The San Francisco 49ers hosted their first preseason home game Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos. The match-up of two perennial NFL championship contenders was also noteworthy for being the inaugural game at Levi’s Stadium, located in Santa Clara, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. Levi’s Stadium isn’t just located in Silicon Valley — it embodies Silicon Valley. The 49ers spent an estimated $125 million on technology to make Levi’s Stadium the undisputed champion of wired, and wireless, stadiums.
The 49ers use of technology is more akin to its Silicon Valley neighbors like Apple, Google and Facebook. In fact, the 49ers hired over 30 technologists, including the former leader of Facebook’s IT department, to build the most technology-advanced stadium in the league. This much attention on technology is not just for bragging rights. Like many companies today, the 49ers want to create a better product and service — in this case, football — using technology. And, being in Silicon Valley doesn’t hurt for a company or football team that wants to go high tech. The 49ers leveraged partnerships with tech powerhouses like Brocade, Comcast, Intel and Yahoo, and a host of other IT vendors in the Valley, to pull off this technology marvel.
Dubbed the “smart stadium,” Levi’s Stadium is loaded with technology that would make any geek stand up and cheer. For starters, there are 680 free Wi-Fi access points distributed around the stadium. That’s nearly one access point for every hundred fans. The access points are supported by a blazing, 40-Gbps fiber-optic cable backbone that delivers broadband speeds 40 times faster than any other NFL stadium.
Perfect example of how a sports club should be, going forward. Manchester United announced last week they were banning tech from their stadium. The 49ers have spent $125million on tech and I believe they will be the first of many all over the world.