SoFi Stadium’s videoboard takes technology to new heights

SoFi Stadium’s oval videoboard is the visual centerpiece of the new venue. Credit: Jeff Lewis/LA Rams

Once just a vision captured by artist renderings, the main video board at SoFi Stadium is now a stunning reality, showing what’s possible when you combine a powerful idea with the technology, construction expertise and the will to make it so.

While fans will have to wait for the pandemic to subside before they can fully enjoy its attributes, like its full 4K resolution, the 120-yards long double-sided oval videoboard from Samsung – which is as tall as four stories high at its largest points – has been providing “wow” moments all fall to TV audiences who get glimpses on-screen of the board in action. But take their word for it, those who have seen it in person are generally in awe.

“It’s absolutely fascinating – I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. The stadium is home to two NFL teams, the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. Early this fall at a team scrimmage, the board was lit up and Hedinsson walked all around the stadium for looks from as many vantage points as possible, and came away stunned.

“It’s everything we had hoped for,” Hedinsson said. “It’s exactly what it was designed to do.”

Vision of Kroenke

When the idea of what would become SoFi Stadium was being developed, several sources we talked to pointed to Rams Owner/Chairman and SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park developer Stan Kroenke as the visionary for a videoboard that had never been done before.

The videoboard in Chargers configuration for a home game this fall. Credit: Los Angeles Chargers

“I have to give full credit to Mr. Kroenke for the vision,” said Hedinsson. “He sat down with HKS, our architects, and asked what was the ‘art of the possible.’ It was all part of how to innovate for the guest experience, and how to approach it.”

The evolution of videoboards in large NFL-type venues has become an interesting trend to watch, with highlights along the way including the massive centerhung screen at the Dallas Cowboys’ home, AT&T Stadium, and the circular “Halo Board” that sits below the outside edges of the camera shutter-like closable roof at the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

At SoFi Stadium (and the adjacent Hollywood Park), where various reports estimate that Kroenke has spent somewhere north of $5 billion in development costs, the needle of innovation has now been moved in a much different direction. Originally nicknamed the “Oculus” (a term no longer used by the stadium) the double-sided oval board hangs from the stadium’s cable-supported roof in a manner designed to present a clear video view to any seat in the house, from the field-level seats all the way up to the highest decks. Capacity for SoFi Stadium is estimated at approximately 70,000 for NFL games, and up to 100,000 for special events, like the Super Bowl.

So what are the stats?

According to figures provided by SoFi Stadium and by Samsung, the videoboard sits 122 feet above the playing field and 70 feet below the roof canopy; at 120 yards it is longer than the field of play, and it is also wider than the field. According to Samsung, its outdoor LED products were used exclusively to build the 70,000 square-foot dual-sided screen, which contains nearly 80 million pixels at a spacing distance of 8 millimeters from center to center.

The board is not symmetrical in shape for a reason: According to Samsung, the different sizes are part of the strategy of making the board visible to all seats in the venue. Mark Quiroz, Samsung’s vice president for sales, marketing and business development, said the company did virtual simulations of the screen’s visibility angles to all the seating sections to help determine the best final shape.

“It was all about getting the best views for the fans,” Quiroz said of the virtual testing.

The videoboard was first assembled on the field level, then raised up later. Credit: Jeff Lewis/LA Rams

At its tallest points, the board’s largest panel is approximately 40 feet tall; at the smallest points it is approximately 20 feet tall. According to Samsung, fans seated in the lower bowl will view the inside of the videoboard, while fans in the upper bowl areas will view the outer panels of the videoboard.

According to SoFi Stadium, the videoboard not only features the most LEDs ever used in a sports or entertainment venue, but it also has the first 4K end-to-end video production in a stadium, one that has 12 Gbps connections between cameras to ensure enough band- width for the higher-resolution content. The videoboard also has a JBL audio system that is home to more than 260 of the stadium’s approximately 4,500 loudspeakers.

According to Hedinsson, the videoboard will also eventually house 5G cellular antennas, since the location of the board gives it a perfect line-of-sight mounting position for the seating bowl.

If Hedinsson’s initial impression is correct, it would seem that all the partners involved in the board’s construction and deployment nailed Kroenke’s original vision, and made it come to life. But it was far from an easy task.

