Published Thursday, June 27, 2013 AT 3:57 PM / Updated at 4:04 PM
Nebraska researching Wi-Fi options for fans at Memorial Stadium
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Add Nebraska to the growing list of sports entities exploring innovative ways to accomodate their fans on game day.

Free wireless internet access for fans at Memorial Stadium is being considered now — so maybe, just maybe, there will be a day when all can use their smartphones and tablets to tweet or update Facebook or check scores of other games or watch instant highlights or whatever else they need to do.

It’d be a nice upgrade, even for a stadium that’s sold out its last 325 games and is set to unveil its newly renovated east-side this fall.

But is it feasible? And cost-effective? That’s what Husker athletic director Shawn Eichorst wants to investigate.

“Certainly I think it is important for us to study Wi-Fi in the stadium environment,” he said during an interview with The World-Herald earlier this week. “We want to do everything we can to be on the cutting edge with our fan experience. Connectivity is important to that.”

It’s been a common topic around the country lately.

Eichorst mentioned that the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium (opening in 2014) is set to offer Wi-Fi, among other new-age amenities. Other NFL owners are looking into updating their stadiums well.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis is reportedly considering a $2 million project to add Wi-Fi for fans at Spartan Stadium. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said in April that he and his staff are brainstorming new ways to take advantage of technology — like providing fans with the ability to place online orders from the concession stands.

Plans are in place for Pinnacle Bank Arena — the new home of Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball — to provide free Wi-Fi access for fans when it opens this fall. That will be monitored closely by Eichorst.

“Part of what we’re going to be looking at this year is how (Wi-Fi) works over at Pinnacle Bank,” he said.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.