FC Cincinnati

TQL Stadium ensures fans can focus on the action by delivering 100% digital experiences using an Aruba ESP network

  • Customer Profile

    A professional soccer club founded in 2016 and based in Cincinnati, Ohio, FC Cincinnati owns and operates TQL Stadium, which is one of the most ambitious soccer-specific stadiums in the world. It is also one of the largest soccer-specific facilities in Major League Soccer (MLS). At 518,000 square feet TQL Stadium has a capacity of 26,000 with a 360-degree canopy roof that covers every seat in the stadium, but still allows sufficient sun in to grow a natural grass field. The facility meets all current requirements to host CONCACAF and FIFA events, including the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams.
    • Vertical: Large Public Venue
    • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    • Customer size: 26,000-seat stadium, 150 employees, 1000 game day workers

    Use Case

    Engineer a cashless, contactless, digitalized soccer stadium to deliver next-generation fan and guest experiences, while enabling an IT-as-a-Service model, by providing future-ready, high-performance, high-availability, highly-secure wired and wireless networking infrastructure that can be continuously evolved as new user and operational needs develop.

    Requirements

    • Deploy an advanced network for cashless, contactless fan and guest experiences
    • Obtain adaptable, reliable and secure infrastructure that supports IT-as-a Service
    • Permit ongoing experiential and operational innovations

    Outcomes

    • Completed 16,000 food and beverage transactions at an average rate of less 500 milliseconds
    • Powers an architecturally-integrated video system with over five miles of LED lights that displays real-time feeds from 48 multicast channels
    • Supports 100% cashless, contactless, mobile-centric experiences including ticketing, entry, and refreshments
    • Enables competitive differentiation for capturing entertainment wallet share
    • Gained a future-ready network that contributes to profitability by evolving to meet new user and operational needs

    Seeking to raise the bar for soccer fan experiences, FC Cincinnati embarked on a project to build one of the most ambitious technology-enabled stadiums in the world and use a managed services model for delivering networking connectivity.

    “Constructing a cashless, contactless, digitalized facility required wired and wireless infrastructure that not only helped us deliver world-class experiences for today and tomorrow, but also supplied the intelligence, flexibility and reliability to manage it from afar,” explains Dan Lolli, Vice President of Facilities and Stadium General Manager for Cincinnati, Ohio-based Major League Soccer MLS franchise.

    Aruba Selected as Demonstrated Stadium Leader

    A young franchise in a young professional sports league, FCC designed it’s next-generation, 26,000-seat TQL Stadium with modern innovations to attract entertainment wallet share. This includes displaying live images, instant replays, up-to-the-minute statistics, graphics and animations on massive Daktronics video boards inside the stadium as well as across the building’s entire eastern façade using 14,370 feet of SACO V-STICK S video lighting technology. Other amenities range from mobile ticketing and scanning, for rapid entry, to cashless refreshment purchasing that can complete thousands of transactions at millisecond speeds.

    “Every modern fan experience today is powered by technology,” says Lolli. “Whether it’s ticketing, food and beverage, visual displays, or even backend processes that a fan doesn’t see, delivering exceptional experiences requires having a high-performance, reliable Wi-Fi and wired networking.”

    Working with its trusted IT-as-a-Service partner, Atomic Data, FCC determined that an end-to-end solution by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, met all of its requirements. “Aruba is a demonstrated leader in stadium deployments,” Lolli says. “It’s known for delivering superior, high-performance, reliable, and consistent experiences while being efficient and cost-effective to manage.”

    “Aruba is a demonstrated leader in stadium deployments,” Lolli says. “It’s known for delivering superior, high-performance, reliable, and consistent experiences while being efficient and cost-effective to manage.”

    FC Cincinnati stadium exterior

    Intelligence + Automation + Expertise = Success

    FCC selected numerous solutions for its Aruba ESP infrastructure at TQL Stadium. For the Wi-Fi 6 wireless network, this includes Aruba’s 518 Series (APs) under fan seats on the main concourse, 535 Series indoor APs in the VIP suites, and 570 Series outdoor APs to facilitate outdoor connectivity like ticketing, along with 7200 Series Mobility Controllers.

    The soccer franchise’s wired network is comprised of the intelligent CX 8230 Switch Series at the core and CX 6330 Switch Series for access. Further a combination of the 3810 Switch Series and the 2930 Switch Series, powers IP Audio and Video systems.

    From a network management perspective, FCC is streamlining wired and wireless network administration by implementing AirWave for network management along with ClearPass for network access control (NAC) and policy management. The team also adopted NetEdit for automating and coordinating switch configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting.