How to build ‘the art of the possible’

According to Hedinsson, the uniqueness of the videoboard and its structural size dictated that all design had to start by thinking about the board first.

“It [the videoboard] needed to be part of the earliest discussions – you have to design around an idea like that,” Hedinsson said. Since the 2.2-million-pound board would rely on the stadium’s cable-net roof for support, it was both one of the first structures to be designed, and one of the last to be put in place. The board was actually assembled on the ground inside the venue, and then hoisted into place after the roof was built.

According to Samsung’s Quiroz, the final installation of the board involved a lot more than just pulling on some cables.

A field-level view of the board in action. Credit: LA Rams

“The most challenging aspect [of the construction] was the tolerance levels in the seams,” said Quiroz, talking about the tightness needed to keep screens close together so that the video output does not have any visible breaks.

“Getting the seams right on the ground was one thing, and then keeping it together until you get it in the final resting place was another major challenge,” Quiroz said.

As if the construction team needed any more difficulty, during the final months of building the project had to deal with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. While admitting that Covid was “kind of a cloud that loomed over everything,” Quiroz said that since the overall project was a closed situation in a fairly large space made it somewhat easier to deal with safety requirements like social distancing.

Using the new canvas

When fans finally are allowed in the venue, the final chapter of the SoFi Stadium videoboard will be written – or, more accurately, shown in 4K resolution, as game information and sponsor messages make use of the one-of-a-kind screenscape. With the circular shape, all the potential providers of content – from the teams to the potential sponsors – seem excited about the possibilities.

“With the custom shape, there are probably things that still need to be developed,” said Samsung’s Quiroz, about the need for new design tools and new ways of thinking about what types of content might be possible. “We provided the template, so now it’s all about how you can use the capacity.”

According to Hedinsson, the SoFi tenant teams – both the Rams and the Chargers – have actively been working on building content for the board since December of 2019. With various “modes” available for display
– including full 360-degree perspectives and “full takeover,” where the Ross Video and Cisco Vision display management systems in tandem will allow a single message across not just the video board but over all the 2,000-plus smaller displays in the venue – Hedinsson is looking forward to times when the video board fulfills its promise of being able to amplify the atmosphere.

“The teams have really embraced [the board’s possibilities],” Hedinsson said. “We’re going to see some really interesting uses of the space.”

Converged innovation: SoFi Stadium’s networks break new ground

SoFi Stadium’s integrated technology is designed to elevate the fan experience at all levels. Credit: Jeff Lewis/LA Rams

When you spend more than $5 billion building a revolutionary-looking new sports and entertainment venue, it’s a good bet that the technology found inside is the best that can be found.

What’s truly innovative at the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is not just the quality and functionality of the technology’s pieces and parts, but also the venue’s embrace of a converged network design, where all network-attached devices connect to a single Cisco Catalyst-based network.

Led by Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, and master technology integrator AmpThink, the networking and compute environment deployed inside the building (as well as in Hollywood Park’s neighboring retail, commercial and residential area) is unlike most large venues, where different systems typically exist in their own silos, often with their own separate and different network.

Instead, the SoFi Stadium network brings all building functionality – including the wireless networks (among the largest built anywhere), the server compute platform, the telephone system, the IPTV network, the indoor and outdoor digital signage (including the massive oval dual-sided 4K main videoboard), the television broadcast systems, and the building management systems – into one converged platform, with a single vendor/single format structure.

“What we delivered is a scalable platform that simplifies Day 2 operations on Day 1,” said AmpThink president Bill Anderson.

Over the coming months, Stadium Tech Report plans to do deep technical dives on each segment of the stadium’s different technology deployments. Consider this story a sort of “executive summary” that will attempt to at the very least introduce all the technology elements that are part of the stunning new venue, which hosted its first NFL games for both stadium tenants, the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, in early September.

Converged network a revolution for stadiums

Editor’s note: This story is from our recent STADIUM TECH REPORT Fall 2020 issue, which you can read right now, no email or registration required! Also in this issue is a profile of the technology behind Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. START READING NOW!

If the stunning architecture of SoFi Stadium and its innovative elements like the oval, dual-sided videoboard represent the realization of Rams owner and Hollywood Park developer Stan Kroenke’s “art of the possible,” then the converged network and its interlocking technologies perhaps represent “the art of the practical,” at a scale somewhat unprecedented inside a large public venue.

