Barcelona kicks off edge to cloud to customise fan experience

Aiming to fulfil its ‘mes que un club’ ethos, Spanish football giant pulls networking ‘palanca’ to offer fans customised experience at legendary stadium, becoming official edge-to-cloud partner for next four seasons

In the post-Lionel Messi years, FC Barcelona, one of Spain’s top two football teams and a leading global sports brand, has struggled to keep pace with arch-rival Real Madrid both on and off the pitch, with the latter boasting a massively renovated home to go with a phalanx of silverware. But as part of a rejuvenation project, FC Barcelona has made a major signing, with HPE becoming the Official Edge-to-Cloud Partner for its Espai Barça hub, said to be more than a stadium.

Espai Barça is regarded by FC Barcelona as the “largest and most innovative” sports and entertainment space in a European city. The project aims to redevelop and expand all the FC Barcelona facilities, including the emblematic Spotify Camp Nou stadium, FC Barcelona’s home since it was officially opened on 24 September 1957, and turn it into the best sports complex in the centre of a major city. Being able to count on the implementation of the latest IT and communications technologies is seen as an essential part of the customised experience that visitors to the ground will be able to enjoy.

HPE says that with its support, Espai Barça will be positioned at the forefront of technological innovation in the sports world, enhancing every aspect of the stadium experience, from arrival at the ground to the end of each match or event.

For its part, FC Barcelona says it is committed to making Espai Barça an international hub for innovation, and the deal with HPE underscores its commitment to adopting innovative technologies that will improve the experience of members and fans who visit the future ground. New services to be made available to fans include gamification and virtual reality. In addition, FC Barcelona says teams from all sections of the club can benefit from advanced analytics to optimise game performance and strategy.

“The partnership with HPE is a step towards creating a digitally connected and secure environment for Espai Barça,” said Juli Guiu vice-president of marketing at FC Barcelona. “Its extensive experience in connectivity and cloud technologies means we will be able to offer our members, fans and supporters personalised experiences, thus significantly improving their interaction with the club on match days at Spotify Camp Nou, as well as in the different activities that will be organised at the future ground.”

HPE believes its partnership with the club is based on a market-leading approach to edge connectivity and cloud technology, which it assures will enable the entire Espai Barça to offer personalised services and experiences tailored to its fans, setting what it claims will be a new standard for the future of sports and entertainment events. The agreement is part of the sponsorship programme associated with the future Spotify Camp Nou, made possible by the shared objectives of equipping the future stadium with state-of-the-art technologies.

HPE is delighted to serve as the Official Edge-to-Cloud Partner of one of the world’s leading football clubs to enhance its visitor and fan experience, providing state-of-the-art technology for Espai Barça and the iconic Spotify Camp Nou
Alfredo Yepez, HPE

The four-year deal between the firms will run for the next four football seasons, until 30 June 2028, and is described as a strategic alliance aimed at “revolutionising” the spectator experience in sport, equipping Barça’s new facilities with a “world-class” technology environment featuring HPE Aruba Networking and HPE GreenLake cloud, enabling real-time data analytics and integrated security solutions.

The deployment will use HPE GreenLake Private Cloud Enterprise with HPE datacentre servers and storage and HPE Aruba Networking, including campus and secure AI-ready datacentre solutions. The network is also designed to provide a common zero-trust foundation for FC Barcelona’s networking and security teams, enabling end-to-end visibility and global security policies that can be enforced at the network edge. The datacentre is equipped with advanced distributed services switches to provide a “next level” security framework for server interconnection, enhancing security protection and visibility.

HPE is also deploying an advanced high-speed, secure wireless network in Spotify Camp Nou to provide the best customer experience to the more than 100,000 fans while in the stadium, with further plans to incorporate private 5G in the future for core applications. HPE GreenLake Private Cloud Enterprise will see use in modernising the stadium IT infrastructure to provide simplified management of workloads, enhanced automation, and increased data security, agility and availability.

“Technology is integral to the growth and global expansion of sports, as well as to accelerating innovation,” remarked Alfredo Yepez, senior vice-president and managing director for Latin America and Southern Europe at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “HPE is delighted to serve as the Official Edge-to-Cloud Partner of one of the world’s leading football clubs to enhance its visitor and fan experience, providing state-of-the-art technology for Espai Barça and the iconic Spotify Camp Nou.”

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