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Raiders partner with Cox to make Las Vegas stadium ‘most connected’

The future home of the Raiders and UNLV football is set to be one of the most connected stadiums in the country.

Cox Communications and the Raiders announced Thursday that they have entered into a 10-year partnership, making the media giant the second business to sign such a deal. Caesars Entertainment was the first to do so in November.

Part of the partnership includes Cox providing multiple gig-speed bandwidth internet to fans and stadium operations alike at the under-construction $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat stadium — which is about 40 percent complete — ensuring high-speed connections for visitors and staff.

“We have the advantage of being one of the last franchises to build a new stadium,” said Raiders President Marc Badain. “We engaged with every single team to see what has done well and what they could have done better. We can pretty much incorporate best practices and best of show from all the buildings and bring them here to Las Vegas to ensure our fans have the best experience in the league.”

Cox also will outfit the Raiders’ Henderson headquarters and practice facility with Wi-Fi and sponsor the team’s media studio at the facility. As the facilities develop, Cox will have a say with what technology is installed in each, Badain said.

Everything from virtual reality to artificial intelligence, connected devices, clothing and player capabilities is possible with the bandwidth and infrastructure set to be in place for the stadium, said Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications.

The technology Cox will provide will open up opportunities to enhance the fans’ experience at the stadium. Upping the fans’ visit is key, as NFL franchises are looking at ways to attract fans to games, who might opt for watching from the convenience of their home, Esser said.

The ability to order concessions directly to your seat, upgrade your seat or request a special service would be possible with that technology, along with a smartphone app, Esser said.

“You say, ‘Oh, I want to pay to move from a seat I’m in to a seat down near the field.’ Through analytics, this stadium can manage that,” he said. “On top of that, there are things that could happen during the game. You can request to see the coach after the game, or maybe you want to go down and hold the flag during the national anthem, or maybe you want your son or daughter to get a football signed by a Raiders hall of famer. Those are things you can do.”

As the 2020 NFL season opener at the stadium inches closer, deals to bring in other founding partners and partnerships are in the works, but Badain did not disclose who those might be.

“There are some others and each one has a different plan on how they want to do an announcement,” Badain said. “Some may be here at the stadium like today, and some may find some other ways to announce their partnerships. We’ll have some more in the coming months.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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