It is considered now to be as much of a utility as electricity or water and from today, free WiFi access will be available for racegoers at Leopardstown.
The initiative is part of a countrywide scheme that has been launched by Horse Racing Ireland in collaboration with the Association of Irish Racecourses. There will be an overall investment of €2.4 million in order to bring the nations 27 racecourses up to speed when it comes to WiFi. That investment will include a €1.2 million grant from HRI.
In the early days of mobile phone betting apps, there was a concern that the use of phones at racecourses would undermine the on-course betting market and there were restrictions considered to prevent this.
The tax-free status of betting on course had already been largely undermined however by a reduction in the off-course rate of betting duty and while the bookmakers and tote betting on the racecourse may not have thrived, it has survived.
This move is recognition that the customer comes first and that the ‘always on’ nature of our relationship with our phones means that a poor experience in terms of connectivity will lead to a poor customer reaction.
It is a problem that still faces most major gatherings due to the demand for service in the contained space of a stadium but consumer demand will continue to drive the need for smarter solutions.
“The rollout of the WiFi project will be ongoing for the next 12 months and together with our suppliers eir and Capstone we are thrilled with the success of the initial launch at Ballinrobe and now Leopardstown,” said Niamh McManus, WiFi project manager at Horse Racing Ireland.
“The ability to avail of free racecourse WiFi will definitely add to the race day experience and we plan to have several more racecourses live by the end of 2018,” said Paddy Walsh, Chief Executive of the Association of Irish Racecourses.
“We’re delighted at eir business to have been successful in securing the tender for the deployment of a full fibre enabled network with HRI and the AIR across Ireland’s racecourses,” added Emma McDermott, Head of Enterprise Account Management at eir business.
“Our dedicated fibre connections will support the rollout of Wi-Fi infrastructure giving dedicated bandwidth and support to ensure continuous and seamless connectivity.”
“Together in partnership with HRI/AIR, we’re looking forward to completely deploying the solution that will provide racegoers with an enhanced experience while also providing the racecourses with valuable information and alternative routes to market on non-racedays allowing them to expand their offering to events and conferences.”
“The high-density WiFi solution we have deployed is an enterprise grade solution designed to provide a consistent and superior user experience both indoors and outdoors on racecourses across the entire island of Ireland,” according to Danny Cole of Capstone.
“Using syndicated core components, the managed solution allows sharing of expensive applications and resources across all racecourses while offering best-in-class resilience and security.”
The new deal means it will be easier than ever to access Sport for Business on the racecourse as well, which is of course a good thing to keep up with all the latest news away from the track.