If you poke your head inside older sports venues, you are most likely to see separate networks and operation centers for many of the different systems – wireless, wired networks, broadcast, and building operations. Historically the case has been made that those who know those systems best are responsible for building their operations – but the silo approach often brings headaches to those in charge of overall operations for the venue as a whole, as they deal with the proliferation of different systems to operate and manage.

Digital technologies helps SoFi Stadium be able to rebrand for each of its two “home” teams. Credit: Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Chargers

AmpThink, which has deployed networks in more than 70 venues across the country, pioneered the idea of a single, converged stadium network when it built the prototype at the 14,000-seat Dickies Arena last year. But the size and scope of the converged network project at SoFi Stadium – which will hold 70,000 fans for NFL games and up to 100,000 for special events like the Super Bowl – was much larger. Still, according to AmpThink’s Anderson, the planned outcome was the same: to deliver the best outcome for the customer.

“It all works together, because it’s designed to work together,” said Anderson. “Instead of fighting to see if one switch works with another, you can focus on the business.”

With 120 separate remote telecommunications rooms – including some hardened for hot weather conditions in the outside areas of Hollywood Park – the SoFi Stadium converged network is designed to present a “single pane of glass” management structure, where there are no “islands” requiring special attention.

Even the live video production system, usually a completely separate entity, is run on a connected Cisco Nexus switched environment. Every telecommunications closet or cabinet is directly connected via fiber to the campus core. According to AmpThink, all the telecom rooms have edge switches that use 25 Gbps optics and a minimum of two connections per closet/cabinet to provide an aggregate of 50 Gbps of campus interconnectivity.

The blanket of Wi-Fi and cellular coverage

On the Wi-Fi side, the SoFi Stadium network is the biggest AmpThink has built in a stadium, with approximately 2,400 APs inside the venue and another 300 in the surrounding Hollywood Park area. For the full Wi-Fi 6 Cisco deployment, AmpThink used an under-seat deployment in the main bowl. Before expanding to include full stadium technology integration, AmpThink made its name in successful big-venue Wi-Fi network design and deployment, with networks built most recently at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and last year at Ohio State and Oklahoma University, the first two large-stadium networks to move exclusively to the new Wi-Fi 6 standard.

An outside view of the stadium. Credit: SoFi Stadium/LA Rams

In a commitment to offering the best possible connectivity to consumer devices no matter which network they use, the Wi-Fi and cellular distributed antenna system (DAS) at SoFi Stadium were both designed to each provide 100 percent venue coverage. The DAS, designed and deployed by DAS Group Professionals using gear from JMA Wireless, is the largest ever deployed. According to Hedinsson, the network has 2,400 antennas and 3,200 remotes, and is capable of covering all licensed spectrum bands between 600 MHz to 6 GHz.

As cellular carriers move toward the 5G future, the DAS is capable of supporting all the low- and mid-band spectrum currently planned for use. According to Hedinsson, there will also be millimeter-wave 5G services in the stadium, from a carrier to be named later. The stadium networks are supported by 50 Gbps backbone links.

Bringing data center strategies to the stadium

While hyper-convergence of server use is common in the data center space, that has traditionally not been the case in sports and entertainment venue operations. But the eventual compute network built for SoFi Stadium’s operations even surprised AmpThink’s Anderson, whose company originally estimated a compute environment with perhaps 20 to 30 virtual machines.

As it stands now, Anderson said the compute environment has almost 100 VMs, which host applications for all the network operations as well as varied building management needs like power, light, HVAC, security, and even specialized systems like irrigation and seismic monitoring. Instead of a mix of servers running siloed applications on separate physical machines with different operating systems, the SoFi Stadium compute environment is a unified platform and includes a seamless integration into Google Cloud, allowing it to be easily scaled to meet current and future needs.

A digital stadium with displays big and small

Any discussion of digital displays at SoFi Stadium has to start with the main videoboard, a one-of-a-kind design of a 120-foot long oval that circles the playing field, with dual-sided 4K screens, some 40 feet in height. (Please see our detailed profile of the main videoboard in our recent Venue Display Report.)

