A VAR's Tale: From Fan To Partner - Winning Business With An NHL Team


"On an event day, we're getting everything ready. There are outdoor things, POS machines. On game days, the [Panthers] are a 150-200 person organization scattered across an arena. We have to deal with Ticketmaster, security, mobile device access," Goldstein said. "We also maintain a full-scale help desk [for the team and arena]. If someone's Outlook is not working, we're on that, and we supplement that back end with our managed services and full server infrastructure."

Sometimes, it's an even tighter schedule.

"One Friday night we had a hockey game from 7:30 to 10:30. The next day is NCAA basketball that starts at noon. We had to be back at 4 a.m. to convert everything. The press moves from the top of the arena to floor level and team practice starts at 8 a.m. The next day, we're back to a 5 p.m. hockey game," Goldstein said. "The venue is consistently changing. There are technical challenges and it's not a 9-to-5 kind of shop."

Gaining experience running Bank Atlantic Center, LAN Infotech hopes to expand to other arenas and stadiums, gaining an edge in a niche vertical market that has increasing IT needs.

"Every person wants cellular and WiFi connectivity now. People walk into games with two or three devices, including iPads. [Teams] try to keep up with technology," he said.

While some arenas offer free WiFi to attendees, Goldstein said the bandwidth challenges are still very difficult to overcome.

"We've concentrated on WiFi for the lines of business: ticketing, press. The last thing we want to do is put a product out there that isn't right and give fans a slow, bad experience. There's definitely a big push in that area though. I've been to Orlando to see some high tech stuff, and the Staples Center. But it's not fully there yet," he said.

Still, as a longtime fan of the team, Goldstein sees the best of both worlds: getting paid to be at the games.

"There's a lot of moving parts. As a business owner, you're always walking around, saying hello, doing things," he said. "We have employees scheduled to work the game. I do the walkaround to see the staff. You enjoy what's going on but you're conscious of making sure things are running."