Home Telecoms & NBN Ericsson new ‘Connected Venue Partner’ of Chelsea Football Club

Ericsson new ‘Connected Venue Partner’ of Chelsea Football Club

Ericsson is the "connectivity partner" for Stamford Bridge to deliver a carrier-grade Wi-Fi service at Chelsea Football Club’s home stadium in Fulham, London.

What this means is that “Free Wi-Fi coverage” will be provided via the Small Cell as a Service connected venue business model whereby Ericsson designs, builds and operates the network on the customer’s behalf.

Thus, as a result, Chelsea FC will be “able to provide fans throughout the stadium with a richer experience that enables them to interact digitally with each other, the club, friends and family".

It’s a problem we’ve seen others wanting to solve, notably Artemis.com and its pCell technology, but major competitors like Ericsson aren’t sitting still, either.

In winning their fifth Premier League title in 2016-17, Ericsson notes that “Chelsea FC sold out every home match day at Stamford Bridge. Many fans used their smartphones to share photos and videos via social media, often stretching cellular networks to the limit".

And that’s the issue – if paying fans get a poor connectivity experience, they’re clearly not happy even if they are otherwise enjoying the game.

Ericsson says that: “to ensure visitors can enjoy a seamless digital experience”, the company will “design, build and operate a carrier-grade Wi-Fi access network and then manage it on Chelsea FC’s behalf".

Chris Townsend, Chelsea FC commercial director, said: “We look forward to a rich partnership with Ericsson which will directly assist the thousands of fans who come regularly to Stamford Bridge. Ericsson leads the way in providing innovative digital solutions and we welcome them to the Chelsea family.”

Arun Bansal, senior vice-president, Europe & Latin America, Ericsson, said: “Our research indicates that people want to use their digital devices wherever they go – and the urge to connect is even greater at a Chelsea FC home game. Through this partnership, we will ensure the connectivity at Stamford Bridge matches the quality of the football and look forward to exploring further options that will enable Chelsea FC to take the digital experience to the next level.”

Here’s Ericsson’s explanation on why Small Cell as a Service is important:

“Small Cell as a Service supports service providers’ cellular go-to-market models, enables businesses to monetise Wi-Fi, provides a business case for network build-out and improves end-user experience.

“In 2015, Legia Warsaw became the first football club in Europe to sign a Small Cell as a Service contract with Ericsson. In 2016, Ericsson became the connectivity partner for the Ricoh Arena stadium in Coventry, England, home to Aviva Premiership rugby team Wasps and Wasps Netball.

“Through four weeks of football mania in Brazil in 2014, the Nordic World Ski Championships in Sweden in 2015, the 2016 European football tournament in France, and the 2016 summer sports event in Rio, Ericsson ensured the networks kept pace with the fans. Click here to read how we connect the most popular venues around the world.”

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.