Friday, December 14, 2018
Can’t swat those Sugar Land Skeeters away, and why would you want to?
The reigning champs of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball — champions two of the last three seasons! — compete for fans in the sports media mega-market of Houston, home to the football Texans and the recent World Series champion Astros, as well as the NBA’s Rockets and teams in professional soccer, even rugby.
The Skeeters lured famed pitcher Roger Clemens out of retirement, and basketball all-star Tracy McGrady to pitch! While most minor league clubs post up in much smaller markets (and adopt equally colorful mascots) — the Toledo Mud Hens, Chattanooga Lookouts, Albuquerque Isotopes — the Skeeters success inside the nation’s fifth-biggest metropolis means attracting baseball fans and non-fans in season and out.
“On par with [baseball], we’ve got a playground and a splash pad. We've got a swimming pool in our left field corner. It's about affordable family entertainment, and, ‘Oh, by the way, there's a baseball game going on,’” says Scott Podsim, vice president of sales for the Skeeters.
Fans of the ballgame or just Constellation Ballpark know the sights and sounds beg to be photographed, filmed or posted to Facebook, and the action tweeted, texted or tagged for posterity. That complimentary Wi-Fi connects? That’s powered by one gig fiber Internet service from Kinetic Business by Windstream.
“We have signs all around — ‘Complimentary Internet provided by Kinetic Business by Windstream.’ They take that personally!” Podsim says, referring to local Kinetic Business techs. “They take ownership in that, which means that our fans benefit from that too, right?”
The Skeeters’ business operation relies on the Internet for 100 percent of ticket sales. Gone are the days when dad swapped greenbacks for stubs at the stadium ticket window. Yes, there’s still a window, and yes, tickets, but the point of sale is an uploaded Internet transaction (the overwhelming majority on the purchasing power of plastic).
“When I talk about Internet sales, I don't just mean, ‘Bob's at his house, and he's buying tickets for the game that night through an online portal,’ though that’s popular. I mean, when they walk up to the ticket office, all of our ticket sellers are on an online platform … and we're going to process it through an Internet connection,” says Podsim.
The business office relies on a converged networking solution, Kinetic Business Dynamic IP, that powers both the Internet connection and VoIP services with a 100MB dedicated fiber circuit and is supported by a wireless Internet backup solution to guarantee the network is always up and running. Before Kinetic Business, if the Internet connection failed or slowed to a grind, it could “affect the game day experience of the fan.”
It sucks the juice out of everything, and no Skeeter wants that.
“It's so critical to have that fiber connectivity and that robust system with a good strong backup that we have.… I’ve never seen people more focused on growing business from an operations standpoint,” Podsim says.
He has a strike team of Kinetic Business reps and techs “in my phone” to prove the point.
“I'll call up Dennis or Jason, or Luc.”
Within 20 minutes there are boots on the ground. There’s a diagnostic process, and in the end, a ready report.
“And, to their credit, when we have had some problems, not only have they quickly arrived and started immediately trying to diagnose the issue,” he says. “To their credit, the issue is not typically a Kinetic Business issue.”
This (off-)season the cool ticket is the stadium’s Holiday Lights event. More than 2.5 million lights across eight themed areas — food, shopping, Santa Claus and more!
Whatever the next exciting attraction people will pay to come together to experience, “I can't help but think it's all about your bandwidth and technology,” Podsim says, and Kinetic Business at Constellation Field is fit for the future.