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Volume 20 No. 42
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Giants’ improvements at AT&T Park include wireless network boost, suite renovations

The San Francisco Giants are boosting AT&T Park’s technology again to stay ahead of demands by users of mobile devices.

Fresh off winning their second World Series title in three years, the Giants are also renovating 60 suites, building two new Dugout Store retail locations, squeezing in 35 new seats near the press box and developing a new Social Media Command Center.

Giants fans uploading photos and videos set mobile data traffic records for AT&T Park at last year’s World Series. 
After smashing records for mobile data traffic during last season’s championship run, the Giants developed a two-year plan to improve the wireless experience at a stadium already recognized for being on the cutting edge of mobile technology.

The first phase of the project will double the number of wireless access points in the lower bowl to 700 this season, said Bill Schlough, the team’s senior vice president and chief information officer. Next year, more access points will be added to the upper deck.

The total cost for those tech upgrades, between $5 million and $10 million, is being shared with AT&T, the stadium’s naming-rights holder, he said. Over the past five years, the two parties have invested about $15 million to improve technology.

The Giants continue to see data demand skyrocket among fans using smartphones and tablets at the 41,500-seat facility, where they enjoy a consecutive sellout streak dating to Oct. 1, 2010.

Last year, an average of 30 percent of Giants fans, about 12,000 people a game, connected to the park’s Wi-Fi network during the regular season. The numbers were nearly double the average of 17 percent during the 2011 regular season, Schlough said.

In the 2012 postseason, mobile usage peaked at 40 percent during Game 2 of the World Series, when fans used an enormous 433 gigabytes of data, driven by photo and video sharing. Bandwidth use during the regular season was in the range of 175 gigabytes, he said.

In addition, the majority of AT&T Park’s suites are being remodeled for the first time since the facility opened in 2000.
To create a better connection between the interior space and seats in the bowl, the Giants are changing the window system, moving from fixed glass to a “stack and slide” setup for greater communication among suite patrons, said Alfonso Felder, senior vice president of facilities.

Space in some suites will increase with new vaulted ceilings, and expanded counter space will be equipped with induction cooking surfaces. As part of the tech upgrades, all suites will now have charging stations for up to four mobile devices, Felder said.

A new Dugout Store is under construction in the left-field corner, and a smaller destination selling game-used apparel and equipment will be placed behind home plate.

The reconfiguration of a pedestrian ramp provided space to install 35 seats to be sold for individual games, Felder said.

The Social Command Media Center, a central location for all the Giants’ social media efforts on game days, is targeted for a space in the Fan Lot in left-center field, but it will not be ready until a few weeks into the regular season, he said.

Most of the ballpark upgrades should be completed by March 17, the date of the World Baseball Classic semifinal at AT&T Park.