TIA Blog


Behind the Scenes with ICT and Public Safety at the Super Bowl

Celebrating its 49th anniversary, the Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional football in the United States.

To support the game between New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, hundreds of small cells were installed in Glendale, Arizona by Crown Castle and Verizon Wireless, with more antennas added to bolster coverage – a $32 million-plus project.

Just a few weeks ago, Crown Castle completed the University of Phoenix stadium's 48-sector distributed Antenna System (DAS). A DAS is a network of spatially separated antenna nodes connected to a common source via a transport medium that provides wireless service within a geographic area or structure.

(In 2014, the TIA TR-42.1 Subcommittee on Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling published the TIA-4966 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Educational Facilities, which includes an informative annex covering DAS.)

The fiber-optic connected network represents a 100-fold capacity increase from Super Bowl 2008. Over 70,000 people watched the Super Bowl at the Stadium -- which naturally equals to a large number of selfies, and Instagram Facebook and Snapchat posts.

Fans used 2.5 TB of data during last year's Super Bowl, the equivalent of 13 billion social media posts. At this writing, carriers are reporting record-breaking wireless data consumption in and around the stadium. Usage of wireless data at stadiums is “still climbing with no roof in sight,” according to Mobile Sports Report.

Nearly a year leading to the Super Bowl, the Phoenix Fire Department exercised multi-agency operations and moved assets into a place to prepare for any emergency. All local public safety partners built a strong relationship to prepare for the event. The Phoenix Police Department budgeted over $1 million of overtime for police officers for the event.

Eight miles away from the stadium, TIA's public safety engineering committee for private radio communications systems meets tomorrow. Federal, state and local users will join the committee to share their feedback on Project 25 standards, developed to provide digital voice and data communications for public-safety and first-responder applications.