SBD/April 10, 2012/Facilities

Red Sox Make Fenway Park High-Tech Without Compromising Venue's Historic Facade

Most high-tech equipment at Fenway Park is stashed in inaccessible nooks and crannies
Fans at Fenway Park get to "enjoy high-speed mobile access and the latest in spectacular video displays, all without spoiling the timeless appeal" of the ballpark, according to D.C. Denison of the BOSTON GLOBE. While the game still draws the crowd, there is "real demand for state-of-the-art technology inside Fenway." Delivering all that data "is a complicated job, especially because Fenway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places." Red Sox Dir of Information technology Steve Conley said, "That means no antennas on the brick exterior. Inside, no routers hanging off the columns." Much of the equipment "is stashed in inaccessible nooks and crannies, deftly tucked out of sight up high, or painted the color of the Green Monster left-field wall to blend in." The ballpark's most "recent and ambitious technology upgrade" was the distributed antenna system installed last year by Verizon "to handle the explosion of smartphone use by fans." It is "run from a control center" over the Lansdowne Pub across the street from the ballpark. The venue also offers "high-speed Internet access via Metro Ethernet, a service from cable provider Comcast Corp. that is designed for big-business use." Comcast usually delivers 100-megabits-per-second service, "not much more than a medium-size business demands, but it can expand Fenway’s bandwidth to 10 gigabits per second for big games." However, it is the "trio of high-definition outfield scoreboards installed before the 2011 season that is perhaps the most flashy technological extravagance at Fenway." Conley said, "Ideally, we’d have one central IT room, but that’s not what they were thinking about in 1912. So we take whatever space we can find" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/9).
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