    Robust tools and technical support streamline deployment

    During deployment, FCC realized various advantages from adopting Aruba. This included capitalizing flexibility and agility of its new networking solutions by staging the stadium’s entire network off-site at Atomic Data’s Minneapolis headquarters.

    “During stadium construction, Aruba’s robust tools allowed Atomic Data to stage our entire network off site and ship it to our stadium,” says Lolli. “This streamlined deployment by about 4 to 8 weeks, versus the traditional on-site approach, which helped us meet our completion deadlines. Since then, Aruba’s software automation has ensured efficient network management on a day-to-day basis.”

    FCC also leveraged Aruba’s expert deployment assistance. “The support we received was outstanding,” Lolli says. “The project managers helped established clear expectations and provided a road map for everyone to follow that kept us all on track. Aruba representatives even came onsite for the first few games and then followed up with specific recommendations for optimizing network performance.”

    “Most importantly, Aruba helped ensure all parties, including FCC and Atomic Data, worked as one team with clear objectives for making our project successful,” Lolli adds.

    Powering unique visual, mobile and contactless experiences

    On game days and for special events, visitors are greeted by the unique, network-driven LED display wrapping around the stadium building. “The SACO display has over five miles of LED lights and is one of only two of its type,” says Lolli. “It’s the architectural crown jewel of our facility and is the first stadium in the world, in any sport, to use this type of display.”

    Throughout their visit, guests enjoy multiple contactless experiences, starting with using SeatGeek mobile ticketing followed by presenting their credentials to one of FCC’s nearly 70 Fortress wireless scanners for fast, paperless entry.

    “Our speedy Aruba Wi-Fi enables fans to invite their friends and easily share tickets with a few swipes on their smartphone,” says Lolli. “Mobile ticketing is also important from a business standpoint as it eliminates much of the counterfeit ticketing that is wide spread throughout entertainment.”

    Processing thousands of transactions in less than a half-second

    Inside the stadium, fans can view up to 48 different channels of multicast content. “We broadcast to 330 IPTVs mounted throughout the building as well as to the widest video board at any North American soccer stadium,” Lolli says. “Also, during special events, we can broadcast whatever content is requested.”

    FCC guests are also delighted by cashless refreshments and merchandise ordering from the stadium’s 175 vendors, facilitated by 200 wired, wireless and mobile point-of-sale devices controlled by cloud-based Appetize. “On Opening Day our network processed more than 16,000 food and beverage transactions over a few hours, with most completed in less than half a second,” Lolli says.

    Operationally, the network contributes to visitor experiences by reliably supporting multiple behind-the-scenes systems and devices. These include hundreds of security cameras, door access devices, climate controls, and business applications such as Microsoft Office 365.

    “At a facility like ours, regardless of the type of event, there are always issues to address,” says Lolli. “None of them are ever related to our network because our infrastructure is solid and Aruba supports us with flexibly and frictionless evolving our infrastructure to meet changing demands.”

    Overall, this means Aruba is enhancing profitability for FCC. “We based every aspect of designing, building and maintaining our stadium on creating next-generation fan experiences, making the right networking solution a critical decision for us,” Lolli says.

    Guests entering the FC Cincinnati stadium

    Location Awareness, AI and Cloud Innovations on Deck

    Moving forward, FCC plans to continue enhancing its network for ongoing entertainment innovation. This includes evaluating Aruba’s cloud-based, AIOps-enabled networking innovations such as Aruba Central for proactive network management, User Experience Insight (UXI) for real-time detection and remediation of Wi-Fi incidents, and Air Pass for seamless device handoffs between cellular networks and Wi-Fi.

    The franchise is also assessing Aruba’s Location Services for supporting real-time crowd intelligence. “As soccer fans only leave their seats during half time, location services can help us with analyzing and directing traffic flow in our dynamic environment,” Lolli says.

    “Clearly, anything that assists with expanding opportunities for fans to have great experiences is something we’ll consider,” he adds.

    Enhancing profitability by increasing wallet share

    No matter what the future holds, FCC appreciates its reliable, secure, high-performance infrastructure. “Our adaptable network assures we can host everything from international soccer tournaments and marquis entertainment events to private galas and graduation ceremonies because we’re confident our technology infrastructure will deliver on the promises we make,” says Lolli.

    Overall, this means Aruba is enhancing profitability for FCC. “We based every aspect of designing, building and maintaining our stadium on creating next-generation fan experiences, making the right networking solution a critical decision for us,” Lolli says. “We can count on our Aruba infrastructure to provide the experiences that help differentiate us from the many other sporting and non-sporting entertainment options, which increases our wallet share.”

