In 2019, Super Bowl LIII will come to Atlanta, bringing with it swarms of visitors looking for a place to stay.
During the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston, fans consumed roughly 2x more data than the previous year, and this number will likely increase during Super Bowl LII and LIII.
What does this mean for hoteliers? Even if a hotel believes their cellular coverage is already adequate, it is important to take into consideration that data usage by guests and others during the Super Bowl and the weeks leading up to it will exert a major strain on the establishments’ cellular coverage capacity. In Houston, many establishments began preparing for the predicted huge amount of data consumption more than two years before Super Bowl L.
Here is why it’s so important for hotels in Atlanta to be prepared to provide quality coverage during Super Bowl LIII: The 2019 Super Bowl will be a great opportunity for hotels in Atlanta, as well as a major test on their ability to deliver. During Super Bowl L, Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, declared that even though there were extensive costs associated with preparing for such a huge event, the return on investment was worth it for the entire city—particularly those in the hospitality industry. Atlanta establishments and hotels now have this same opportunity. However, on the flip side, if hotels cannot provide adequate cellular coverage for their guests, it is unlikely that those guests will leave glowing reviews or recommend such an establishment to their friends and family.
The NFL requirements for a Super Bowl host city is another huge reason for hotels to be sure their cell coverage is adequate. In 2013, the NFL document describing the requirements for a city to host the Super Bowl were leaked, and many were surprised by the stringent demands, which Sports Illustrated described as, “rather lengthy and mildly absurd in nature”. Regardless of whether or not these demands seem fair, the bottom line is that the NFL knows they can dictate any demands they deem necessary.
Even though these requirements have been made public, many hotel proprietors still do not fully understand what type of cell coverage capacity will be required in order for them to be designated as an NFL-certified hotel for the Super Bowl. We provided a link on this page to the portion of the NFL document that lays out the cellular coverage requirements, but the most important point to take away is that if the cell phone signal strength is not acceptable in hotels hosting Super Bowl guests, the city’s host committee “will be responsible [for erecting] a sufficient number of portable cellular towers.” The obvious conclusion, therefore, is that the city’s host committee will demand a certain level of cellular coverage capacity from hotels in order to be NFL-certified.
The cost of providing a level of cellular coverage in order to be NFL-certified WILL fall on the proprietor of the establishment.
Many hotel owners are under the impression that the carriers will pay for cellular enhancement—while this
is occasionally true for larger venues like stadiums and airports (Verizon spent $40 million installing the DAS (distributed antenna system) at Houston’s NRG stadium for the Super Bowl according to RCR Wireless), smaller enterprises (such as hotels) cannot expect the carriers to make the investment. Occasionally one carrier will agree to finance a DAS for a large hotel, but it is important to note that this sort of arrangement is usually exclusive to the one carrier and will not include the other major networks.
As an Atlanta-based technology integrator, Symphony wants to assist the hospitality industry in pulling off this event better than any city before, and now is the time to address the issues of cellular reception. As mentioned earlier, many establishments in Houston began preparing two years before the 2017 Super Bowl to bring their wireless data coverage up to speed, as a DAS can take many months to install. The carriers must first approve of the system, then the system requires careful planning, installation and finally, rigorous testing and support.
This is where Symphony Technology is able to step in and make a difference. We have worked closely with all of the carriers for years and can expedite carrier-coordination for hotels that wish to install a DAS. Also, cellular enhancement technology is now being specifically designed for middle-enterprise establishments. These advances in technology have enabled Symphony to install DAS in numerous hotels across the country at a fraction of the cost of traditional DAS. As Super Bowl 2019 draws closer, the demand for cellular enhancement systems will rise, and hotels that address these issues now will have much lower costs and avoid the headache of attempting to update their cellular capacity in a limited amount of time.
We saw this exact situation play out in Houston. Hotels that waited to address their cellular capacity needs until the last minute either had to pay extremely marked-up prices for portable cellular towers, or were unable to resolve their capacity issues at all.
Now what steps should a middle enterprise in Atlanta take to be best prepared for the 2019 Super Bowl?
1) Familiarize yourself with what type of cellular enhancement technology your establishment will require given its carrying capacity. See link here: HERE)
2) Leading up to the 2019 Super Bowl, Symphony Technology will provide an assessment of your cellular coverage—at no cost to you. Our results will alert you to any problems or “dead-zones” in your establishment.
3) Depending on the results of the assessment and the specific needs and budget of your establishment, we will determine what type of distributed antenna system will be most beneficial.
4) As experts in all realms of the cellular enhancement industry, Symphony can also advise different options to finance a distributed antenna system.
Contact Symphony Technology today for your complementary assessment. The countdown to Super Bowl LIII has begun, and there will be no overtime.
Click to read the NFL’s Super Bowl Cellular Requirements
(The entire “Super Bowl LII Host City Bid Specifications & Requirements” Document can be viewed HERE)