Comcast builds state-of-the-art fiber internet system at Little Caesars Arena
31 August 2017
Comcast Corp. is providing a fiber-based Wi-Fi network for Little Caesars Arena and The District Detroit, making it the "largest, most technologically advanced mixed-use development in the U.S.," Olympia Entertainment and the internet provider announced Wednesday.
Comcast is investing about $11 million in its services for the arena, said Tim Collins, senior vice president of Comcast's Heartland Region. It is the arena's sole internet vendor. Comcast and Olympia declined to provide specifics on the 10-year agreement.
The internet provider has spent more than a year installing an all-fiber, multi-terabit network throughout the arena and 50-block District Detroit development area, Collins said. The Wi-Fi will be going strong for eventgoers when the arena opens Sept. 12, but Comcast will continue to tweak its service for the first 30 days to adapt to the arena's variety of events, from Kid Rock's opening concert to the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons games, he said.
The network is actually a bit too big for the arena's needs, said John King, vice president of IT and innovation for Olympia Entertainment, but it will offer room for growth to support future technology.
Fiber-optic internet lines are growing in popularity; they carry data more efficiently and offer much faster speeds than traditional internet options.
Comcast's service will allow people attending events at Little Caesars Arena and in the surrounding District Detroit to stream audio or video, surf the internet, upload photos and post to social media channels whenever they want, the companies said in a release.
In addition to offering high-speed Wi-Fi to eventgoers, the Comcast deal means businesses that locate in The District Detroit will be able to manage and customize their individual networks. And residential units will be able to access multi-gigabit internet speeds.
Olympia Entertainment and its concessions provider Delaware North Sportservice have made a slew of announcements in the weeks leading up to the arena's Sept. 12 opening, including a weeklong pre-opening celebration with tours of the space, sponsorships and new restaurants such as Kid Rock's Made in Detroit.
The District Detroit will also launch an app with information on events, parking and concessions within the next week, Olympia spokesman Ed Saenz said.
Nearby Ford Field and Comerica Park have also recently updated their internet offerings. The Tigers' home added Wi-Fi in spring 2015. And Rocket Fiber and Verizon Wireless paired up this winter to boost Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity at Ford Field as the football stadium underwent $100 million in major renovations ahead of the 2017-18 season.
Collins declined to directly compare the internet setup at Little Caesars Arena to the other two stadiums, but said "I can say with quite a bit of confidence it won't be better (at Ford Field)."
Comcast also installed the high-speed network at the Atlanta Braves' SunTrust Park, which opened in April, and a surrounding residential, retail and dining area called the Battery, Collins said.
"This is taking that model a whole 'nother step further," he said. "The District Detroit is significantly larger in scope and size than the Battery."
That scope is part of why Olympia Entertainment and Comcast say the The District Detroit and Little Caesars Arena make up the largest, most high-tech development of its kind, Olympia Entertainment's King said. The security system connectivity across buildings, the parking lot connectivity, the availability of high-speed Wi-Fi and how it's all distributed — "when we put all these pieces together, that's what we're using to qualify that statement," King said.
"We are putting out the largest example of this in the sports and entertainment industry," he said.