Cox Business Takes a Front-Row Seat in Stadiums, Arenas and Halls

Visit a sporting venue and there's a good chance a cable company, namely Cox Business, is there.

June 20, 2019

7 Min Read
Intel staff cuts


Craig Leddy

By Craig Leddy

When the Las Vegas Raiders debut in their sleek new NFL stadium in 2020, their fans will be treated to a connected experience of video, multiple gigabit-speed Internet and advanced Wi-Fi, courtesy of Cox Business. Under construction, Las Vegas Stadium will be a fully enclosed and climate-controlled 65,000-seat venue that’s already being billed as a technologically advanced stadium.

It’s just one of many examples of how Cox Business has become a leading service provider in stadiums, arenas and convention halls — more than 35 large public venues in all. In Las Vegas, where Cox Business and its Hospitality Network affiliate serve the Las Vegas Convention Center and more than 90 percent of the hotel and convention space on the Las Vegas Strip, it’s a safe bet at nearly any sporting event that Cox is a service partner.

Cox is the exclusive technology integration and telecommunications services provider at T-Mobile Arena, home of Vegas Golden Knights hockey, and the technology sponsor at Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the minor league baseball Aviators. It provides services for UNLV basketball and other events at Thomas & Mack Center and the adjacent Cox Pavilion, where it’s owned the naming rights since 1999. In its other service territories, whether it’s the Arizona Cardinals, Wichita Thunder, Providence Bruins or Tulsa Oilers, Cox is there.

Channel Partners’ “Cable Connection” column focuses on cable provider developments in business services and channel-partner relationships.


Cox Business’ Larry Steelman

“Cox Business and Hospitality Network realize strong revenue from these venues, which is coupled with attractive branding opportunity in recognized venues,” said Larry Steelman, VP of Cox Business New Business Ventures.

The venues showcase the Cox Business brand for the company and its channel partners, while Hospitality Network “partners with best-in-class organizations to deliver an unparalleled experience for our guests. These partnerships are diverse and all provide a piece of the puzzle needed to find the ultimate success,” Steelman said.

Typical venue installations include 10 Gbps internet connections and hundreds of Wi-Fi access points to keep fans’ smartphones humming throughout an event. Nowadays, giant video screens, hundreds of HDTVs, digital signage, family amusements, social media and event-based apps are the norm. In addition, teams require reliable sideline communications, while performers may bring their own requirements for a customized, rich-media experience. Location-based services, such as heat mapping of Wi-Fi usage and attendee traffic flow, provide data to improve venue advertising, merchandise sales and the fans’ experience and safety.

“Requirements are different for each venue,” Steelman said. “Every site install is unique. Cox Business and Hospitality Network build the networks to accommodate the future needs and demands of the venue, and in many cases, these large venues are delivering anywhere from 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps.”

At T-Mobile Arena, Cox Business and Hospitality Network installed more than 700 Wi-Fi access points (APs), diverse and redundant 10 Gbps internet connections and digital signage at 800 locations using Cisco Vision. Even with fiber connections and hundreds of hotspots, managing broadband demand can be tricky and any interruptions must be fixed immediately. After all, nobody wants to disappoint a die-hard fan of the Golden Knights, Taylor Swift or …

… Metallica.

Cox-Business-Venues-Chart.jpg“As events take place in these large public venues in real-time, the support model requires our organization to be able to fix issues immediately in order for the customers to be able to use the service during their limited time at the venue. This is different from a work or home environment where a customer spends a lot of time and has more flexibility for repairs,” Steelman noted.

Other cable providers serve various venues. In May, Comcast Business announced it is boosting internet speeds for the Kraft Group, the holding company of the New England Patriots, by tenfold, with speeds up to 1 gig. In the Patriots’ home, Gillette Stadium, Comcast Business will provide X1 for Business, its popular voice-controlled video platform, in all 88 luxury suites along with video service on 1,000-plus HDTVs throughout the complex. Other venues served by Comcast include Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, where the provider installed 10 gigabit dual-circuit fiber and a network of Wi-Fi APs as the official entertainment and Wi-Fi partner.

For stadiums, the venue business is about providing a cutting-edge experience that keeps fans and sponsors coming back for more. For service providers and partners, it’s about building business with high-profile event venues, raising brand awareness and testing the mettle of innovative technologies.

The Ultimate High-Tech Events

Cox Business and Hospitality Network also are the technology providers for two of the ultimate high-tech events in Vegas: CES and NAB. The annual consumer electronics extravaganza in January attracts more than 175,000 attendees to the 3.2-million square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and ancillary facilities. The surge in broadband usage at LVCC is staggering: More than 350,000 devices averaging nearly three-and-a-half hours of session time totaling 5.37 TB of WiFi traffic and 43.02 TB of total internet traffic at 1.55 Gbps peak download speed and 970 Mbps upload speed, according to Cox’s count for CES 2019. The NAB Show, featuring the latest in broadcasting and streaming technology, is comparable.

At the LVCC, Cox and Hospitality provide managed Wi-Fi with more than 2,100 APs, a distributed antenna system (DAS) in partnership with Insite Wireless, redundant and diverse 10Gbps fiber connections, digital signage and backhaul for wireless carriers. Cox Business and Hospitality Network have been awarded an expansion agreement for an additional 1.4 million square feet of space planned for CES 2021.

“From a design perspective in the convention space, the dynamic nature of the environment means that any area can have a very high demand or a very low demand on your network, which makes the design more difficult,” Steelman explained.

Cox Business’ venue business grew out of its purchase of Hospitality Network in 1998. Hospitality Network originally focused on hotel rooms, which led to a successful expansion into convention centers and then into arenas, stadiums and other large venues. Cox provides multiple products to venues depending on their needs.

“There are several benefits for a large venue that chooses to use Cox Business and Hospitality Network as their service provider. First is our ability to provide a total integrated solution backed up by best-in-class service from end to end,” Steelman said. “Leveraging the ‘managed best of breed’ strategy has resulted in …

… a fully integrated approach that gives our customers a single point of accountability that they appreciate and value.”

Movers & Shakers

RapidScale, a Cox Business company, continues to hire partner experience managers, including: Jason Hart, who is responsible for partnership development, partner relationship management, sales enablement and solution selling in the Mid-Atlantic region; and Christian Himmler, whose responsibilities include developing new partnerships, managing and leading existing partners, and building a winning partner experience in southern California.

Quick Bits

Altice Business has launched a managed Wi-Fi solution, Smart WiFi, targeted to SMBs. The product includes four access points and a marketing engine, customer management portal and full-service support.

The marketing engine provides data analytics and reporting to assist business owners in developing marketing campaigns and guest notifications to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. The portal enables management on any device for activity reporting and network configuration controls, giving an account administrator the ability to set schedules and monitor bandwidth, Altice said.

Craig Leddy is a veteran cable industry writer, speaker and market analyst, and a contributing analyst for Light Reading and Heavy Reading, with are Informa properties. Leddy founded Interactive TV Works, a media consultancy, to promote understanding of advanced digital services. He is a former editor of Cablevision magazine, senior analyst for The Myers Group and contributing editor for Multichannel News. He teaches the popular How Cable Works industry courses that include CTAM’s Advance Executive Education. He also founded and hosts the Interactive Case Competition, a leading case study contest for business students. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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