Manchester City has become the first Premier League football club to introduce free WiFi throughout their stadium. The Etihad Stadium now has high-density broadband and it marks an ongoing digital initiative at the club, which includes apps that are aimed at visiting fans to help them navigate the area. The connection at the stadium is capable of providing 30MB download speeds.
The overall objective is to enhance the match day experience through the use of mobile technology. The club is encouraging fans inside the ground to engage with MCFC on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. MCFC has previously shown images on the big screens inside the ground, which have been posted to photo-sharing site Instagram.
Director of marketing for media and fan development at the club, Diego Gigliani said, “The launch of high-density wifi allows us to offer free, high speed internet access to all our fans, marking an important step forward in Manchester City’s drive to become the most technologically and digitally advanced football club in the world…Mobile technology and social media in particular, play a key role in our fans’ match-day experience. It was, therefore, important for us to embrace this growing trend and enable our fans to share their passion for the club with fellow City supporters around the world, in real time, free of charge, all from the comfort of their seat.”
After an extensive and rigorous testing phase, the WiFi will be available to everyone inside the 48,000-capacity stadium on match days. Liverpool FC previously tested WiFi in their 12,000-capacity Centenary Stand at Anfield, but has since stated that the club has no plans to roll out the service around the rest of the stadium. The problem being; some supporters complained about the speed of the connection?
A 2013 report showed that the number of people accessing the Internet using their smartphone has more than doubled since 2006. Social networking websites such as Facebook have large amounts of content posted from in and around football stadiums.