Aruba partners with MLS franchise for digitized stadium in Cincinnati

The 26,000-seat TQL Stadium was designed to be entirely cashless, leveraging a slate of wired and wireless Aruba products.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Aruba announced a new partnership with Cincinnati-based Major League Soccer franchise FC Cincinnati that will see the company outfit the team's 26,000-seat TQL Stadium with its edge services platform network. 

The facility is fully digitized and designed to be entirely cashless, leveraging a slate of wired and wireless Aruba products. 

Jeffrey Weaver, director of high-density solutions for Aruba, told ZDNet that the company was proud to help the MLS team deliver immersive fan experiences and called TQL Stadium one of the most ambitious soccer-specific stadiums globally.

"From our Wi-Fi 6 access points and mobility controllers to our CX Series switches and ClearPass network access control solution, all of the network elements are working in tandem to ensure that fans and visitors to TQL Stadium have premier and engaging experiences that enhance their enjoyment of the games and special events they attend," Weaver said. 

"The network infrastructure also supports more secure and streamlined stadium operations, from the point of sale devices and security cameras to door access solutions." 

The digital fan experience starts from the second you get to the stadium, thanks to mobile ticketing provided by SeatGeek and paperless entry with Fortress wireless scanners. 

"Mobile ticketing is also important from a business perspective as it eliminates much of the counterfeit ticketing that is widespread throughout entertainment," said Dan Lolli, vice president of facilities and stadium general manager for FC Cincinnati.

TQL Stadium also has two large Daktronics scoreboards and 14,370 feet of SACO V-STICK S to help show replays, live gameplay, stats and other fun stadium graphics. The stadium has about 200 point-of-sale devices run by Appetize, all of which are cloud-enabled.


There are dozens of other digital tools in use at the stadium, including security cameras, door access devices and business applications. Lolli said the goal of the new stadium was to create a next-generation fan experience. 

"Working with our IT-as-a-Service partner Atomic Data, we determined Aruba was the leader in stadium deployments that provide fans with superior, high-performance, reliable, and consistent experiences while being efficient and cost-effective to manage," Lolli said. 

Aruba explained that the stadium had deployed its Wi-Fi 6 indoor and outdoor access points as well as a number of mobility controllers alongside the company's access switches at the edge for IP audio and video. 

Lolli explained that the stadium processed more than 16,000 food and beverage transactions over a few hours, with most completed in less than half a second, on opening day. 

"Our network enables us to provide the exceptional experiences that help us differentiate ourselves from other sporting and non-sporting entertainment options," Lolli said. 

"During stadium construction, Aruba's robust tools enabled Atomic Data to stage our entire network off-site and ship it to our stadium. This streamlined deployment by four to eight weeks versus the traditional on-site approach, helping us meet our opening day deadlines. Since then, Aruba's software automation has ensured efficient network management on a day-to-day basis."

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