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.
“Every year they try and do something new and different for their fans,” said DeWenter.
Other additions for the
“This year what they decided on was the Wi-Fi access. Obviously, they have a lot of Dell employees that attend their games. So its a perfect opportunity to give those people the access they need to the Internet while theyre attending the games.”
Other additions for fans include a beach volleyball court, pool, spa, picnic area and “home run porch” that added 800 seats beyond the left field fence.
“We try to make it fun for the whole family and its certainly accomplishing that,” said Dressendorfer.
Anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled device will be able to check e-mail or surf to the teams Web site at www.roundrockexpress.com.
“They have cool features to check stats and live broadcasts,” said DeWenter, “and fans can also go to MLB.com and look into whats happening with other games.”
Wayport will pass out promotional coupons to visitors during the first five games of the season, inviting them to try the service for free.
And someone who accesses the service will walk away with a baseball autographed by legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan, who just happens to be a principal owner and father of Round Rock Express CEO Reid Ryan.
Dell Inc. is working with Wayport to set up demo tables at the stadium featuring Dells Centrino notebooks, the Latitude and the Inspiron.
“Were going to have a table set up at two entrances to the stadium, one at the first base entrance and one at the home plate entrance,” said DeWenter. “If people want to come up and give it a trial run, they can do that.”