Real Madrid selects Cisco for team to claim Europe’s most connected stadium

Upgraded Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to showcase one of the world’s largest deployments of Wi-Fi 6 technology for more immersive fan experience applications, as well as more bandwidth and higher reliability

Real Madrid and enterprise networking and security provider Cisco have announced a multi-year global partnership, during which they will deploy what they say will be the largest Wi-Fi 6 stadium network in Europe to date, making the legendary football club’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium one of the most technologically advanced sporting venues in the world.

The announcement builds on an existing relationship between the two organisations, as Cisco solutions have served as the technological foundation of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium for many years. The expanded partnership will allow Real Madrid to further strengthen what it feels is a reputation as a global leader of innovation and use Cisco’s experience and expertise to help ensure the world-class arena remains at the forefront of technology for years to come.

With a 119-year history, Real Madrid has carved out its own place in world football, holding the record for wins of not only the Spanish league, but also Europe’s top club competition, racking up 13 wins of the European Cup/Champions League. The club is a global institution with millions of fans across the world, and 387 million followers on social networks. For the third year in a row, it is also the most valuable football club in Europe, according to the European elite 2020 report, prepared by consultancy KPMG, and named the most valuable football brand in the world by Brand Finance for the third year in a row.

Through the partnership, Real Madrid will use a breadth of Cisco technology – from enterprise networking and security to datacentre, digital signage and more – but also its expertise in working alongside sporting organisations, leagues, teams and venues around the world. Cisco’s sports and entertainment solutions and expertise have seen use in venues such as the SoFi Stadium, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, City Football Group, Riot Games and the National Football League.

Cisco says stadiums utilising Wi-Fi 6 technology have seen record-breaking levels of data traffic and fan consumption, consistently reaching levels of engagement only previously seen at the world’s largest sporting events.

As an official technology partner of Real Madrid, Cisco will outfit the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium with an end-to-end deployment of its industry-leading technology, all built on a single, converged, intelligent Cisco network. The recently rebuilt 85,000-seat multi-purpose stadium will feature the latest in Wi-Fi 6 for connectivity to power the ultimate fan experience.

More than 1,200 Wi-Fi 6 access points in the stadium will deliver faster speeds for more immersive experience applications, as well as more bandwidth and higher reliability than the previous Wi-Fi standard. Also, more than 1,000 screens powered by Cisco’s end-to-end IPTV system – which combines high-definition video delivery with digital signage – will allow Real Madrid to drive incremental revenue, activation, and fan engagement throughout the complex.

On the back of a single, converged network that is inherently secure, fast and reliable, Real Madrid will be able to enhance game-day operations and provide what are claimed to be “unmatched” innovative experiences for their fans in the venue and around the world.

“Thanks to this collaboration agreement with Cisco, the new Santiago Bernabéu Stadium ensures that it can take data, voice and video to any point and thus guarantee the widest range of services and an unrivalled spectacle in the world of football,” said Emilio Butragueño, director of institutional relations at Real Madrid.

Cisco EMEAR president Wendy Mars added: “Real Madrid is one of the crown jewels of football. We are thrilled to add a club with such a rich history to Cisco’s global portfolio of sports partnerships and look forward to uniting the collective power of our two global brands to drive a more connected and inclusive future for this sport.” 

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