Cisco and Real Madrid team up to create one of Europe’s most connected stadiums with WiFi 6

Real Madrid’s home, the Santiago-Bernabau Stadium, is set to increase fan engagement with a WiFi 6 network from Cisco

Real Madrid recently announced a multi-year global partnership Cisco which will see the technology company deploying the largest WiFi 6 stadium network in Europe to date. The new network will make Santiago Bernabéu Stadium one of the most technologically-advanced sporting venues in the world.

The 85,000-seat multi-purpose stadium will feature the latest in WiFi 6 for connectivity to power the ultimate fan experience, from enhanced screens to instant replays.

More than 1,200 WiFi 6 access points in a single, converged Cisco network will allow Santiago Bernabéu Stadium will deliver faster speeds for more immersive experience applications, as well as more bandwidth and higher reliability than the previous WiFi standard.

Also, more than 1,000 screens powered by Cisco’s end-to-end IPTV solution – which combines HD video delivery with digital signage – will allow the Club to drive incremental revenue, activation, and fan engagement throughout the complex.

Complete end to end system

As to how Real Madrid will use this network and the other solutions being implemented, Ken Martin, general manager and director of global sales, sports and entertainment solutions group, Cisco, told SVG Europe: “The network will support the entire stadium’s building management systems, from HVAC, lighting, heating, and automated services, all the way down to sensors. The screens will be powering immersive and personalised content from sponsor activation, fan engagement, food and beverage promotions, local communications and non-match day activations.

“Each display can target fans differently based on demographics or we can take over the entire estate for any branding or emergency messaging,” he goes on. “Screens will also have the capability to present internal and/or external presentations if required. This will give Real Madrid the ability to use its facilities for other events and purposes outside of match days.”

Looking ahead, Martin says the capacity in the network will help take Real Madrid forwards. He explains: “The transition from serial digital interface (SDI) to IP fabric for media (IPFM) is opening the doors to many opportunities to create new forms of content and new channels to market. With IPFM we can make instant replays truly instant and support an increase in camera angles to help decision-making in the game.”

Long standing relationship

On what technology Cisco is deploying at the stadium, the Stadium will use end-to-end Cisco infrastructure including: Cisco IP Fabric for Media (IPFM); Cisco Cat 9K access points (1,200+) supporting its latest HD WiFi 6 standard 802.11ax; Cisco ACI ; Cisco DNA Spaces; and Cisco’s end-to-end IPTV solution, which combines UHD video delivery with state-of-the art dynamic signage. The displays will also be able to provide internal security information. All data presented on displays will be low latency.

Martin says: “We have had a long-standing relationship with Real Madrid (just under 20 years), which has provided us with the opportunity to understand their needs as an organisation, and match those needs with our market-proven technology solutions.

“Based on Real Madrid’s business goals of driving new revenues, improving operational efficiency, reducing costs, and building engagement with fans, our solutions align to meet both day one and day two requirements and future aspirations.”

Said Emilio Butragueño, director of institutional relations at Real Madrid C.F: “Thanks to this collaboration agreement with Cisco, a leader in connectivity and content management, the new Santiago Bernabéu Stadium ensures that it can take data, voice and video to any point and thus guarantee the widest range of services and an unrivalled spectacle in the world of football.”

Cisco solutions have served as the technological foundation of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium for many years. The expanded partnership will allow Real Madrid to further strengthen its reputation as a global leader of innovation and use Cisco’s experience and expertise to help ensure its world-class arena remains at the forefront of technology for years to come.

In the US, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park hosted this year’s Super Bowl LVI with well over 100 million viewers around the world and 70,000-plus fans inside the stadium. During this event, SoFi relied on a Cisco converged network that processed more than 53 petabytes of traffic on the day of the Super Bowl.

Over the past year, the stadium has averaged 20-plusTB of data at events, from games to concerts, with approximately 80% of fans joining the network. The Cisco converged network touches every aspect of SoFi Stadium‘s operations; broadcast, show production, concessions, merchandise sales, fan experiences, and building operations.


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