Ideas for a possible Rays Public Access Wi-Fi
Most Tampa Bay Rays fans who have attended games over the last two seasons have probably seen me sitting down in Section 138 with my old Toshiba laptop pulled out and have seen me jotting down some notes, or doing a quick post or photo upload on any of the social networks I use daily to pop out my brand of Rays information.
And before the 2010 season, I used the Rays old public access free Wi-Fi options within Tropicana Field before that option disappeared inside Tropicana Field this past off season. Now if you want to use computer Internet access or a Rays Wi-Fi network, you must possess a Rays unique password or you will not be able to access the Internet to change your MLB Fantasy line-up.
Now this is not the reasoning behind me not bringing my laptop to the Trop. Every night anymore, but I leave it in my car and do my posts and photo uploads after leaving the stadium now. But there have been more than a few Rays Republic members who have asked me about the “lost access” and it was while trolling around the Houston Astros Team website that I might have gotten as great idea for the Tampa Bay Rays to institute in the future.
It will involve one of their current Rays sponsors, plus might be another great fundraiser for the Rays Baseball Foundation.
Major League Baseball’s 75th Annual All-Star Game that was held at Minute Maid Park was the first time the All-Star Game was played in a venue that has Wi-Fi capabilities for the fans. That is right, not only the in-house media, offices and broadcast networks, but also “Joe Schmoe” in the stands had Wi-Fi access. And this is the first time I have heard of this, but fans can bring their laptops and Wi-Fi compatible devices to the ballpark and were able to surf the web when they purchased a four-hour block of unlimited access for $ 3.95 per game.
And the Astros also had an option for subscribers of Bright House Networks Road Runner high speed online service who brought their user name and password along with their computer devices to the game a FREE 15-minute, no obligation, free trial subscription at every Astros game. This special “Speed Zone” offer is not limited to only Road Runner subscribers as anyone purchasing their four-hour block can take advantage of Road Runner’s fast, simple and secure Wi-Fi hotspot service.
Anywhere in the Astro’s ballpark where there is a sign posted to show a Wi-Fi hotspot will receive the same standard download and upload speeds as Road Runner high speed subscribers at their usual home service: 3Mbps download /384 Kbps upload. But it all became a reality after the local Time Warner Cable facilities team deployed nearly 100 wireless access points throughout the stadium using Cisco System products and support This same option could be installed and functional within the confines of Tropicana Field if the Rays get enough feedback showing that the option would be beneficial to Rays fans.
I have not consulted the Rays Front Office, or even posed this kind of idea to them yet, but I was just thinking outside the box about a few things today when this information came available to me about the Houston Wi-Fi options during game days. I could easily see a possible $ 5.00-6.00 charge being initiated by the Rays for public access four-hour blocks after this equipment is installed within Tropicana Field in the future. And think of the possibilities of just 10 Rays fans buying these cards for all 81 Rays home games.
Just those 10 people could bring in over $ 4,860.that could have a nice chunk broken off for the philanthropist activities of the Rays Baseball Foundation during the baseball season. I know it is a small number right now, but with time it would grow and grow until maybe 100 Rays Republic fans brought their computer devices into Tropicana Field and purchased these special Wi-Fi access cards.
That would boost the incoming revenues upwards to almost $50,000 for the Rays Baseball Foundation, and they could devise a system with the cards being purchased in the Team Store or an alcove location somewhere within Tropicana Field.
Sure this might be thinking way outside the box right now, but it has a viable application and has been in effect in another ballpark with success. That in itself might constitute the Rays Front Office maybe discussing this option maybe even for the 2011 season, and at the least to be included in the design and conception of a new Rays future stadium. And the advantages of offering something like this could be huge for the Rays Republic.
And maybe the Rays could incorporate some sort of infrastructure within the system for Rays fans between the end of Batting Practice and the first pitch to partake in Rays related discussions, polls or even look at the MLB.com web clips and participate in future MLB promotions. The ground has already been dug up by the Astros with the Wi-Fi public access premise already a reality. And with the Rays fans becoming more and more technology savvy, it could be a great way to attract Season Ticket sales and also additional seat purchases for future Rays dates by initializing a online ticket discount program in effect while the card is valid on that game day only.