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Extreme Networks lands MLB ballpark WiFi deal

Major League BaseballExtreme Networks will be delivering upgraded WiFi to 16 MLB ballparks from now through 2026, as the sport works toward a connected world that will include more multimedia, transactions and online gambling.

We’re in the midst of a transition in the MLB fan experience, one that may have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but a fan experience that has been in the planning stages for the last few years. That fan experience includes paperless tickets, contactless electronic transactions for concessions and gear, and (coming up) online sports gambling where allowed by law. By MLB rules, teams will need to be a little subtle about the sports-book arrangements by placing a book outside the game-day experience but still connected to the ballpark.

And with so many transactions relying on reliable and robust connectivity, we’re seeing teams embrace both 5G and WiFi in the future. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, will be the first ballpark to roll out Extreme’s high-density Wi-Fi 6 solutions. Oh, sure, MLB is proclaiming some high-minded reasons for rolling out the enhanced connectivity–the Extreme Networks and MLB press release actually argues that the deal is part of the sport’s “advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sports and technology industries”–but let’s be real about the motivations here. Hey, more bandwidth and better connectivity are always good, but this isn’t a diversity play–it’s a revenue play and should be considered as such. 

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