Fan experience was front and center when FC Cincinnati, the Cincinnati-based Major League Soccer franchise, began building TQL Stadium.
FCC needed networking technology to support a variety of stadium functions: secure, high-speed, wired and wireless connections; mobile ticketing and scanning; a large video board; and a point-of-sale (POS) system for 175 food and beverage vendors. The organization turned to Minneapolis-based IT services firm and consultancy Atomic Data to supply the stadium technology, which was based on Aruba Networks equipment. The duo delivered network infrastructure capable of accommodating the new stadium’s increasing attendance.
TQL Stadium’s networking needs
After Major League Soccer awarded an expansion franchise to Cincinnati in 2018, FCC aimed to open a new facility and began building a $250 million, privately funded stadium with a capacity of 26,000 seats. Thorough planning went into the TQL Stadium building, which includes 53 traditional suites and 4,500 premium seats throughout four premium club spaces.
FCC wanted a channel partner familiar with soccer stadiums to oversee the stadium’s networking deployment and selected Atomic Data. Atomic Data managed technology for Minnesota United FC’s Allianz Field, a 19,400-seat soccer stadium that opened on April 13, 2019, and worked on Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium. In addition to overseeing the networking project, Atomic Data would integrate the technology.
The companies then evaluated vendors and decided to use Aruba Networks because of Aruba’s equipment design, scalability and pricing, noted Yagya Mahadevan, enterprise project manager at Atomic Data.
The stadium technology package included the following:
- Aruba Wi-Fi 6 indoor and outdoor access points (APs) and mobility controllers for TQL Stadium’s wireless network;
- Aruba access switches at the edge for IP audio and video;
- Aruba CX Series switches for access and aggregation in the data center;
- visitor-facing connectivity, including SeatGeek mobile ticketing and Fortress wireless scanners for paperless entry;
- Appetize, a cloud-enabled POS system that support the stadium’s food and beverage vendors;
- two Daktronics video displays and 14,370 feet of SACO V-Stick S video fixtures that show live images, replays, statistics, graphics and animation inside the stadium and across its eastern facade;
- hundreds of security cameras and stadium access devices to ensure that intruders do not make their way into the stadium; and
- business applications, such as Microsoft Office 365.