Yesterday, Real Madrid C.F. announced a partnership with CISCO systems to ‘make the Santiago Bernabeu one of the most technologically advanced stadiums in the world’. Using CISCO’s Connected Sports Solutions, the Spanish arena will be fully optimised to improve web connectivity and facilitate Social Media access for their fans. The stadium optimisation package will:
- • Allow fans to share their game-day experiences with the thousands of supporters at the Santiago Bernabéu, and with millions more around the globe, via social media applications easily accessible from their mobile devices.
- • Provide customised applications that create an immersive and interactive game-day environment, allowing fans to use their smartphones to engage Real Madrid in a more personalized fashion.
- • Help ensure consistent and reliable connectivity to thousands of fans by efficiently off-loading all data traffic and freeing up the entire cellular network bandwidth for phone calls and text messages.
- • Provide a new communication channel which Real Madrid staff will be able to use for security and operational purposes and other services, including a better service to the press and other media.
- • In addition to this, there’s a whole spectrum of new possibilities to access content and engage with visitors during non-gaming days, especially for the Bernabéu stadium visiting tours.
I’ve blogged at great length about the importance of improving connectivity in football stadiums, it is entirely pointless to spend thousands on a Social Media strategy and content if you don’t improve the location where this will be most relevant. Fans need to have access to WiFi or 3G if they are to talk about the sport, share content and sign up with your Social Media channels.
Real Madrid are the second team in Europe to optimise their stadium in order facilitate and encourage Social Media usage, the first being their La Liga rivals and Social Media powerhouse – FC Barcelona – who improved the Camp Nou in July. Hopefully, this kind of thinking comes to the UK sharpish as football fans are consistently frustrated by a lack of mobile connectivity during matchdays. I’m also delighted to see a second club fulfil my original prediction that we’d see Socially Connected Stadiums by 2012.