LIVE FROM MWC21 LOS ANGELES: San Diego Padres CEO Erik Greupner (pictured, left) explained a private wireless network at the baseball team’s stadium enabled it to implement contactless transactions and discussed details about future plans for the network during a fireside chat with Boingo Wireless CEO Mike Finley (pictured, right).

Greupner and Finley focused on the private network’s current capabilities and future potential. The Padres chief explained California’s state government required the Major League Baseball team to transition to digital ticketing and concessions as a condition of reopening the Petco Park stadium during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Padres staff use Apple iPads connected to the private network built by Boingo Wireless to process cashless transactions. Greupner noted visitors are spending more than they did before the pandemic, with the slower pace of the game meaning baseball fans typically purchase food and beverages frequently throughout a match.

Greupner reiterated a prediction the network would prove more valuable if sports gambling is legalised in California.

“For financial transactions you need a great level of integrity and reliability”.

Network bump
The executive said sports gambling supported by a private wireless network could drive significant new revenue for the Padres. “Baseball has the largest, deepest set of finite outcomes of any sport.”

He noted high speed networks could enable betting odds to be set in periods between pitches. “Low latency 5G is quickly becoming a must have”.

The Padres’ private network uses Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), shared spectrum compatible with LTE which is expected to gain 5G in the near future.

A Boingo Wireless representative told Mobile World Live vendors contributing to the network included Cisco (SD-WAN, routers and switches), CommScope (radio units) and Federated Wireless, which provided hardware and software for spectrum sharing.