When the fans return to Memorial Stadium this Saturday, the days of the PA announcer competing with the wind and failed Facebook and Twitter updates should be over.
In their place: a sound upgrade designed for clarity and consistency, and a new, high-capacity Wi-Fi network for fans. The project cost $12.3 million. The University of Nebraska athletics staff hopes the subtle changes will make for a more interactive and enjoyable game day.
Ethan Rowley, NU’s director of fan experience, said fans should expect some tweaks to the pregame show and “a few new live elements” to the tunnel walk. With a new sound system, on-field interviews and games can be beefed up, he said, and an improved Husker app will let fans make the most of the Wi-Fi.
“Some of these changes might be small, and I think fans will notice but not be able to put their finger on it,” Rowley said. “But we are really fine-tuning your Nebraska game-day experience.”
>> Upgrading the speakers in the North Stadium scoreboard should mean a more consistent volume and quality throughout the stadium, said Shot Kleen, assistant athletic director for HuskerVision.
>> The old sound system was 20 years old and not very technically advanced.
>> The new system has 16 cabinets on the north scoreboard, each containing 447 tiny speakers, strategically pointed. The result should be that every fan hears sound with the same volume and clarity.
>> Also new this year, an IPTV, or Internet protocol TV, network that will provide better picture quality for TVs throughout the stadium and in the suites, Kleen said. More cameras will also be deployed, including a focal point on the student section and point-of-view cameras on the field for new angles.
>> An updated Husker app is available. Search for “Official Nebraska Huskers” in the Apple app store or the Google Play store.
>> The app will include extended roster information, live statistics during the games and a map of the concessions at Memorial Stadium. The app is free. Daily video and streaming audio content is available for purchase ($4.99 annual fee) via an in-app upgrade.
>> The app will offer more live features, such as closed captioning of game announcements, game video for users in the stadium and a social media feed for people who may not use Twitter or Instagram but might like to read what’s out there.
>> A curated stream of Twitter and Instagram, including media analysis and fan pictures, will be displayed throughout the stadium, said Kelly Mosier, director of digital media.
>> The app will be tweaked throughout the year, and fans are urged to accept updates.
Improved Wi-Fi access
>> Anyone in the stadium will now be able to connect and use the Internet via an open network.
>> Look for “FanXP” on your smartphone to find the network.
>> There are now 800 antennas throughout Memorial Stadium, meaning that 80 percent of fans should be able to be on the network at any time.
>> NU plans to expand the network to parking lots and garages.
>> Now that fans can use the Internet more consistently, the NU staff will be pushing for more fan interaction with social media.