Tour the hidden engine awaiting Super Bowl LII’s data surge | About Verizon

Tour the hidden engine awaiting Super Bowl LII’s data surge

By: Jason Small
Watch Video about Stadium Catwalk | Best for a good reason

Looking down from the catwalk over U.S. Bank stadium it’s a 330’ drop down to the field. Up here are two circular objects that most folks won’t notice, called Matsing Balls. They are part of a massive system of more than 1,200 antennas providing a state-of-the-art network for the 73,000 fans that will fill these seats.

The Matsing Balls provide coverage by dividing the field into sectors, like slices of a pie, for Super Bowl photographers and staff. See for yourself what it’s like to walk the catwalk next to them:

Watch Video about Stadium Catwalk | Best for a good reason.

Preparation for the Super Bowl starts more than two years in advance. It has to, because each year the demand to support what fans do on their phones grows, as you can see from the usage patterns on our network year over year:

2014 Super Bowl


2015 super Bowl


2016 Super Bowl


2017 Super Bowl


Think about what happens when everyone is doing the same things at the exact same time — like 73,000 fans streaming the halftime show from their phones. In 2017, the highest moment of wireless use during the game was Lady Gaga’s swan dive onto the Super Bowl halftime stage.

To support this incredible demand those 1,200 antennas in the stadium are everywhere, even in places like handrails and under the seats:

Watch Video about Handrail Antennas | Best for a good reason

To make sure that every seat is receiving optimum performance we actually walk the entire stadium row by row:

Watch Video about Rows and Seats | Best for a good reason

Underneath this incredible network of antennas is a nerve center, bringing it all together:

Watch Video about Nerve Center | Best for a good reason

Finally, this control room monitors the performance of the network, even practicing different scenarios before the game to ensure we are prepared:

Watch Video about Control Room | Best for a good reason

Bigger than the stadium

The stadium is critical but Super Bowl also consists of events outside the stadium, leading up to the game. These events draw massive crowds. This creates a serious resource challenge for the city in transit, security, communications and more.

As we prepare the network inside the stadium, we also make upgrades outside the stadium in places like the airport and along the streets. For example, throughout the airport we’ve built a new system that boosts network capacity by 1,000 percent.

Within Minneapolis/Saint Paul, they are expecting one million visitors to enjoy the festivities leading up to the game. We’ve literally hidden, in plain sight, 230+ small cells designed to blend into the urban landscape in places like street lights, traffic signals and utility poles:

Watch Video about Street Lights | Best for a good reason.

While fans are coming here to have an once-in-a-lifetime experience, these upgrades are permanent enhancements leaving the city with a network built for growth.

At Verizon, our mission is to give people the ability to do more in this world.

Through our technology and expertise, we help people communicate with each other. We allow them to connect to everyone and everything and we don’t wait for the future. We build it.

Read about all of the upgrades we’ve made to prepare for Super Bowl LII.

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About the author(s): 

Jason Small focuses on storytelling for the Verizon communications team. His background includes online and offline roles in digital marketing and communications within corporate, agency and startup environments across more than 20 brands.

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