3Com Keeps 49ers Fans Plugged In



San Francisco 49ers fans with skybox seats will be better informed than those in the stands when the team plays its first 2000 home game at 3Com Park on Sept. 10, thanks to wireless network devices being installed by the owner of the park's naming rights.

3Com Corp., which bought the naming rights to the stadium in 1996, is installing a wireless local area network in the park and providing 94 luxury boxes with specialized wireless devices that let users send instant messages, access news, and check statistics from games being played around the country.

Later in the season, the company plans to offer users the option of buying food and merchandise with the machine. "It will completely change that experience of having to stand in line for food for half of the second quarter," says 3Com VP David Katz.

There also are plans to poll users. "There will be an opportunity for the 49ers to ask questions about service or even say, 'It's 3rd and 2, what play should we call?' " Katz says.

Eventually, the company intends to offer devices to all attendees who subscribe to the service. No prices for this service have been disclosed. 3Com is talking with the owners of other stadiums and public venues nationwide about installing similar systems.

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