The digital display footprint goes far beyond the main screen, with some 2,600 other smaller boards deployed throughout the venue and in Hollywood Park. According to Hedinsson, the ability of the Cisco Vision display management system is a key part of the “digital stadium” design, especially when you consider that the venue has two main tenants, each with their own branding and look and feel.

“Being digital means we can switch over the branding [by changing displays] instead of physically having to move signs,” said Hedinsson. “That’s why we have Cisco Vision. We have digital ‘playbooks’ for the different scenarios, and we can just push them out as needed.”

New Report: Inside the technology at SoFi Stadium and Allegiant Stadium

Stadium Tech Report is pleased to announce our FALL 2020 issue, with profiles of two of the most innovative new venues to open – SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas! While neither venue will host fans this NFL season, our profiles will dig in-depth to tell you about the technologies in place to make these stadiums the most advanced when it comes to the game-day experience. We also have a substantive news analysis story about how venues and product and service suppliers are planning to tackle two of the biggest venue issues when it comes to hosting fans during a pandemic – venue entry and concessions operations.

We’d like to take a quick moment to thank our sponsors, which for this issue include Corning, Boingo, MatSing, Cox Business/Hospitality Network, Comcast Business, American Tower, CommScope, AmpThink and ExteNet Systems. Their generous sponsorship makes it possible for us to offer this content free of charge to our readers. We’d also like to welcome readers from the Inside Towers community, who may have found their way here via our ongoing partnership with the excellent publication Inside Towers. We’d also like to thank the SEAT community for your continued interest and support.

We would like to take a moment here and give some special thanks to the people at SoFi Stadium and at Allegiant Stadium, and to all the other subjects we interviewed for this issue, for their extra help when it came to providing interview time and especially photos to help bring our publications to life. We quite literally couldn’t have done this without your help, and we look forward to visiting venues again in the near future!

Cisco inks deal for Wi-Fi 6 network, Cisco Vision system at SoFi Stadium

SoFi Stadium

Aerial view of ongoing construction at SoFi Stadium, future home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers. Credit: LA Rams/Mark Holtzman, West Coast Aerial Photography, Inc.

Cisco announced today that it will supply gear for a Wi-Fi 6 network at SoFi Stadium, the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, along with a deployment of its Cisco Vision IPTV display management system.

In an announcement that identifies Cisco as the “official IT network services partner of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park,” the networking company said it is slated to install “more than 2,500 Wi-Fi 6 access points” inside the still under-construction stadium, which is scheduled to open ahead of the 2020 NFL season. Hollywood Park, which is being built by Los Angeles Rams owner and chairman Stan Kroenke, is billed as a “298-acre global sports and entertainment destination,” being built on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, to the south and west of downtown L.A. (and on the flight path in to LAX airport).

While Cisco claims that the all-Wi-Fi 6 network will eventually deliver “four times greater capacity than the previous Wi-Fi standard,” it’s worthwhile to note that the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 won’t be realized until the phones in fans’ hands support the new system as well (most phones a year old or older do not have Wi-Fi 6 support). The good news is, many of the newer phones on the market, including the new Apple iPhone 11 line, do support Wi-Fi 6, so fans with newer phones should be able to see the better performance supported by Wi-Fi 6.

If the stadium itself does eventually use 2,500 or more APs it would be among the top if not at the top of the list of venues with the most APs. (We’d like to get a current count from AT&T Stadium before making any definitive calls on this issue.) According to the release, SoFi Stadium will seat approximately 70,000 fans, with capacity expandable up to around 100,000. In addition to Rams and Chargers home games, the stadium is already slated to host Super Bowl LVI in 2022, followed by the College Football National Championship Game in 2023, and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

On the Cisco Vision side, Cisco said the system will be the first all-4K version of Cisco Vision, and it will support “approximately 2,500 screens throughout SoFi Stadium’s concourses, suites, concessions, as well as across Hollywood Park.” The Cisco Vision IPTV display management system allows for centralized control of graphics and video content across all the connected screens.

Super Bowl 53 smashes Wi-Fi record with 24 TB of traffic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Super Bowl 53 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Credit: Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Super Bowl 53 at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium rewrote the record book when it comes to single-day stadium Wi-Fi, with 24.05 terabytes of traffic seen on the stadium’s network. That is a huge leap from the official 16.31 TB seen at last year’s Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium.

