New deal at Anfield ‘a Premier League first’

04 April 2013 | Posted in Infrastructure, Soccer, Europe, | By Ian McPherson

Liverpool Football Club has agreed a partnership with wireless network specialists Xirrus to install a Wi-Fi network in Anfield’s 12,000-seater Centenary Stand.  

The Wi-Fi system, which will be launched in time for Liverpool’s Premier League match against West Ham United on Sunday, will be available in both general seating and hospitality areas. By enabling the club to offer food and drinks promotions, in-play betting and match stats, the system is intended to improve fans’ match day experience whilst promoting the use of social networking sites.  

Additionally, according to an official press release, the system ‘opens up a new way for Liverpool to gain insight and feedback from its fan base which hasn’t been possible up to now.’

Speaking exclusively to SportsPro in an interview ahead of the official announcement on Thursday, Liverpool FC’s head of digital media and technology Andy Robinson revealed that, while the installation will initially only cover the Centenary Stand and adjoining corporate facilities, there is the potential to expand the system to cover the entire stadium.  

“We did the one stand with a view to rolling out if we think that’s workable,” said Robinson. “One of the big challenges with Wi-Fi is to understand the return on investment. What we wanted to do was start with one stand to get an idea as to how fans use it and how it performs, with a view to rolling it out into other stands in the future.”

Robinson also added that Liverpool are the first Premier League club to install a Wi-Fi solution within their general seating area. He said: “I think some clubs have looked at a level of hospitality coverage and some clubs have looked at other areas – we’ve had press Wi-Fi for a long time now – but I don’t believe any other Premier League club has done something so comprehensive in terms of access to Wi-Fi services within general seating. I think we’re a first for the Premier League in that sense.”

Sean Larner, vice president, international at Xirrus, said in a statement: “This is not only a highly prestigious deployment, it’s also technically demanding, and we’re naturally pleased that Liverpool FC has recognised that Xirrus is the best option on the market. Stadia such as Anfield require specialised high capacity wireless networks to ensure an acceptable user experience for a very large number of concurrent users and devices.”

Andrew Ramshaw, chief operating officer of Wireless Design Services International (WDSi), the firm providing the design, installation and commissioning of the Xirrus Wi-Fi network, added: “WDSi has significant experience with designing and deploying high performance Wi-Fi networks and robust end to end digital solutions at stadiums around the world. Xirrus high capacity Wi-Fi is an ideal solution for challenging environments in stadium arenas, and we look forward to seeing the fruition of this project and building more networks in the near future.”

To read the full interview with Andy Robinson, head of digital media and technology at Liverpool FC, please click here.


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