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Next-Gen Technology Helps the NFL’s Championship Game Run Seamlessly

Posted by Michael Fitch on Jan 27, 2015 12:05:58 PM

Football’s championship game is headed to Glendale, Ariz. this week, just a few miles down the road from Avnet’s headquarters in Phoenix. The sheer amount of online and physical traffic generated during the week of the big game is a marketer’s dream, especially in the IT industry. Avnet is fortunate enough to partner with some of the most innovative companies on the planet, and some of their technology is helping championship week operate without a hitch.

4 Terabytes of Data

While the University of Phoenix Stadium, host of this year’s game, holds a max capacity of 72,800, more than 100,000 will be in the immediate vicinity of the stadium during the game, with tens of thousands more visiting Phoenix for the hundreds of events, concerts and media days that come with championship week. With this traffic comes an enormous amount of mobile network and data usage. Phoenix also hosted football’s championship game in 2008, but even just six years removed, technology has risen to a completely different level for this year’s game. A few quick facts about what to expect this week:

  • 100x more data will be used at the University of Phoenix Stadium in 2015 than in 2008.
  • 4 terabytes of data will be consumed on game day in Glendale, up from 2.5 terabytes of data used in 2014 in New York.
  • 24.9 million tweets were sent during last year’s game (up from 24.1 million in 2013), reaching a peak of 381,000 tweets per minute early in the second half. This year, it is expected that football fans will send a record 25.7 million tweets.

3rd Platform Integration

The rise of the 3rd platform, including mobile and social engagement has made this year’s game especially challenging for the tech sector. To help meet demands, several upgrades have been made around Phoenix to ensure a seamless mobile communications experience:

  • Phoenix spent 6 months revamping the wireless communication system around the stadium.
  • More than 100 new long-range antennas installed around Glendale that are compatible with all wireless carriers.
  • 800 access points installed around the 1.7 million square-foot stadium and nearby WestGate City Center
  • Next-generation Wi-Fi, security and unified communication system deployment

Many of these upgrades were due in large part to an agreement reached between Avnet supplier Cisco, Avnet partner CDW and the University of Phoenix Stadium. CDW, who signed on with the Arizona Cardinals before the 2014 season, are responsible for all IT solutions in the stadium. Using the Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi wireless network upgrade, CDW has completed a $5 million Wi-Fi upgrade in two phases over the past six months.

More than Just Wi-Fi Upgrades

Some other interesting technology factoids at the 2015 championship game:

  • A new anti-counterfeit ticket technology was implemented – With ticket prices averaging around $4,000 each, super bowl tickets now feature two unique barcodes on the front of the ticket with matching serial codes. They will also be printed on specific cardstock with holograms, thermochromic ink designs and black light stamps, all in an effort to reduce the risk of duplication.
  • This will be the first championship game played under LED lighting – A new LED light system was implemented earlier this season in the University of Phoenix Stadium, cutting down on approximately 929,000 watts (equivalent to 15,000 60-watt bulbs) of energy usage.
  • IBM Watson has been used to predict stats and outcomes of the 2014 season playoffs – IBM Watson, famous for its appearance on “Jeopardy!”, now has software dashboards that include predictive capabilities for all 32 NFL teams based on this past season. These same capabilities are available for enterprise and commercial use.
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor, the nation’s 10th largest airport, will experience its busiest travel day of the year - The Monday after the big game, more than 180,000 passengers will travel through Sky Harbor. Typically, the busiest travel day of the year is reserved for the day before Thanksgiving, which sees around 150,000 passengers.

For those going to the game, enjoy your time there, and we look forward to reading your tweets posted over the new Wi-Fi network.











Tags: Security, Cloud, Mobility, CDW, Cisco, Events, LED Lighting, Networking, Technologies, Technology, Virtualization, Arizona Cardinals, Big Data and Analytics, Championship Game, Converged Infrastructure, NFL, Software-Defined, Storage, WiFi