According to official statistics provided by Extreme Networks, new high-water marks were set last Sunday in every category of network measurement, including an amazing 48,845 unique users on the network, a take rate of 69 percent out of the 70,081 who were in attendance to watch the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. The average Wi-Fi data use per connected fan also set a new record, with the per-fan mark of 492.3 megabytes per user eclipsing last year’s mark of 407.4.

With some 1,800 APs installed inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium — with most of the bowl seating APs located underneath the seats — the Wi-Fi gear from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, in a design from AmpThink, also saw a peak throughput rate of 13.06 Gbps, seen at halftime. The peak number of concurrent network users, 30,605, also took place during the halftime show, which featured the band Maroon 5 (whose show played to mixed reviews). While Mobile Sports Report deemed the network ready to rock in a December visit, the record-breaking statistics are sure to give pause to any venue in line to host the Super Bowl in the next few years. No pressure, Miami!

An under-seat Wi-Fi enclosure at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Credit: Paul Kapustka, MSR

Extreme Networks, which provides Wi-Fi analysis in a sponsorship deal with the NFL, had a great list of specific details from the event, which you can also peruse in the fine infographic that the company produces after each Super Bowl. Here are some of the top-line stats:

Need proof that people still watch the game? Out of the 24.05 TB total, Extreme said 9.99 TB of the traffic took place before the kickoff, followed by 11.11 TB during the game and halftime, and another 2.95 TB after the game concluded.

On the most-used apps side, Extreme said the most-used social apps were, in order of usage, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Bitmoji; on the streaming side, the most-used apps were iTunes, YouTube, Airplay, Spotify and Netflix. The most-used sporting apps by fans at the game were, in order, ESPN, NFL, the Super Bowl LIII Fan Mobile Pass (the official app for the game), CBS Sports (which broadcast the game live) and Bleacher Report.

While Super Bowl Wi-Fi traffic has grown significantly each year since we started reporting the statistics, one reason for the bigger leap this year may have been due to the fact that Verizon Wireless used its sponsorship relationship with the NFL to acquire its own SSID on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wi-Fi network.

A mini-IDF ‘closet’ above a Wi-Fi AP at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Credit: Paul Kapustka, MSR

According to Andrea Caldini, Verizon vice president for networking engineering in the Eastern U.S., Verizon had “autoconnect in play,” which meant that any Verizon customer with Wi-Fi active on their devices would be switched over to Wi-Fi when inside the stadium.

“It’s going to be a good offload for us,” said Caldini in a phone interview ahead of the Super Bowl. While Verizon claimed this week to see record cellular traffic as well during Super Bowl Sunday, a spokesperson said Verizon will no longer release such statistics from the game.

As an interesting business note when it comes to sponsorships, the regular Mercedes-Benz Stadium free Wi-Fi SSID, normally ATTWiFi thanks to AT&T’s sponsorship of the network backbone, was switched to #SBWiFi for the big game. Verizon customers were able to connect via a Verizon-specific SSID.

New records list below! Anyone with a missing game that makes the list, send your info in!

THE MSR TOP 18 FOR WI-FI

1. Super Bowl 53, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 3, 2019: Wi-Fi: 24.05 TB
2. Super Bowl 52, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 4, 2018: Wi-Fi: 16.31 TB
3. 2018 College Football Playoff Championship, Alabama vs. Georgia, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 8, 2018: Wi-Fi: 12.0 TB*
4. Super Bowl 51, NRG Stadium, Houston, Feb. 5, 2017: Wi-Fi: 11.8 TB
5. Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 6, 2018: Wi-Fi: 10.86 TB
6. Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif., Feb. 7, 2016: Wi-Fi: 10.1 TB
7. Taylor Swift Reputation Tour, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., July 27, 2018: Wi-Fi: 9.76 TB
8. Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles, NFC Championship Game, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 21, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.76 TB
9. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots, AFC Championship Game, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 21, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.53 TB
10. Taylor Swift Reputation Tour, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, May 25, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.1 TB
11. Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., Sept. 7, 2017: Wi-Fi: 8.08 TB
12. SEC Championship Game, Alabama vs. Georgia, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 1, 2018: Wi-Fi: 8.06 TB*
13. Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys, Divisional Playoffs, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Jan. 15, 2017: Wi-Fi: 7.25 TB
14. Stanford vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., Sept. 29, 2018: 7.19 TB
15. (tie) Southern California vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., Oct. 21, 2017: 7.0 TB
Arkansas State vs. Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Sept 2, 2017: Wi-Fi: 7.0 TB
16. WrestleMania 32, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, April 3, 2016: Wi-Fi: 6.77 TB
17. Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 7, 2017: Wi-Fi: 6.3 TB
18. Super Bowl 49, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 1, 2015: Wi-Fi: 6.23 TB

