Sports Innovation

The Digital Experience Kicks in at Atlanta United’s Training Field

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In professional sports the experiences of players, staff and fans occur well beyond the game – from game day to non-game days. And increasingly, each one of those groups demand better digital experiences, from the moment they leave their homes.

This understanding was at the core of our work to design and implement an infrastructure for the practice facility for Atlanta’s Major League Soccer Club, the Atlanta United FC (AUFC).

Having achieved similar goals with the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium earlier this year, AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE), owner of the stadium, as well as the AUFC and Atlanta Falcons, was looking to create the same magic at the club’s training facility.

A key challenge for us was building an IT infrastructure for the stadium that could assess and support not just the practice games, but future needs across different type of events. This is not just any other training ground. It will also house the team’s entire Youth Academy, First-Team, and act as the team headquarters.

Our solution had to address multiple stakeholders, each with its own needs, including the sports teams, stadium management, business shareholders and, of course, the fans. For the fans, we had to address their need for constant high-speed connectivity to use their mobile devices to access social media.

For this facility, as with the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, we designed and installed a converged fiber optic technology infrastructure. As part of the solution IBM built:

  • A physical security system for the new practice venue that will include badge access and security cameras
  • Audio visual infrastructure such as IPTV which will allow team operations to interact and receive broadcasted games into the facility from the Mercedes Benz Stadium (the team’s game-day stadium) and to summon multi-camera replays, video-on-demand, game-tracker visualizations, head-to-head matchups and more.

The IBM solution at the Atlanta United FC practice stadium will enhance the overall team operations experience to meet management, coaches, and players’ expectations for connectivity for everything from e-commerce, entertainment options and delivery of data.

Last month, a few days ahead of kick off for the first Falcons home game, I was excited to walk through the new Mercedes Benz stadium. After years of diligent research, design, procurement and installation, we were able to experience and showcase the results of the partnership between IBM and AMBSE which will deliver a game-changing fan experience by enabling highly advanced, interactive technologies for events including NFL games, Major League Soccer matches as well as concerts and other marquee events. Now I’m looking forward to attending a practice session at the new AUFC practice facility and I hope more of the fans are too.

General Manager, Communications and CSI, IBM GTS

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