    Read more

    We can count on our Aruba infrastructure to provide the experiences that help differentiate us from the many other sporting and non-sporting entertainment options, which increases our wallet share.
    Dan Lolli, Vice President of Facilities and Stadium General Manager, FC Cincinnati
  • Customer Profile

    A professional soccer club founded in 2016 and based in Cincinnati, Ohio, FC Cincinnati owns and operates TQL Stadium, which is one of the most ambitious soccer-specific stadiums in the world. It is also one of the largest soccer-specific facilities in Major League Soccer (MLS). At 518,000 square feet TQL Stadium has a capacity of 26,000 with a 360-degree canopy roof that covers every seat in the stadium, but still allows sufficient sun in to grow a natural grass field. The facility meets all current requirements to host CONCACAF and FIFA events, including the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams.
    • Vertical: Large Public Venue
    • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    • Customer size: 26,000-seat stadium, 150 employees, 1000 game day workers

    Use Case

    Engineer a cashless, contactless, digitalized soccer stadium to deliver next-generation fan and guest experiences, while enabling an IT-as-a-Service model, by providing future-ready, high-performance, high-availability, highly-secure wired and wireless networking infrastructure that can be continuously evolved as new user and operational needs develop.

    Requirements

    • Deploy an advanced network for cashless, contactless fan and guest experiences
    • Obtain adaptable, reliable and secure infrastructure that supports IT-as-a Service
    • Permit ongoing experiential and operational innovations

    Outcomes

    • Completed 16,000 food and beverage transactions at an average rate of less 500 milliseconds
    • Powers an architecturally-integrated video system with over five miles of LED lights that displays real-time feeds from 48 multicast channels
    • Supports 100% cashless, contactless, mobile-centric experiences including ticketing, entry, and refreshments
    • Enables competitive differentiation for capturing entertainment wallet share
    • Gained a future-ready network that contributes to profitability by evolving to meet new user and operational needs

    Seeking to raise the bar for soccer fan experiences, FC Cincinnati embarked on a project to build one of the most ambitious technology-enabled stadiums in the world and use a managed services model for delivering networking connectivity.

    “Constructing a cashless, contactless, digitalized facility required wired and wireless infrastructure that not only helped us deliver world-class experiences for today and tomorrow, but also supplied the intelligence, flexibility and reliability to manage it from afar,” explains Dan Lolli, Vice President of Facilities and Stadium General Manager for Cincinnati, Ohio-based Major League Soccer MLS franchise.

    Aruba Selected as Demonstrated Stadium Leader

    A young franchise in a young professional sports league, FCC designed it’s next-generation, 26,000-seat TQL Stadium with modern innovations to attract entertainment wallet share. This includes displaying live images, instant replays, up-to-the-minute statistics, graphics and animations on massive Daktronics video boards inside the stadium as well as across the building’s entire eastern façade using 14,370 feet of SACO V-STICK S video lighting technology. Other amenities range from mobile ticketing and scanning, for rapid entry, to cashless refreshment purchasing that can complete thousands of transactions at millisecond speeds.

    “Every modern fan experience today is powered by technology,” says Lolli. “Whether it’s ticketing, food and beverage, visual displays, or even backend processes that a fan doesn’t see, delivering exceptional experiences requires having a high-performance, reliable Wi-Fi and wired networking.”

    Working with its trusted IT-as-a-Service partner, Atomic Data, FCC determined that an end-to-end solution by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, met all of its requirements. “Aruba is a demonstrated leader in stadium deployments,” Lolli says. “It’s known for delivering superior, high-performance, reliable, and consistent experiences while being efficient and cost-effective to manage.”

    “Aruba is a demonstrated leader in stadium deployments,” Lolli says. “It’s known for delivering superior, high-performance, reliable, and consistent experiences while being efficient and cost-effective to manage.”

    FC Cincinnati stadium exterior

    Intelligence + Automation + Expertise = Success

    FCC selected numerous solutions for its Aruba ESP infrastructure at TQL Stadium. For the Wi-Fi 6 wireless network, this includes Aruba’s 518 Series (APs) under fan seats on the main concourse, 535 Series indoor APs in the VIP suites, and 570 Series outdoor APs to facilitate outdoor connectivity like ticketing, along with 7200 Series Mobility Controllers.

    The soccer franchise’s wired network is comprised of the intelligent CX 8230 Switch Series at the core and CX 6330 Switch Series for access. Further a combination of the 3810 Switch Series and the 2930 Switch Series, powers IP Audio and Video systems.

    From a network management perspective, FCC is streamlining wired and wireless network administration by implementing AirWave for network management along with ClearPass for network access control (NAC) and policy management. The team also adopted NetEdit for automating and coordinating switch configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting.

    Robust tools and technical support streamline deployment

    During deployment, FCC realized various advantages from adopting Aruba. This included capitalizing flexibility and agility of its new networking solutions by staging the stadium’s entire network off-site at Atomic Data’s Minneapolis headquarters.