* = pending official exact data

Cranes, dust dominate Los Angeles venue sites

Three Los Angeles-areas venues are under construction for soccer, football and the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Workers install turf at the Banc of California Stadium (click on any photo for a larger image)

Between the cranes, earthmovers and swarms of fluorescent vests, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Los Angeles basin for a construction zone. Sporting-wise, there are three construction zones, including a new stadium for a Major League Soccer latest expansion franchise, the venerable Coliseum gets a much needed renovation, and a bling-y NFL stadium starts to emerge from the silt of the Angeles alluvial plain.

Construction or renovation plans for all the venues were underway before the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2028 Summer Games to Los Angeles last fall; all three venues are expected to host Olympic events in a decade.

Banc of California Stadium opening this April

Editor’s note: This profile is an excerpt from our latest STADIUM TECH REPORT issue for Spring 2018, which includes a look at Wi-Fi performance during the Final Four, a recap of wireless performance at Super Bowl 52, a profile of the Vegas Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena and more! DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY right now from our site!

Let’s take them in the order they’re expected to open. In its inaugural season, Major League Soccer’s newest franchise, Los Angeles Football Club, is moving with speed and efficiency to make sure the Banc of California Stadium is ready for LAFC’s first home game April 29.

The 22,000-seat venue features steep stands (35-degree angles), with no seat more than 135 feet from the playing field. IBM was tapped to handle the stadium’s technology requirements in October 2016; Ruckus supplied the access points for the new stadium, according to Christian Lau, LAFC’s VP of information technology. About 500 APs will blanket the stadium with Wi-Fi; Lau told Mobile Sports Report that number could “possibly trend higher.”

Construction at the LA Coliseum

Right next door (literally) is the Los Angeles Coliseum, where demolition began in January after the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams playoff loss to Atlanta. Located on the campus of the University of Southern California, the Coliseum is home field for both the Rams (at least til 2020… more on that in a second), and the USC Trojan football team. The Coliseum has already hosted opening ceremonies for two Olympiads and is poised to do the honors again.

Coliseum upgrade means fewer seats, more Wi-Fi

In the meantime, construction crews are working 16 hours a day, six days a week, according to Derek Thatcher, IT manager at the Coliseum and an employee of USC, which oversees and administers the venue for Los Angeles County. This is the eighth renovation of the 97-year old venue; in addition to making the bowl ADA-compliant, this latest upgrade will add more aisles and larger seats, reducing capacity from 93,607 to 77,500.

New Wi-Fi is also part of the renovation plan; no word yet on which vendor will supply gear, though Mobilitie donated Aruba APs last year for use in the student section and elsewhere in the bowl.

About half the Coliseum’s $270 million renovation will be done during this year’s football offseason; a new field and refurbished seats will be ready for the Rams and Trojans by late summer. Remaining construction and upgrades will be completed in the 2019 offseason, according to Coliseum officials.

Meanwhile, 9 miles southwest of USC in the LA suburb of Inglewood, the arcs of a bowl for the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park
are taking shape. Construction crews broke ground in late 2016 to transform a 300-acre site into a gleaming new sporting destination. The $2.6 billion complex will be shared by the Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers starting in 2020; LA Stadium is scheduled host the Super Bowl in February 2022.

With a capacity of 70,000 (expandable to 100,000), the stadium’s indoor/outdoor design and a two-sided, 120-yard oculus video display are already generating buzz. Site managers haven’t mentioned any network technology or which vendors they’re considering for wireless and other IT requirements. LA’s Olympic planning committee also reserved the option to use the stadium and the Coliseum for dual-venue opening and closing ceremonies in 2028. Using the Coliseum satisfies the Olympic purists; mixing in LA Stadium would provide the glitzy spectacle global audiences have come to expect from Olympics hosts.