Founded in 1750, today The Jockey Club are the largest commercial group in Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport, operating 15 racecourses nationwide, The National Stud, Jockey Club Estates, Jockey Club Catering, Jockey Club Live and their charity, Racing Welfare. Millions of people every year enjoy the special experiences they offer through racing, music, food and entertainment.
Business & Technical Objectives
Attracting more than 260,000 racegoers every year to watch the best jumping action in the world, Cheltenham Racecourse truly deserves its nickname as the ‘jewel in Jump Racing’s crown’. The wireless network is an imperative part of The Festival, with thousands of users entering the wireless airspace.
The Jockey Club, who own Cheltenham Racecourse, wanted to engage more effectively with users such as spectators, members, staff, sponsors, media and business partners. They also wanted to gain insights into racegoer behaviour enabling them to plan future investments and better-serve their customers. Due to the nature of a racing event, providing Wi-Fi coverage has a number of challenges. The sizable airspace can quickly become congested with other users such as the media, bookmakers, onsite third parties and neighbouring businesses. The scale of the event means there are many areas of high user density, a significant sized site to be covered, and a large flow of users moving around site to also factor in when designing the network.
The Cheltenham Festival lasts just four days but every year the work at GGR starts many weeks in advance to ensure the infrastructure and management systems are installed and tested on time. Comprising of 268 permanent and 44 temporary Xirrus highcapacity wireless arrays, the Wi-Fi solution that GGR installed equipped Cheltenham Racecourse with proven technology to deliver high speed and reliable wireless Internet access to thousands of users in and around the venue. GGR also installed additional temporary equipment, including 13 Cisco switches, 3000m of cabling and 400m of fibre. With the Tented Village alone covering 10 acres, this large scale operation requires dedication and teamwork. The universal wireless network was able to support both bespoke services and the Xirrus Management System to provide in-depth monitoring and management of the network. It also supported the Ucopia Guest Portal Registration System and the FortiGate firewalls that were essential for blocking unwanted content, keeping Festival goers secure whilst browsing.
To gain access to the Wi-Fi, spectators follow a simple sign-in and registration process on a bespoke, branded Jockey Club portal. This provided a means of targeting racegoers more effectively, and also control over which websites users were able to access. Via the network analytics, The Jockey Club are able to monitor user data, such as when users access the network, for how long, and on what device. This allows The Jockey Club to tailor its services accordingly and engage with these spectators to promote future events. The one-time registration process encourages users to communicate with each other and access online services throughout the event. The Wi-Fi and management systems give unique insights into how fans move around the racecourse and used the facilities, identifying potential areas for investment and improvement for The Jockey Club, enabling them to better serve their needs year after year.
- Seamless wireless provision throughout the racecourse and adjoining conference facilities.
- Enabling over 260,000 spectators to share their racing commentary, place bets and access other online services.
- Empowers The Jockey Club to gain unique insights into fan behaviour, allowing them to identify areas for improvement.
- GGR has transformed the way The Jockey Club incorporated and utilised technology to better engage with stakeholders.
“Wi-Fi at the Festival is extremely popular and in high demand by spectators and other stakeholders in all areas of the racecourse. We need it to be secure and easy to monitor so we can better engage with users. GGR Communications designed and installed a Wi-Fi solution that gave everyone exceptional coverage, with the reliability, visibility and security that The Jockey Club needed to guarantee a first-class and safe experience. I’m looking forward to working with GGR next year at Cheltenham and across our other racecourses.”
David Dommett, Group IS Director, The Jockey Club