SBJ/March 24-30, 2014/Franchises

Earthquakes sign Ruckus Wireless

Ruckus Wireless has signed a three-year deal to become a founding partner of the San Jose Earthquakes’ new stadium, scheduled to open next March in time for the start of the 2015 MLS season.

An industry insider pegged the deal at mid-six figures annually.

With the deal, Ruckus will provide free in-stadium wireless service for the fans at the yet-to-be-named venue. The company also gains the designation of official wireless infrastructure provider of the Earthquakes.

Ruckus will provide free wireless service at the team’s new stadium.
Rendering: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Ruckus becomes the second founding partner of the 18,000-seat venue, after 7Up Bottling became the first in September 2012. That deal also was valued at mid-six figures annually (across six years) when it was announced.

Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said the club met with five other companies as well in its search for a wireless provider and sponsor. The deal with Ruckus, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., developed over a series of meetings over the last four months before it was finalized last week.

“We really felt that Ruckus had the best technology,” Kaval said. “They’ve proven it over the last two years in their partnership with the city of San Jose.”

In March 2012, Ruckus was selected by the city to create an outdoor Wi-Fi network for San Jose’s business district area. The network, which was installed six months later, also supports parking meters, digital parking guidance signs, traffic signals and video surveillance.

The Earthquakes deal was executed directly between Ruckus and the team’s corporate sponsorship division, without agency involvement. Among other deal points, Ruckus will receive stadium signage, tickets for club seating, and use of the Earthquakes’ marks.

The Earthquakes, who currently play their games at 10,000-seat Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University, did not have an existing agreement with a wireless provider.

Rob Mustarde, Ruckus vice president of marketing, said the company’s patented BeamFlex antenna technology provides consistent connectivity for smartphones and tablets in high-density locations such as stadiums. Among other sports facilities where Ruckus currently provides wireless service are Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium; Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte; Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany; and two stadiums hosting FIFA World Cup matches this year in Brazil: the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia and Arena Octavio Mangabeira.

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