Updated December 8, 2023 - 3:42 pm
Verizon has been working since October to ensure its network at Allegiant Stadium can stand up to the test of the Super Bowl when tens of thousands of fans will use their phones to share the experience of the game while it’s happening.
“(Our goal is) that everybody gets to do what they want when they want on their device,” said Bradley Frank, a senior system performance engineer for Verizon. “It’d be amazing if the worst we heard was, my team didn’t win.”
To expand its cellular data network for Verizon customers, nearly every area inside and outside of Allegiant Stadium has seen an upgrade in equipment, including installing new nodes and radio devices to boost connections to the internet in each suite in the stadium, new signal boosters in the concourse areas and antennas in the areas just outside the stadium.
More than 275 pieces of equipment were added to Allegiant Stadium to prepare for the Super Bowl, said Patrick Pesnell, director of engineering for DAS Group Professionals which works with the Raiders on cellular services.
He said he suspects a data usage record will be set at the Super Bowl in February. “What we’ve seen from the Super Bowl is if you build it, they will use it,” Pesnell said.
The Super Bowl does spur a greater usage of cellular data compared to other NFL games, Frank added.
“I would guess that there’s going to be as much traffic that one day, as three or four normal football games,” he said. “It’s a crazy usage, instead of having 5,000 people with their phones up, everybody’s gonna have their phone out.”
Most of the equipment has been installed in places people wouldn’t look, such as in the ceilings or between other equipment needed for stadium operations.
Verizon has been using the regular season Raiders games as test runs for the system, Frank said.
While the upgrades are only for Verizon customers, Frank said the company is preparing for about 40,000 people at the Super Bowl to be Verizon users.
“The Super Bowl, you end up having to build this huge monstrous network, because you’re gonna have a huge monstrous event,” Frank said.
The Verizon users made up 60 percent of the crowd of 68,000 for the 2023 Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, and used 47.8 terabytes of data, according to a Verizon news release. That amount of data is the equivalent of a single person watching an HD video nonstop for over three years.
Verizon’s data usage for the 2023 Super Bowl was also 57 percent higher than the company’s data usage during the 2022 Super Bowl in Inglewood, California. Frank said he expects that data usage for the 2024 Super Bowl will increase again especially as newer apps have been added to the market in the last year.
Although the push to get more equipment to boost the cellular network in Allegiant Stadium was done for the Super Bowl, the equipment will remain in the stadium moving forward, said Matt Pasco, vice president of technology for the Raiders.
“Every other event is going to benefit from these upgrades in perpetuity,” Pasco said. “We’re not pulling anything out when we are done, these are permanent upgrades for the building.”