    “During stadium construction, Aruba’s robust tools allowed Atomic Data to stage our entire network off site and ship it to our stadium,” says Lolli. “This streamlined deployment by about 4 to 8 weeks, versus the traditional on-site approach, which helped us meet our completion deadlines. Since then, Aruba’s software automation has ensured efficient network management on a day-to-day basis.”

    FCC also leveraged Aruba’s expert deployment assistance. “The support we received was outstanding,” Lolli says. “The project managers helped established clear expectations and provided a road map for everyone to follow that kept us all on track. Aruba representatives even came onsite for the first few games and then followed up with specific recommendations for optimizing network performance.”

    “Most importantly, Aruba helped ensure all parties, including FCC and Atomic Data, worked as one team with clear objectives for making our project successful,” Lolli adds.

    Powering unique visual, mobile and contactless experiences

    On game days and for special events, visitors are greeted by the unique, network-driven LED display wrapping around the stadium building. “The SACO display has over five miles of LED lights and is one of only two of its type,” says Lolli. “It’s the architectural crown jewel of our facility and is the first stadium in the world, in any sport, to use this type of display.”

    Throughout their visit, guests enjoy multiple contactless experiences, starting with using SeatGeek mobile ticketing followed by presenting their credentials to one of FCC’s nearly 70 Fortress wireless scanners for fast, paperless entry.

    “Our speedy Aruba Wi-Fi enables fans to invite their friends and easily share tickets with a few swipes on their smartphone,” says Lolli. “Mobile ticketing is also important from a business standpoint as it eliminates much of the counterfeit ticketing that is wide spread throughout entertainment.”

    Processing thousands of transactions in less than a half-second

    Inside the stadium, fans can view up to 48 different channels of multicast content. “We broadcast to 330 IPTVs mounted throughout the building as well as to the widest video board at any North American soccer stadium,” Lolli says. “Also, during special events, we can broadcast whatever content is requested.”

    FCC guests are also delighted by cashless refreshments and merchandise ordering from the stadium’s 175 vendors, facilitated by 200 wired, wireless and mobile point-of-sale devices controlled by cloud-based Appetize. “On Opening Day our network processed more than 16,000 food and beverage transactions over a few hours, with most completed in less than half a second,” Lolli says.

    Operationally, the network contributes to visitor experiences by reliably supporting multiple behind-the-scenes systems and devices. These include hundreds of security cameras, door access devices, climate controls, and business applications such as Microsoft Office 365.

    “At a facility like ours, regardless of the type of event, there are always issues to address,” says Lolli. “None of them are ever related to our network because our infrastructure is solid and Aruba supports us with flexibly and frictionless evolving our infrastructure to meet changing demands.”

    Overall, this means Aruba is enhancing profitability for FCC. “We based every aspect of designing, building and maintaining our stadium on creating next-generation fan experiences, making the right networking solution a critical decision for us,” Lolli says.

    Guests entering the FC Cincinnati stadium

    Location Awareness, AI and Cloud Innovations on Deck

    Moving forward, FCC plans to continue enhancing its network for ongoing entertainment innovation. This includes evaluating Aruba’s cloud-based, AIOps-enabled networking innovations such as Aruba Central for proactive network management, User Experience Insight (UXI) for real-time detection and remediation of Wi-Fi incidents, and Air Pass for seamless device handoffs between cellular networks and Wi-Fi.

    The franchise is also assessing Aruba’s Location Services for supporting real-time crowd intelligence. “As soccer fans only leave their seats during half time, location services can help us with analyzing and directing traffic flow in our dynamic environment,” Lolli says.

    “Clearly, anything that assists with expanding opportunities for fans to have great experiences is something we’ll consider,” he adds.

    Enhancing profitability by increasing wallet share

    No matter what the future holds, FCC appreciates its reliable, secure, high-performance infrastructure. “Our adaptable network assures we can host everything from international soccer tournaments and marquis entertainment events to private galas and graduation ceremonies because we’re confident our technology infrastructure will deliver on the promises we make,” says Lolli.

    Overall, this means Aruba is enhancing profitability for FCC. “We based every aspect of designing, building and maintaining our stadium on creating next-generation fan experiences, making the right networking solution a critical decision for us,” Lolli says. “We can count on our Aruba infrastructure to provide the experiences that help differentiate us from the many other sporting and non-sporting entertainment options, which increases our wallet share.”

    We can count on our Aruba infrastructure to provide the experiences that help differentiate us from the many other sporting and non-sporting entertainment options, which increases our wallet share.
    Dan Lolli, Vice President of Facilities and Stadium General Manager, FC Cincinnati
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