Opening Day in Texas Opens Up to Wi-Fi

By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2005-03-31 Print this article Print

Wayport, an operator of hotspots in public venues, is teaming up with a minor-league baseball team to allow fans to access the Internet from the ballpark's stands.

The Round Rock Express, a triple-A minor-league baseball team, is set to take on the neighboring major-league Houston Astros on opening day Friday in the minor-leaguers own stadium in Round Rock, Texas: the just-gone-wireless Dell Diamond. The Express has teamed up with Wayport, the nationwide Internet access provider and operator of some 7,000 hotspots in public venues such as airports, hotels, car rental agencies and even McDonalds, to insure that fans in the stands can wirelessly access the Internet—specifically the teams own Web site.
"The ballpark is a great venue for fans and their families, and Wayports Wi-Fi service gives them another great reason to visit the ballpark," said Wayport CEO Dave Vucina.
Wireless access will be available throughout the park to fans and sports reporters, as well as coaches, players, vendors and folks in the front office. "Our media can bring their wireless devices and handhelds, and the coaches will use it to file reports after the game," said Kirk Dressendorfer, director of media, public and community relations for the team. "We also have various spots around the stadium where we sell merchandise that will use the system to tie back into our Railyard Gift Shop." The service will also be made available in suites and meeting rooms to make the park more attractive as a place for business meetings where participants can tote along their laptops. Michelle DeWenter, marketing communications manager for Wayport, said fans will pay a $3.95 daily connection fee. Click here to read more about why sports venues are opening up to wireless. "Every year they try and do something new and different for their fans," said DeWenter. Next Page: Other additions for the fans.

Carol Ellison is editor of's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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