Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, it seems only fitting that the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers would have the most absurdly high-tech stadium in the world. Built over the course of two years at a cost of $1.2 billion (yes, billion), Levi’s Stadium was constructed in the midst of the Silicon Valley tech zeitgeist – and it shows. The high-tech amenities have been so fully integrated into the experience that you might be too distracted by the gadgetry to notice the Niners just scored again.
Let’s start with the Wi-Fi. Wired with multiple 10-gigabit Ethernet networking cables, there are 400 miles of fiber-optic cable within the stadium itself. And no matter where you find yourself in Levi’s, Wi-Fi is nearby. In a preseason game against the Denver Broncos, the stadium had 20,000 concurrent Wi-Fi users, proving once again how Wi-Fi has become a major supplementary experience in the world of sport.
There’s also a Levi’s Stadium app which can be used for purchasing tickets, finding parking, ordering food and drinks right to your seat, and serving up video replays from the big game. The app has been downloaded over 80,000 times so far, and has established itself as a vanguard technology to enhance the in-stadium fan experience.
At the heart of this connected football experience is the data center, where hundreds of servers power all that data from the fans – the selfies, the Instagram nacho pics, the Fantasy Football updates. It’s a commitment to connectivity, and one the fans are showing real appreciation for.
The stadium is also using technology to facilitate environmentally friendly ideas like the NRG Solar Terrace, a green roof with 27,000 square feet of solar cells and plants. Levi’s staff measure energy use in units of photovoltaic electricity, and the stadium’s forward thinking has earned it a gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Technology is no longer a “nice to have” at sporting events. More and more, stadium architects are realizing that tech and connectivity have become integrated parts of our daily lives and identities. By enthusiastically embracing this philosophy, Levi’s Stadium has established itself as a leader in the connected sports space, leaving the rest of the world to play catch-up. Just don’t forget to look up once in a while, as those little dots down on the field are doing some pretty spectacular things, too.