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Melbourne Cricket Ground to take stadium technology and fan engagement to new levels

Melbourne Cricket Ground to take stadium technology and fan engagement to new levels
February 4, 2015

Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has unveiled plans to turn the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) into one of Australia's most technically advanced and connected stadiums for fans, members and stakeholders.

In conjunction with partners Cockram, IBM and Cisco, the MCC announced that it will progressively deliver a range of technology infrastructure during 2015. The solution will connect fans and improve the spectator experience, bringing them closer to the action as it happens.

It includes:

• A super-fast, secure, high-density Wi-Fi network in and around the stadium, allowing fans to access real-time and interactive content and to engage with other fans.
• A state-of-the-art exterior LED lighting system that will enhance the visual appearance of the MCG and allow teams/clubs to personalise and theme the stadium for their fans.
• A best-of-breed Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) system to deliver digital content to high-definition displays throughout the MCG, displaying information as it happens.
• Best-in-class facilities for media and broadcasters that will enable faster supply of event content to fans around the world.

The works are the next phase in a $45 million investment by the MCC, which has already delivered the two largest, high-definition scoreboards in Australia and the next generation of high-definition television production facilities. 

The project will deliver a cutting-edge, high-density Wi-Fi network inside the MCG, allowing fans, members and stakeholders fast access to the internet on any device at the stadium.

The IPTV solution will see installation of 800 high-definition screens. Fans will be able to watch high-definition replays and keep track of the action as it unfolds. Coupled with existing screens, a total of 2,800 televisions around the stadium will mean that fans won't miss a moment.

Commenting on the innovation, MCC Chief Executive Stephen Gough explained "the MCG will soon be one of the most connected stadiums in the country.

"This is a significant investment to improve and personalise the MCG customer experience and also operate a more efficient stadium."

"This will take the fan experience to another level with significant improvements to the MCG's connectivity.

"This increased capacity will be great news for the four million people who visit the MCG each year."

One of the central pillars of the MCG technology improvements surrounds the ability to theme the stadium in the colours of the home team.  

Approximately 240 LED lamps will light the entire underside of the upper area of Level 4 seating, enabling the exterior of the stadium to be lit up in team/club colours, allowing AFL and cricket tenants to differentiate their home matches.

Gough added "whether you are a Collingwood, Hawthorn or Melbourne Stars fan, you want to feel like you are at a home game.

"We can now add to that true home team feeling at the MCG."

LED strip lighting will also be installed on the exterior façade to highlight the stadium, including gate entrances. Improved external digital way finding signage will be provided in Yarra Park. 

The MCC has assessed a number of the world's best stadiums to find a solution with the fans' best interests in mind. Some of these venues include Dallas Stadium, Metlife Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Citifield, AT&T Park, Levi's Stadium, Emirates Stadium, Staples Centre and Barcelona's Camp Nou and Wembley Stadium.

Gough continued "we have witnessed new technologies in action elsewhere and we want to ensure the MCG remains one of the greatest stadiums in the world."

Cockram Construction has been engaged as head contractor of the project while IBM has been appointed as head technical contractor to design, evaluate technology options and implement the selected solution to further enable the delivery of fan engagement innovations. 

IBM Smarter Cities Australia Director Catherine Caruana-McManus added "the technology solution IBM has designed and is implementing will deliver the foundational backbone for MCC to future proof Australia's premier, world-renowned stadium. 

"This work will enable MCC to take advantage of the latest mobile, social and analytics technologies.

"It will create unrivalled and personalised in-stadium fan engagement and ensure premier game day experiences, giving fans more reasons to visit more often.

"IBM's expertise in delivering world leading innovation and digital solutions for sport and entertainment industries will deliver new commercial possibilities and attract more world-class events to the MCG."

For further information go to www.mcg.org.au

25th June 2014 - FAN ENGAGEMENT EXPERT TO ADDRESS 2014 SPORTS FAN SUMMIT

9th April 2014 - MCG SCOREBOARDS IN RUNNING FOR INTERNATIONAL AWARD


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