Fans’ ‘check-in’ to ‘Crew’ home a cakewalk



Linkedin Twitter

Columbus Crew partners with Aruba Image: MLS

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company announced on October 5th that Columbus Crew (US), the Major League Soccer (MLS) reigning champion, has deployed an Aruba ESP converged wired and wireless network to streamline and automate stadium operations such as ticketing and security, as well as provide reliable, high-performing Wi-Fi and new matchday experiences to fans.

The ‘business wire’ stated that the Crew’s new home Lower.com Field sits on 12 acres, accommodates more than 20,000 fans and also features a 62,000-square-foot public plaza equipped with a 14’x24’ videoboard to host concerts, watch parties and other public events.

The Columbus Crew are an American professional soccer club based in Columbus, Ohio (US). The Crew competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference and began play in 1996 as one of the 10 charter clubs of the league.

The 20,371-capacity Lower.com Field is a soccer-specific stadium in Columbus, Ohio, United States. It serves primarily as the home stadium of the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, replacing the club’s previous home, the Historic Crew Stadium.

California (US)-based Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is the global leader in secure, intelligent edge-to-cloud networking solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the network, while harnessing data to drive powerful business outcomes. With Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) and as-a-service options, Aruba takes a cloud-native approach to helping customers meet their connectivity, security and financial requirements across campus, branch, data center, and remote worker environments, covering all aspects of wired, wireless local area network (LAN) and wide area networking (WAN).

The ‘business wire’ further stated that with the vision to create a next-generation seamless fan journey from ticket purchase to the parking lot and through the stadium gates, the Crew deployed a combination of Aruba’s wired and wireless solutions that support the stadium’s technology-enabled amenities, including pervasive Wi-Fi connectivity, opt-in facial recognition ticketing, Evolv Express security screening, and mobile ordering and cashless payment throughout the venue.

Remarked Brandon Covert, Vice-President, Information Technology for Haslam Sports Group, “One of the first things that we really focused on is providing a great connectivity experience, not only in the seats, but everywhere in the stadium. At the gates, when there are 12,000 people waiting to get in and they’re trying to pull up their tickets, or when walking through the concourses at halftime among 20,000 people, it is a very challenging environment for live venues. That is one of the major reasons we pushed really hard towards a very robust Aruba infrastructure.”

The ‘Crew’s’ opt-in facial recognition system is a unique ingress process that starts with ticketing. Fans can log into their ticket account, take a selfie photo and link that picture to their account. When they arrive at Lower.com Field, a Wicket kiosk connected to the same wireless network identifies the fan’s face and corresponding tickets on their account. Alternatively, fans can use the traditional Ticketmaster barcode scan on their phone.

Added Covert, “The beauty with facial recognition is fans can redeem all of their tickets with one glance versus scanning each separate ticket, it creates a much smoother process. The fan just walks up and takes about a second to look at the Wicket kiosk and their admitted group can walk right through the gates. This technology has cut the time it takes to get into the stadium by more than 50 percent. When it comes to funnelling thousands of fans into the stadium at the same time, this adds up to significant time savings.”
 

Future-ready

At the former Crew venue (Historic Crew Stadium), the IT team managed disparate parallel overlapping networks in one building. One of their operational goals for Lower.com Field was to converge everything not only to one network, but extend it all the way through their technology stack for a hyper-converged technology infrastructure.

Covert continued, “We wanted to go with this hyper-converged environment and really push the limits and that led us towards the Aruba and HPE solution over competitors that don’t have that whole breadth of hyper-converged all the way including compute, storage, switching, and more.”

In collaboration with trusted technology partner IBM iX, the ‘Crew’ selected and deployed a future-ready wireless network comprising Aruba Wi-Fi 6 indoor access points (APs), outdoor APs and mobility controllers. For wired networking, the ‘Crew’ implemented Aruba’s access switches at the edge and CX Series switches for aggregation and in the data center. Additionally, the ‘Crew’ uses ClearPass for network access control (NAC) and policy management, and AirWave for network management. They have also implemented NetEdit for coordinating switch configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting.

Maintained Covert, “It was important for us to make network management simple because we’re a smaller team that handles our technology functions internally. We needed a solution that we could maintain and operate easily, and we found that in the Aruba solution.”
 

‘Crew’ shining

Columbus Crew is the first club in Major League Soccer. The Crew is operated by The Edwards Family and Haslam Sports Group. The ‘Black & Gold’ are the 2020 MLS Cup Champions. The club won its first MLS Cup championship in 2008 and also won the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. The 2021 campaign is the Columbus Crew’s 26th season in MLS as well as the club’s final season at the Historic Crew Stadium – the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States – and the ‘Crew’s’ inaugural season at the brand-new Lower.com Field.

Continue to follow Coliseum for latest updates on venues business news. Coliseum is dedicated towards building the best global community of sports and entertainment venue executives and professionals creating better and more profitable venues.

Become a member of the only Global Sports Venue Alliance and connect with stadiums, arenas and experts from around the world. Apply for membership at coliseum-online.com/alliance and make use of the 365Coliseum Business.

Watch 150 member-exclusive videos with valuable tips for your venue



« Previous News:
» Next News:



More News

Everton FC updates local business on new stadium

Biz leaders updated on Everton F.C. new venue

Published: December 2nd, 2021

Business leaders were given an update on the progress of Premier League club Everton F.C.’s (UK)... » Read more

New stadium for Lugano

Mired-in-controversy Lugano venue gets nod

Published: December 2nd, 2021

In a referendum vote held on November 28th, 2021, 56.81 percent of voters said ‘yes’ to the... » Read more

Ungerboeck acquires Priava

Ungerboeck take Priava under its wings

Published: December 2nd, 2021

Ungerboeck, the world’s leading event management software provider, announced on November 30th... » Read more

Stadium 974 and Al Bayt stadium inaugurated in Qatar

Al Bayt Stadium and Stadium 974 open doors

Published: December 2nd, 2021

The stunning Al Bayt Stadium – which will host the first match of next year’s FIFA World... » Read more


Receive global sports venue NEWS twice a week in your inbox