Cell network upgrades playing big part in Super Bowl security

ATLANTA — Some of Super Bowl LIII security is in plain site. The bomb-sniffing dogs that make rounds every morning in Centennial Olympic Park. The array of uniformed federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The low-hovering helicopters.

“I’m glad they’re having a lot of security so everyone can be at ease and everybody can enjoy themselves,” said Tammy Madden, hours before she planned to bring her family to Centennial Olympic Park.

Madden said they’ll be in place for the Super Bowl Live concert series, produced by Atlanta native and music producer Jermaine Dupri.

“It brings a whole lot of excitement back to Atlanta,” she said.

But what may not be clear to fans throughout the week is the $97 million investment made by Verizon, meant to ensure safety and communication.

“We’re going to have a huge influx of people. It’ll be greater than any Falcons game, than any Atlanta United game we’ve had in recent history,” said Steve Regitz, Verizon’s Director of System Performance. “We’ve tried to make sure Atlanta has all the latest technology for a 4GLTE.”

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Regitz spoke with Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr at the fan entrance to the Super Bowl Live Experience concert venue on Monday. Regitz's team is responsible for ensuring the cellular network doesn't fail while massive crowds pack into one space this week.

“We’ve deployed over 650 different network enhancements to increase capacity and improve coverage all over the City of Atlanta,” Regitz said.

Those enhancements include two Matsing ball antenna devices-one in Centennial Olympic Park and the other near Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It doubles the signal capacity in each location.

More than 300 smaller cell units are installed on street corners to  ensure strong coverage for sets of two to three city blocks , and the technology dresses rooftops all around the Super Bowl experience.

Verizon worked with law enforcement agencies to ensure strategic cell unit placement so command center needs were met for the historic event.

“They need to be able to use their devices to make phone calls,” Regitz said. “They need those to be able to use those devices  to send messages, trade videos and pictures with each other about things that are going on (and) send out emergency messages  so everyone’s aware about situations that are developing around the city.”

The upgrades will remain in place for decades to come.



Before fans enter the Super Bowl Live gates , they should double-check a list of banned items. The following was provided by the Metro Atlanta Host Committee:

Prohibited Items in Super Bowl LIVE Presented by Verizon

The following list is a guide only.  It is not intended to be all-inclusive.

  • Alcohol (may not be brought into the Park, but is available for purchase inside the event)
  • Animals (except assistive animals)
  • Any item deemed dangerous or inappropriate, in management's sole discretion
  • Artificial noisemakers
  • Backpacks, suitcases, or bags larger than 18" x 16" x 8"
  • Bottles, cans, liquid containers, or coolers (except for guests with medical or dietary needs)
  • Canopies, tents, or shade structures
  • Drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) of any kind
  • Fireworks, explosives, or other combustible items
  • Folding chairs, bikes, hammocks or other large personal items
  • Food or beverage (except for guests with medical or dietary needs)
  • Glass of any kind
  • Hover boards, skateboards, scooters of any type (including electronic and/or motorized scooters), or any other self-propelled devices (except for designated devices used for ADA or medical purposes only)
  • Illegal drugs of any kind
  • Knives of any kind, pepper spray, electronic stunning devices
  • Laser pointers
  • Objects that may obstruct another guest's view, including umbrellas more than 4 feet in diameter
  • Poles or sticks of any kind, including selfie sticks, totems, and 'rage sticks'
  • Promotional items with commercial slogans or identification without written consent from the NFL
  • Smoking, matches lighters, vapors or e-cigarettes
  • Unauthorized vending or solicitation, including flyers
  • Video recorders or professional photography/equipment (including GoPros), except for credentialed media

Prohibited items and items determined to not be appropriate for entry into Super Bowl LIVE will be the responsibility of the guest and cannot be accepted, held, or stored by the NFL, the GWCC, Centennial Olympic Park, security personnel or any law enforcement agency. We urge spectators to secure these items in vehicles or hotel rooms. Items left in vehicles should be stored out of sight. Confiscated items will not be returned, instead they will be disposed of.

Cameras and Binoculars:

Small cameras will be allowed. No spectator cameras with detachable lenses or lenses more than six inches (6”) long will be permitted. Binocular cases and camera bags are not permitted.

Prohibited Activities in Centennial Olympic Park include: 

panhandling, soliciting, commercial activity, camping / campfires, barbecue grills, feeding pigeons, and drug use.

The cooperation, patience and understanding of spectators is greatly appreciated by the Metro Atlanta Host Committee and Centennial Olympic Park.