Fans flooded the stands with their smartphones in hand at the AT&T Center on Sunday to take in the fifth and final game of the 2014 NBA Playoffs between the Spurs and the Miami Heat.
San Antonio fans are increasingly using their devices to share the most memorable experiences of the home team’s playoff run – from blocks to slam dunks, more people are getting their news first, and sharing breaking news themselves through smartphones.
In anticipation of this influx in mobile traffic, AT&T installed special devices which helped increase cellular capacity from inside the venue.
“To handle the influx in mobile data demand on our network, we put special solutions called Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) in these venues,” said AT&T spokesperson Lisa Marie Gomez. “A DAS is a network of small antennas designed to enhance wireless service within an area when thousands of people close together are all using their mobile devices at once.”
The Heat’s dethroning, after a two-year title reign, was snapped, shot, tweeted and posted throughout the world, breaking AT&T data usage records.
During the final playoff home game, San Antonio fans used more than 182 gigabytes across the AT&T Center’s in-venue mobile network, the highest total of any game this year at the stadium, AT&T reported.
“Mobile data usage continues to rise at a rapid rate across our network, and sporting events, especially during the playoffs, are no exception,” said Gomez. “Fans are using their phones to share photos, video and more with their friends, family and the world to show they are part of the big game experience.”
Similar conditions are expected during tonight's Spurs Championship River Parade at 6 p.m. and at the proceeding free celebration at the Alamodome.
Breathless anticipation of the Spurs’ fifth, or cinco, NBA championship may have also attributed to the more than 43 gigabytes of fan uploads and downloads that crossed AT&T’s in-venue mobile network, the most data used during a single hour during Sunday’s game from 8-9 p.m.
That’s equivalent to 122,000 social media posts with photos being sent or received.
The Spurs’ official Facebook page continues to document the team’s win through photo, video and text posts.
More than 200,000 people “Liked” the announcement that the Spurs are NBA champions on the team’s official Facebook page.
Myself a self-described non-sports fan, found out about the Spurs win through text messages from a few San Antonio natives, like my older cousin John, a Boston transplant who recently posted a photo on the social media site of a “Go Spurs Go” sign hanging in front of the San Antonio Courthouse.
My cousin was just one of thousands who lived – continues to live – vicariously through spectators’ mobile accounts, not only during Sunday’s game, but throughout the entirety of this year’s NBA Playoffs.
The basketball court’s not the only place that saw action. Spurs fans had the power to break records in the palms of their hands, whether they knew it or not.
AT&T reported that a record 84 percent more data was used during the NBA Playoffs than the regular season home finale on April 16.
By the numbers, the average total data usage for this year’s Spurs home games from inside the AT&T Center was 138 gigabytes, the equivalent of more than 394,000 social media posts with photos, more than 9,190 hours of surfing the Web, more than 450 hours of streaming high-definition video and more than 1.5 million emails sent/received with attachments.