antennas throughout the venue and connecting them to one common source. Further, DAS can expand the capacity of the network to support tens of thousands of fans simultaneously using their devices. You can hear more about DAS in the Mortenson podcast.

At U.S. Bank Stadium that means over 1,500 DAS antennas hidden around the venue—built into stadium handrails, installed under seats, and in other inconspicuous locations — to provide coverage and capacity throughout the building. Add 300 amplifiers and 47 miles of fiber optic cable and everyone in the stadium has access to a cellular network. In fact, the DAS infrastructure within U.S. Bank Stadium provides coverage equivalent to almost 80 regular cell sites!

DAS also allows multiple wireless carriers to network into the stadium’s system, providing the best coverage and capacity throughout the stadium for every fan and every device regardless of who their mobile provider may be. Mobile devices will work regardless of its carrier network thanks to the investments all carriers make to their outdoor network to support this major event, but devices will perform at their best if the carrier is registered with the stadium DAS. In that case, fans will be assured of outstanding performance by just walking into the building—with immediate access to the clearest and most powerful signal available.

It’s not just U.S. Bank Stadium enjoying the connectivity benefits of involving Mortenson Digital Integration in the design and construction process. The Milwaukee Bucks’ new downtown arena, opening in the fall of 2018, and Allianz Field, the future home of the Minnesota United Football Club, will also feature DAS technology designed and implemented for the ultimate fan wireless experience. In addition, the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center opening later this year tasked Mortenson with enabling seamless connectivity over its 1,500 guest rooms and 485,000 square feet of meeting space.