Ericsson on 17 July was announced as the connectivity partner for Stamford Bridge - Chelsea Football Club's home stadium in Fulham, London. Free Wi-Fi coverage will be provided via the small cell as a service connected venue business model whereby Ericsson designs, builds and operates the network on the customer's behalf.
As a result, Chelsea FC will be able to provide fans throughout the stadium with a richer experience that enables them to interact digitally with each other, the club, friends and family.
On winning their fifth Premier League title in 2016/2017, Chelsea FC sold out every home match day at Stamford Bridge. Many fans used their smartphones to share photos and videos via social media, often stretching cellular networks to the limit. To ensure visitors can enjoy a seamless digital experience, Ericsson will design, build and operate a carrier-grade Wi-Fi access network and then manage it on Chelsea FC's behalf.
"Our research indicates that people want to use their digital devices wherever they go - and the urge to connect is even greater at a Chelsea FC home game. Through this partnership, we will ensure the connectivity at Stamford Bridge matches the quality of the football and look forward to exploring further options that will enable Chelsea FC to take the digital experience to the next level," said Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President, Europe and Latin America, Ericsson.
Small cell as a service supports service providers' cellular go-to-market models, enables businesses to monetise Wi-Fi, provides a business case for network build-out and improves end-user experience. In 2015, Legia Warsaw became the first football club in Europe to sign a small cell as a service contract with Ericsson. In 2016, Ericsson became the connectivity partner for the Ricoh Arena stadium in Coventry, England, home to Aviva Premiership rugby team Wasps and Wasps Netball.
Through the four weeks of football mania in Brazil in 2014, the Nordic World Ski Championships in Sweden in 2015, the 2016 European football tournament in France, and the 2016 summer sports event in Rio, Ericsson ensured the networks kept pace with the fans.