The deal comes a year after Extreme Networks and MLB agreed on a deal 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.
Now, there won’t be an MiLB team approaching the MLB level when it comes to tech, but the new Extreme/MiLB deal is committed to testing new tech at MiLB ballparks and and new in-game technologies. Additionally, Extreme has been named the Official Wi-Fi Solution, Wi-Fi Analytics Solution and WAN Edge Solution provider of MiLB in a five-year partnership. And much of the deal will impact back-room operations much more than just boosting WiFi on the fan side, specifically with these new technologies:
- Secure SD-WAN for Inter-Team Connectivity, giving all of MiLB’s 120 teams access to a solution that will enable them to share data easily and securely, including player performance data, game review videos and other proprietary information.
- Increasing Technology-Driven Stadium Experiences and Gameplay: Extreme will offer high-performance Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity to MiLB stadiums that can enable testing of new in-game technologies.
- High-Performance Wi-Fi and Granular Analytics: MiLB will also offer to teams analytical tools, delivers insights into network performance, fan usage and ballpark operations to theoretically improve experiences for fans and MiLB staff. This includes monitoring the performance of new applications and tracking usage.
Now, this will be interesting to see how many MiLB teams will implement any part of this past the components mandated by MLB. Right now ballpark tech really means four things: WiFi (which can usually be acquired at a lower, potentially bartered charge with local partners), A/V tech (the province of video/audio vendors like Daktronics), ticketing (where stable connectivity is essential) and food/merch back-end management (the province of concessionaires).
“Though our regional teams are tied together through our organization, geographically, they are spread out across the US. Extreme’s SD-WAN solution will enable our regional teams to function as if they were all on the same campus, sharing information and knowledge that will help them play a better game,” said Neil Boland, Chief Information Security Officer, Major League Baseball, via press release. “And in our stadiums, Extreme will provide the foundation for adopting more fan-facing and in-game technology through secure, fast and reliable connectivity, as well as analytics to help us better understand performance, adoption and impact. Extreme will make us smarter and faster when it comes to understanding how we improve our game as well as experiences on and off the field.”
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