There are plenty of good Kentucky Derby bets every year but one of the worst wagers has always been the availability and quality of cellphone service which has been sporadic at best. Now Churchill Downs appears to be embracing the future of technology thanks to a partnership between Verizon and cellular infrastructure company Mobilite. They’ve upgraded the distributed antenna system at Churchill Downs to support 260,000 people which is double what the cellphone infrastructure could support last year. In addition, Verizon is supplying two temporary truck based cellphone transmitters to further enhance service.
Mobilite’s president, Christos Karmis, said that the move is part of a long term commitment to Churchill Downs:
“Our long-term partnership with Churchill Downs allows us the opportunity to operate and maintain one of the largest and most advanced wireless networks in sports, and ultimately allowing fans to share their memories seamlessly through their mobile devices, so friends, family and the world can take part in the traditions that happen every year at Churchill Downs.”
Churchill Downs General Manager Ryan Jordan is glad to hear of the increased cellphone capacity:
“A major part of the live event experience is ensuring that fans maintain connectivity to their social networks. As a result of the upgrades that Mobilitie made this year, our guests with smartphone service from participating carriers will be able to share those memorable experiences as they happen live with their entire network.”
Most of the upgraded cellular capability is a permanent improvement. The upgraded service covers all six levels at Churchill Downs and also includes the temporary seating installed for the Kentucky Derby. Once Derby weekend is over, the infrastructure will stay in place as part of the ongoing facility upgrades at the race track. The Churchill Downs cellular infrastructure is one of the largest in the country according to Mobilite. It includes over 253 antennas and more than one million feet of fiber optic cable installed, mostly out of the view of fans.
The Kentucky Derby is the most important race of the year for three year old race horses. It’ll take place at Louisville’s Churchill Downs race track this Saturday afternoon and will be televised live on NBC.