How connected is the European stadium today?

ESSMA proudly presents her Connectivity Benchmark, which zooms in on the technological developments in the stadium industry.

As venues are developing at a high pace and investing significantly, they are getting more connected. Nevertheless, one might – just like ESSMA – wonder what it means in terms of fan experience or stadium operations. ESSMA conducted a survey amongst 28 European sports venues and gathered insights with multiple stadium experts to provide our members with a clear overview of the current situation and opportunities.

Discover the full report

The connected stadium - more than just Wi-Fi

In general, a connected stadium is a facility that has high technological and digital standards, offering alternative modes of connection for thousands of people inside the stadium. Although improving fan experience seems to be the general driver for 73% of clubs to implement Wi-Fi, 56% of clubs state that the installment of Wi-Fi has enabled them to introduce new technologies. They think off Wi-Fi as an essential part of smooth stadium operations.

Wi-Fi, only as a benefit for VIP's?

It appears all venues involved in our research offer Wi-Fi to staff, players and media. However, the difference between VIP and general public is interesting:

This might highlight the fact that clubs still see Wi-Fi as a ‘luxury product’, only available for the VIP segment in the stadium. However, as only 22% of the stadium visitors are actually connecting to the Wi-Fi Network, this might be less of a problem.

What are the main advantages of 5G for stadiums?

ESSMA observed a lack of knowledge regarding the possibilities of 5G throughout her research. Although 75% of the survey participants believe 5G can help the fan experience and streamline stadium operations, 56% claims not to know exactly what 5G is or what benefits it can offer. However, both fans, clubs, broadcasters as stadium owners benefit from 5G.

Discover the benefits in the benchmark

5G seems to be the next logical step in connectivity, but what does it mean?
5G is the term used to describe the next (and fifth) generation of wireless networks, beyond the cur- rent 4G LTE networks. Although a final standard for 5G is yet to be formally designed, 5G networks are expected to build on, and smoothly integrate with, the legacy of previous generations of wireless networks. 5G is projected to co-exist with the 4G networks, but to deliver improved connectivity through high speed, reliable and secure communications to approximately one-third of the global population by 2025.                                                      

Best practices from European stadiums

PSG scores in fan experience with 'stadium app'.

Paris Saint-Germain deployed Wi-Fi access for Parc des Princes in 2016. In their mission to keep modernising the stadium, the club integrated a dedicated stadium app. This app allows fans in stadium to hear live comments, find all relevant places, answer game-related questions and win prices.

iBeacon technology @TSG Hoffenheim 
The network of 700 iBeacons helps identify mobile devices and allows to serve location-based content to users of the app in the stadium.For instance, with the use of heatmaps TSG Hoffenheim can identify where a lot of people are standing together to get food or drinks and they can use push notifications to lead them to other concession points close to them.                                                      


Implementation of 5G in Allianz Arena
Goal is to offer fans the best possible experience and increase revenue as a logical consequence. Read the full interview with Benjamin Steen, Head of Customer Care, Digital Licencing & Stadium , to see how the record champions are pushing ahead, in cooperation with their partner Deutsche Telekom, to offer their fans an extraordinary experience.

Read all about these cases and more