In this Sports Geek Throwback episode, Sean Callanan interviews Bill Schlough from episode 200, who is Senior Vice President & CIO of San Francisco Giants

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Key Takeaways

In this Sports Geek Throwback, Bill Schlough, Senior Vice President & CIO of the San Francisco Giants, discusses the early days of rolling out tech at AT&T Park, now known as Oracle Park.

  • Bill shares his experience with the introduction of tech in sports stadiums and the challenges he faced during the initial phase.
  • He articulates the importance of tech in enhancing the fan experience at AT&T Park.
  • Bill also talks about how he managed to maintain a balance between tradition and innovation in a sport deeply rooted in heritage.
  • The conversation further explores how the tech infrastructure at AT&T Park has evolved over the years.
  • Bill provides an insight into the future of stadium tech and how it can continue to revolutionize the sports industry.

This transcript has been lightly edited by AI

Sean Callanan: So, you know, and I think I've said this multiple times on the podcast and I'll say it while you're here. I love this place, AT& T Park. It's a tremendous place to both watch ball and from a technology point of view. The internet in Australia is terribly slow, and I joke that the Wi-Fi you've got rolled out here is better than my house. But you guys were so early on that tech rollout and providing things like Wi-Fi to fans, and I remember the early days of going to, you know, Seat in, you know, 2010, 2011, and the struggles and people were discussing, how do we do it? Who pays for it? Why do we do it? And you guys were so ahead of that. You want to take us back to those decisions and, and rolling out all the infrastructure for fans at AT& T?

Bill Schlough: Sure. Happy to. And when I think back when we were building this ballpark, there were three key technologies I was involved in. So when I was hired here, they created the position of CIO. And to my knowledge, there wasn't one at any sports organization back then, but because of geographically where we are and the fact we were moving from candlestick building this new ballpark in downtown San Francisco, there was an expectation that technology would play a big role in that. It's fun to think back and think of how innovative things seemed way back when. We provided six voice and six data jacks in every suite when we opened here and we provided free, high-speed dial-up to anyone who wanted to plug in when we opened the park back then. Another thing we innovated at when we first opened was we were the first baseball team that we know of to move from VHS tapes to digital video.

Sean: Yes, because you have an early adopter fan base in this market. They're willing to try new things. I've seen ads for apps I've never heard of because they launch in San Francisco and the Valley. People here are willing to give new things a go. So, you've got this tech progressive fan base that was willing to adopt new technologies.

Bill Schlough: What's cool about being here is, okay, your fans demand it. And then the staff that we hire, naturally, a lot of them are also pretty progressive. And then from the top, our ownership, which is a group of 30 folks, many of whom were successful as a result of businesses they started in tech. It comes from the top as well. So from all angles, it's kind of symbiotic and reinforces itself. And one of the things that attracted me to the Giants originally, our mission statement today, which we modified slightly, is we're dedicated to enriching our community through innovation and excellence on and off the field.

Connect with Bill Schlough

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Listen to full episode with Bill Schlough