Providing wireless Internet connectivity for a public event—a home and garden show, film festival, or the Olympic Games—is an expensive proposition. There are, however, a number of ways for event organizers to offset the cost of WiFi.

To set the stage for good WiFi coverage and create opportunities to recoup some of the expense, event organizers have some work to do:

  • Approximate the number of attendees and devices that have to be accommodated
  • Determine the needs of internal production teams
  • Estimate the number of vendors and sponsors that might be interested in purchasing premium access and logins for their customers
  • Calculate heavy usage periods (morning versus afternoon)

With these numbers, the network service provider can determine how much bandwidth to purchase, how to distribute the bandwidth optimally, and ways to leverage the bandwidth that is not in use at various times during the event.

Value-added service for official vendors and sponsors—With a robust local area network, it’s possible to distribute bandwidth to users in specific locations (outdoor demo stages, indoor theatres, hospitality suites, or merchandise tents) without having to purchase more from the source. So, event organizers can sell the excess bandwidth to vendors and sponsors for credit card payments, media broadcasting, or uploading pictures and video to social media.

Captive portal sponsorship—When Internet access is provided to attendees, event organizers can build a sponsorship around it. When users log in using a specific access code (there can be multiple areas, codes, and sponsors within the same network), they’re taken to an interim page featuring the sponsor logo, messaging, a brief poll, or sometimes a short video. The sponsor receives exposure and/or data. The attendee receives free WiFi, and the organizer generates income from what is otherwise a cost center.

Voucher or ticketing system—It’s technically possible to configure an existing wireless network to provide bandwidth-limited, time-restricted access to the Internet for attendees. It’s normally cost prohibitive for attendees to pay for the access themselves, but it can be viable for sponsors that purchase access codes (tickets) redeemable for WiFi access (two free hours of WiFi with every meal in the hospitality tent, for example). The time limit makes sure there is a consistent flow of new guests in and out of the sponsored area.

Example WiFi Voucher Sponsorship

Example WiFi Voucher Sponsorship

Internet access is the lifeblood of public events these days because production teams, the media, and the public depend on it so heavily. At SmartSource Rentals we have a team of WiFi architects that can help map out a WiFi plan for your event, with budget estimates.  Good planning and professional guidance from an experienced network service provider, like us, can help ensure safe and secure WiFi service for your next event. For more information on setting up networks that earn revenue, contact