Technology in sport: Inside the stadium of the future

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For a lot of fans, football is a video game of tradition– you show up simply before kick-off, have a pie and pint at half-time, and leave elated or deflated straight after the end of the match. However now Tottenham Hotspur Football Club– with a brand name new, cutting edge stadium– hopes to use innovation to re-think how football fans invest their Saturday afternoons or even longer.

” We want to take what is fundamentally Tottenham, to accept it and to take it to the next level. We want to make Tottenham a destination because there are many factors to go to the stadium– we wish to create Destination Tottenham,” states Donna-Maria Cullen, executive director at Spurs.

Football matches themselves, of course, will be essential to this technique– and Spurs are one of the tops in the English Premier League. Yet football is now far from the only video game to happen at the brand-new stadium. The club has actually reached a contract with the NFL to hold a minimum of two American football video games a year in a 10- year partnership. The location will also hold concerts by prominent bands.

SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO’s guide(ZDNet unique report)| Download the report as a PDF(TechRepublic)

The new arena was initially expected to open last summertime but hold-ups in construction indicated Spurs finally played their very first competitive match at the ground at the start of April. As I saw back in July 2017, the plan was always to produce a future-proofed, smart stadium Now, after investing upwards of ₤850 m, fans can experience the arena for themselves.

Christopher Lee, handling director of stadium-designer Populous, says the 62,062- seater venue will offer a new kind of experience for visitors. On my see to the new stadium as part of a media day prior to opening, I was impressed by the quality of the facilities. Rather than being rounded up through confined and out-of-date facilities, fans can make the most of a variety of choices with the goal of keeping them in the place for longer, which implies better customers and larger revenues for Spurs.

” The architecture is all about producing an environment where viewers can choose where they desire to go, rather than being informed where to go,” states Lee, identifying that the new arena represents a break in custom for a normal English football ground. “The goal is we produce a venue like in United States sport, where you come for an entire day, remain at the arena and have various experiences.”

Digital systems and services are main to that approach. Rather than being executed as an afterthought, the stadium’s innovation systems– through essential partners such as HPE, Schneider Electric and HP Inc.– have been developed into the fabric of the ground.

The arena includes HPE Aruba technology with 1,641 Wi-Fi Access Points that offer Wi-Fi protection all over. The core wired network infrastructure, meanwhile, enables the operation of the stadium’s important services, such as CCTV, constructing management systems, audio visual technologies, and ticketing.

Finally, 700 HPE Bluetooth beacons operate in combination with a freshly created Spurs App to offer fans place services, assisting fans browse bars, dining establishments and retail stores. The objective is that this facilities provides the structures for digitally made it possible for fan experiences, both now and into the future, states Lee.

” Innovation is key to design-thinking for the stadium, whether that’s for access systems, cashless innovations, Wi-Fi protection, or integrating the signal of all 4 of the major UK mobile suppliers,” he states. “Ultimately it has to do with producing a facilities and a foundation that permits us to welcome new technologies as they come out. We wish to be able to constantly integrate those within the stadium.”

Like Lee, Sanjeev Katwa, director of innovation at Tottenham Hotspur, says digital facilities is the essential to providing brand-new types of customer experiences at the ground. The brand-new arena is fully cashless. All significant contactless debit and credit cards are accepted, along with mobile and wearable payment systems, consisting of Apple Pay and Google Pay.

” If you look at that experience, we’ve got 100 percent cashless in retail, catering and even programme sales,” states Katwa. “Many people nowadays in London don’t have money in their pockets. If you’re having fun and your team is winning, you’re simply going to keep on investing more. So, I think technology has enabled those new earnings opportunities.”

Fans are motivated to show up early at the new arena to maximize their day out. While fans showing up earlier helps increase profits, Katwa says it also helps Spurs handle the flow of clients to various areas and ensures top quality experiences around the ground. When again, technology plays a key making it possible for function.

” We do security checks at the bottom of the ramp to accessing the arena and we utilize technology for that utilizing PDAs,” says Katwa. “If we didn’t put the innovation infrastructure in place, I do not believe we ‘d have the ability to meet that fan experience that our clients want. I think we’re providing people various options and various experiences– and I believe technology is allowing all of that.”

SEE: Tech budget plans 2019: A CXO’s guide(ZDNet unique report)| Download the report as a PDF(TechRepublic)

Fans at this digitally enabled arena have a huge amount of choice. Outside the ground, the Tottenham Experience houses the Spurs Store, which at 23,000 square-feet is the biggest retail space of any football club in Europe. The Experience is home to a range of other attractions, consisting of stadium trips, and the Club Museum and Archive.

Inside the ground, the brand-new arena consists of a host of bars and restaurants. The Marketplace Place is a fan zone that includes food and drink outlets motivated by London’s street-food market scene. At the back of The marketplace Place in the 17,500- seater South Stand is the 65- metre Objective Line Bar, which is the longest bar in Europe.

Other centers include a series of feature bars, a specifically created household location and top-price corporate facilities. These executive locations include suites, lodges serving Michelin-Star-calibre food, sky lounges, and The Tunnel Club, a glass-walled dining establishment and bar that provides cash-rich advocates a behind-the-scenes view of the gamers’ tunnel.

These pioneering centers are a far cry from the traditional pie-and-pint dished out to football fans. However while Michelin-starred food and craft beers may sound more attracting, getting football fans to accept the shift away from a brief, sharp 90 minutes of raucous assistance to a full day of ‘experiences’ will be not be easy.

Match day traditions– many of which are passed from one generation to the next– matter to football fans. I’m an Aston Vacation home fan and my assistance is everything about customs; parking our vehicle in the same location, purchasing sweets from the same shop, eating over-cooked hamburgers from the very same van outside the ground, chatting with strangers about our shared passion for something beyond our control.

There’s nothing fundamentally unique about these experiences, but there’s something warm, comfortable and ideal about these traditions. If the nature of football support is to change, then fans need to willingly accept that shift. It’s an improvement of which Katwa is only too aware– and, while altering fan behaviours is an obstacle, he thinks Spurs fans will begin to delight in the brand-new experience.

” Individuals have been coming to this area for several years, method prior to a lot of us were even born. The concept is to welcome people to get here at least 2 hours previously, to hang around with us and take pleasure in the choice. Ultimately, you provide fans and customers choice, and I believe that will likewise drive additional profits,” he states.

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