Spotlight on InfoComm 2019


A Connected Stadium: Go Inside the Barclays Center

Daktronics displays, networked content delivery and a robust Wi-Fi system set the new benchmark in arena design.

Aaron Stern
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One year into operation and the Barclays Center has arguably set the benchmark for small- to mid-sized arena technology.

The facility tucked into downtown Brooklyn features over 8,000 square feet of Daktronics LEDs, an IPTV network with 700-plus Sony HD displays, a distributed antenna system and a Wi-Fi network to ensure fans have full access to their smartphones during stadium events, and an audio system, centered around six speaker arrays, that pumps out 260,000 watts of sound.

A Connected Stadium

The arena’s IT infrastructure rides on the Cisco Connected Stadium, a secure network designed specifically for sports and entertainment venues. The single converged network brings under one umbrella the disparate parts of the facility.

“Everything rides over the network, including ticketing, point of sale, fan experience, wireless,” says Chip Foley, VP of technology for the building’s developer, Forest City Ratner Companies.

The system includes high-density Wi-Fi, meaning fewer people connect to more wireless access points. “I want people accessing Facebook and Twitter and social without any limitations when they’re connected to the Wi-Fi.”

Part of the Connected Stadium platform is StadiumVision, a video and digital signage distribution solution through with content can be pushed to over 700 TV screens. Officials can update sponsor content as needed, change menu prices on the fly and create unique, customizable messages for customers any of the stadium’s suites.

Photos: Check out scenes from CI’s tour of the Barclays Center

The Wi-Fi system helps keep customers connected throughout games and concerts, as does the enhanced cellular coverage provided by a neutral host distributed antenna system with about 400 antennas. The urban location leaves Barclays with a small footprint, creating space limitations that required the antenna system’s headend equipment to be located across the street, then run into the building with fiber.

“It basically distributes through the antenna system inside the venue so fans can log in, get LTE, 4G service for all their phones,” Foley says.