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Johanne Torres[October 19, 2004]

I’m Sorry You Missed the Playoffs

BY JOHANNE TORRES


“What was the score?” Soon, there will be less fans at home missing games and asking questions like these… The first privately-financed ballpark in Major League Baseball since Dodger Stadium (1962)—the Giants' SBC Park, stadium where San Francisco’s baseball team plays along with the Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX, may be among the first trend setters taking WiFi to the ball game.




Four-year old Giants’ SBC Park now offers free WiFi access for all 41,503 seated fans during the 2004 baseball season. The Giants, along with partners SBC and Nortel Networks have installed 121 802.11b WiFi access points to provide continuous universal coverage to all concourses and seating areas, creating one big public hotspot. Fans who bring their Personal Digital Assistant ( PDA) ( define news alert) , tablet PC, laptop or other WiFi enabled device to the ballpark will gain free access to the Internet through the Giants WiFi Network.

In addition to Internet access, Giants’ fans will be able to enjoy the Giants Digital Dugout—an interactive application developed by the Giants and Kosmo Studios, available via the WiFi network or the newly-installed Hewlett Packard computers and flat panel displays located in SBC Park luxury suites. The Giants Digital Dugout is available exclusively at SBC Park and has been designed to enhance the "fan experience" with unique content, including highlight videos, real-time MLB.com stats, interactive games, SBC Park and local information, and team info.

The 75 th anniversary Major League Baseball game marked the beginning of the WiFi access service for fans attending games at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Now fans bringing their Wi-Fi compatible devices to the ballpark for Houston Astros games are able to surf the Web when they purchase a four-hour time block for only $3.95 per game.

Fans who subscribe to TWC's Road Runner high-speed online service and bring their username and password will automatically receive a 15-minute, no obligation, free trial subscription at every Astros home game they attend this season.

To hook up the Minute Maid Park, Time Warner Cable deployed nearly 100 wireless access points throughout the premises using equipment and support from Cisco Systems, Inc. ( news alert quote), Colubris Networks and NetNearU Corp.

Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at jtorres@tmcnet.com.

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