Technology Blog

Monday night ushered in an exciting new era of college football as more than 85,000 fans from Ohio, Oregon and across the country filled the seats at AT&T Stadium in Dallas for the first-ever college football national championship game.

That’s why our network team drew up a tech playbook to prep AT&T Stadium for the showcase event. By consistently upgrading the venue-specific Wi-Fi and cellular Distributed Antenna System (DAS) networks throughout 2014, we provided customers with the best network experience on gameday so they could share their favorite moments with family and friends.

Data usage is increasing at sporting events as new technologies provide fans with more opportunities to further immerse themselves in the game. In fact, during Monday’s game we successfully trialed an innovative way to deliver custom content to devices via our LTE Broadcast technology, which enables the delivery of content directly to all users with compatible devices within a designated timeframe and area.

This wasn’t the only first we experienced on Monday night. We also saw data usage soar in the stands setting new records for a college football championship game and AT&T Stadium.

  • Total data usage from the venue specific DAS and Wi-Fi networks at the stadium was more than 6.34 TB:

o   6.34TB is the equivalent to 18.1M social media posts with photos.

o   Our customers used 1.41TB of mobile data on our DAS and 4.93TB of mobile data on our Wi-Fi system.

  • Data traffic was up 107% from the Wi-Fi and DAS combined when compared to the average regular season Cowboys game in 2014.
  • The cellular data traffic we saw on our DAS was 125% greater than what we experienced at pro football’s Big Game in New York City in 2014.
  • The combined DAS and Wi-Fi traffic was nearly 20 percent greater than what we saw over both days and all three games of the 2014 NCAA® Men’s Final Four® played at AT&T Stadium.

While championship moments create a significant uptick in traffic, surging data usage from football stadiums is a trend we’ve noticed throughout the season. From the 586 games played at the 85 pro and college stadiums where we have a venue-specific DAS, we saw more than 185.7TB of total mobile data usage from our customers. That’s equivalent to more than 531 million social media posts with photos. To meet this tremendous data demand, we upgraded our venue-specific networks at dozens of stadiums in 2014.

Our work doesn’t stop there. With the book now closed on the college football season, we change our focus to Glendale where we are working to ensure our network is ready for the next Big Game on the football calendar.

Bill Smith
Bill Smith President - AT&T Network Operations, AT&T Services Inc