The new home of the 2020 Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup champion Columbus Crew, Lower.com Field, boasts one of the most digitally advanced fan experiences in modern sport, starting with a best-in-class entry system that allows fast, easy access for up to 20,000 fans every game. That system, along with others in the Crew’s digital toolbox, ensures a seamless fan experience and serves as a blueprint for additional stadiums and arenas around the world. Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, makes sure it all runs smoothly as a proud supporter and neighbor of the Crew.
The entry gates at Lower.com Field feature two options for fans entering the stadium. They can use a barcode on their phone to quickly pass through an unmanned turnstile, or they can opt for the stadium’s facial recognition system, which recognizes pre-registered fans and admits them quickly with no additional action required. Mobile ordering and purchasing technologies minimize contact and eliminate long lines for concessions. The stadium’s vast array of scoreboards and digital displays ensure fans remain engaged and informed before, during, and after the match. The edge computing resources and infrastructure making it possible are all part of a sophisticated, connected, reliable digital ecosystem that streamlines and enhances the fan experience.
“We decided to get in-depth with bridging the gap between fans and technology and built a stadium which is totally focused on fan comfort, convenience and entertainment,” said Brandon Covert, vice president of information technology at the Haslam Sports Group (HSG) – the organization that owns a controlling interest in both the Columbus Crew and the Cleveland Browns NFL team. “Vertiv’s infrastructure support helps us provide our concession and ticketing partners with the reliable connectivity they need and lets them operate at the highest level of efficiency. For example, if the ticketing system is down for even 10 seconds, that’s critical for an event. Our expectation is to create a frictionless fan experience and that begins even before entry to the building. When you’re bringing 20,000 people into this stadium, every second counts.”
Vertiv supports the stadium’s mission-critical systems with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, power distribution units (PDUs), and cooling systems that ensure the availability of all digital applications, from ticketless entry to remote ordering and cashless concessions. In the stadium broadcast control room, broadcast engineers rely on Vertiv™ high-performance KVM switches to enable secure, seamless, low-latency data and video manipulation across scoreboards and digital signage. Vertiv™ IT management tools and remote monitoring software deliver simplified and secure visibility and control across the infrastructure systems, while Vertiv™ racks located throughout the stadium and in nearby external locations provide physical security for IT equipment. These solutions work in concert to protect the uptime and seamless, integrated operation of IT networks that support the interactive fan experience.
The Columbus Crew and Lower.com Field operations teams also appreciate that the Liebert® DSE and Liebert® DS thermal management systems are among the industry’s most highly efficient, keeping operating costs and budgets under control, while providing reliable operating temperatures for the data center equipment.
“We’re proud to partner with the Crew to bring a best-in-class stadium experience to the hometown fans and visitors in Columbus,” said Gary Niederpruem, chief strategy and development officer for Vertiv. “Our organizations share deep roots in Central Ohio, a belief in the value of teamwork, and a commitment to excellence in everything we do.”
Vertiv is a Founding Partner of Lower.com Field and has been teaming up with the Crew on multiple community activities, including sponsoring Special Olympics Ohio and their Team Ohio soccer team at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando; cleat donations to Special Olympics athletes; hosting STEM Day activities at Lower.com Field for Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus; and promotion of Kick Childhood Cancer Night.