By Jon Swartz
As limited numbers of fans return to stadiums and arenas this month, a premium will be on services such as food delivery, ticketing and instant replay -- maybe even real-time gambling -- as sports teams adapt under the pandemic.
The NFL has much grander plans: It wants to fill stadiums to capacity in the fall, and it is teaming with Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) to bring blur-fast network services to behind-the-scenes gameday operations at all 30 NFL venues that includes in-game replay, sideline communication, and safety and security.
On Tuesday, Cisco and the NFL announced a partnership to build a league-wide infrastructure at every stadium, connected to the NFL's Art McNally Gameday Central in New York via a Cisco network, they exclusively told MarketWatch.
"For the first time, every single venue is connected back to the league by one system,"Todd Nightingale, Cisco's executive vice president of enterprise networking and cloud, said in a Webex meeting. "It's a big step forward, for instance, in handling traffic flow at gates and enhancing safety and security."
If things go swimmingly, fans onsite and watching on TV won't notice a thing, NFL CIO Michelle McKenna told MarketWatch. "This is a [business-to-business] deal," she said. "The goal is for the smooth operation of replays and sideline communications that the league can monitor from the same system."
The fan experience at NFL games remains the province of the local teams, where Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Extreme Networks Inc. (EXTR) handle 5G service.
Things could conceivably change over the years, however, as Cisco and the NFL explore what their new network can do and develop new applications for teams and, possibly, fans.
-Jon Swartz; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 13, 2021 09:43 ET (13:43 GMT)
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