The Smartest Stadiums in America

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Inside the Sacramento Kings arena

 

Stadiums and arenas are not only a house for athletic prowess, competition, and large audiences; they are a vehicle for showcasing society’s technological advancements. Stadiums are being built and augmented to include updated and cutting edge technology that will improve efficiency, enjoyment, and personal options. They are no longer concrete hollow behemoths, but integrated and advanced social structures.

Golden 1 Center- Sacramento Kings

An arena with a modest look and feel, the Golden 1 Center is one of the smartest stadiums in America. Underneath, its simple façade hides advanced technological systems meant to assist fans and employees alike. Instead of ignoring or evading today’s desires such as connectivity and online social interaction, the stadium is meant to support the next 10 to 20 years of such activity.

Building technology into a massive project is a challenge because fresh technological breakthroughs quickly become obsolete. The stadium has to be up-to-date with the flexibility to adapt in the future. Advancements need to include room for future growth, and that is what the architects of the Golden 1 Center kept in mind.

650 miles of fiber-optic cable and more than 300 miles of copper run throughout the stadium like a central nervous system, providing for 100’s of WiFi access points (points where wireless internet is spread). There is enough connectivity to handle 500,000 snapchats being sent and received within the stadium. Fans inside and outside the stadium enjoy internet and cell phone accessibility, something that has been a major issue in recent years.

People want to connect and the arena happily enables those connections. According to Montoya, “Fans will only be limited by their own devices.” Fans can access the Kings app via their smartphones for tickets and parking passes instead of printing them out or receiving them at will call. The app also connects fans to the loyalty program, a way for people to earn credit that may go towards better seats, product, or food and drink. While traveling to the stadium, the app notifies users within a certain radius of the best available parking locations. Tickets are available digitally and the app will even guide people to their exact seat, relieving walkways and stairs of confusion and miscommunication.

With a capacity of 17,500 people, the Golden 1 Center also includes an 84-foot digital screen visible from every seat. If that isn’t enough, the stadium is also eco-friendly. It is entirely solar-powered, either from the panels on its roof or from solar energy gathered nearby. It has been outfitted with low-flow toilets, and food is brought in from local farms located within 150 miles, offering fresh menu items instead of the usually processed foods.

AT&T Stadium- Dallas Cowboys

Among the most famous and well-known stadiums is the Dallas Cowboys stadium. It partnered with AT&T in 2013 to bring about fresh technological upgrades. Since their partnership, the stadium has doubled its cellular and WiFi capacity so that fans can enjoy seamless social connectivity. It is one of the largest stadiums with capacity topping out at 100,000 fans, all of whom want to enjoy the game and interact online comfortably.

To ensure that people in the stadium can enjoy the game from any seat and distance, a 130-foot long video board was installed that can rotate 360 degrees. Furthermore, interactive touchscreen columns have been added throughout the stadium that displays the stadium’s history as well as information about the Cowboys.

The AT&T Stadium has also launched a new app that will allow fans to upload pictures taken during the game directly to the big rotating video board. Unique and original ideas like this promote interconnectivity throughout the stadium and create memories for individual fans, assuring their return for another game.

Barclays Center- Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders

After partnering with Cisco Connected Sports and Entertainment Solutions Company, the Barclays Center featured some fresh technological upgrades that would be sure to satisfy the contemporary fan.

First, the stadium offers reliable and complimentary WiFi throughout t so that fans may easily use an interactive app during events. The app allows fans to observe views from the players’ bench, behind the basket, and access replays in case anyone missed the action. It also provides a guide to Brooklyn for tourists and out-of-state visitors curious about the surrounding area.

Furthermore, digital screens inside and outside of the stadium are available to read up-to-date information or live video of the game. People have become accustomed to current information, and the numerous screens around the stadium allow anyone to view relevant information at their leisure. The screens also display train schedules and easy departure routes, allowing all 18,000 fans to exit smoothly once the game is over.

Levi’s Stadium- San Francisco 49ers

Many stadiums have new and exciting technology to offer, but Levi’s stadium is known as one of the most high-tech stadiums in the world. With a capacity of 68,500, the stadium can expand to allow for a maximum capacity of 75,000 people for major events like the World Cup or the Super Bowl. Thanks to Sony, Intel, SAP, and Yahoo! partnerships, the stadium can deliver free high-speed WiFi that integrates with an extremely useful app.

The app is capable of guiding people from their spot in the parking lot directly to their seats. It can also provide bathroom line wait times or instant replays for people who had to wait in the bathroom line during the game. What really makes the app useful is the ability to order food and drink from the seats that will be delivered to the customer in a timely fashion. To accomplish these tasks, there are 400 miles of fiber-optic cable to handle the load along with 1,300 WiFi access points to broadcast strong signal. The Levi’s Stadium can handle an internet load 4 times higher than the minimum standard for current stadiums.

US Bank Stadium- Minnesota Vikings

At a cost of 1.1 billion dollars to build, the US Bank Stadium is built to visually impress, literally. To satisfy and involve its capacity of 66,655 fans, the stadium has installed state-of-the-art scoreboards and screens that keep people engaged at all times. There are 13 boards of varying massive sizes as well as ribbon-style electronic displays meant to inform and entertain.

One of the scoreboards boasts a size of 8,100 square feet, guaranteeing easy viewing for anyone with questions about the score. Another screen is located outside of the stadium in the shape of a Viking ship sail. The 2,000 square foot screen is curved to imitate a sail that produces high definition images and videos from inside the stadium.

The US Bank Stadium also features an app that guides fans to the venue from wherever they are located, including their home. Instead of turnstiles, 150 kiosks are implemented to scan tickets on smartphones for entry. From there, the app takes over and will guide people to their designated seat, made possible by 2,000 Bluetooth beacons that pinpoint their location at all times. Due to the app’s design, the Bluetooth connection allows the app more personal features.

Fans can order food, drinks, and souvenirs from their seats that can be delivered or placed in pick-up spots for the end of the game. Bathroom line information is readily available, and the app will send staff to bathrooms that are in need of service. Transit information is available on 2,000 HD TV’s located in the complex, and even teams benefit from the technological advancements. Locker rooms are outfitted with giant touchscreens to watch replays and develop strategy instead of the usual whiteboards.

Learn More

Ohio University’s online Master’s in Athletic Administration program specializes in developing interscholastic Athletic Directors, building on the students’ passion for serving young student-athletes and running a highly-successful athletic department. Ohio University is a pioneer in sports education. By establishing the first academic program in the field of sports administration, this online program is recognized today as the premier professional training program for candidates seeking careers in the sports industry.

More Reading

Ohio University, “10 Dominant American High School Football Programs”
Ohio University, “5 Sports Technology Trends Emerging in 2016”

Sources

The Sportster, “Top 15 Stadiums Made for Tech Geeks”
Wired, “The Highest-Tech Stadium in Sports is Pretty Much a Giant Tesla”
Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “U.S. Bank Stadium: Tech Experience Designed to Entice Fans”
Sports Day, Report: AT&T Naming Rights for Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium”
AT&T Stadium, “A to Z Guide”