Glamorgan County Cricket Club

100-2,499 Employees
Networking

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Within seconds of taking a photo, photographers can upload it using our Avaya WiFi and send it directly to their offices, rather than having to relocate for access.

– Dan Cherry, Head of Operations , Glamorgan County Cricket Club

Benefits

Improved Customer Service
Network Scalability

AT CRICKET’S MOST ANTICIPATED EVENT, WI-FI WINS WITH GLOBAL MEDIA

Welsh Stadium Stays Competitive with Speed, Availability

September 22, 2011 was a momentous day for Wales. The Glamorgan County Cricket Club (CCC), based in the Welsh capital city of Cardiff, learned that, in 2015, it would host the most anticipated event in its sport – one match, or “test,” of the Ashes Test Series. This historic, multi-day event brings together the greatest rivalry in the sport: teams from England and Australia.

Cricket is the world’s second most popular sport, with over 120 million players globally. “The Ashes,” now one of the sport’s biggest events, earned its curious name in 1882 when Australia won its first test match on English soil, leading a newspaper at the time to declare the death of English cricket. And the name stuck.

After being awarded one match of the 2015 Ashes Test Series, Glamorgan County Cricket Club organisers knew they had work ahead of them to be ready for the fans, and most critically, a large contingent of global media. At the time, the Club’s stadium – SSE SWALEC – ranked low among cricket grounds for its technology infrastructure. To meet the connectivity demands of hundreds of media guests, the Club would need at least 10 times its existing capacity.

The stadium’s Wi-Fi service was unreliable and slow where photographers needed it most, on the edge of the cricket field. When photographers were ready to send their images or video, they often had to walk inside the club house for a stronger connection – taking them away from the action. Beyond these immediate needs, the Club’s strategic plans called for rolling out next-generation capabilities for greater fan engagement, and to make the venue more attractive for revenue-generating conferences and other events held on days without cricket matches.

“Our existing infrastructure wasn’t up to speed,” recalls Dan Cherry, Head of Operations at Glamorgan County Cricket Club. “With massive media interest in the Ashes Test Series, we had to upgrade to cope with the demand and stage the games successfully – as well as to elevate the profile of our grounds to attract more conferences and events, and revenue.”

Olympic-Quality Capacity

The Club assembled a strategic plan to prepare for the 2015 Ashes Test Series, in close collaboration with its longtime IT partner, Pro-Copy. After evaluating the market, Glamorgan CCC chose to team with Avaya to upgrade its network for the Ashes, and to support other applications for a better guest and media experience.

Glamorgan County Cricket Club

“From all the research we did, we were very impressed with Avaya,” Cherry says. “We were reassured by the success that other sports venues have had with Avaya, including the Sochi Olympics, and found them to be a progressive company that shares our values.”

The Club and Pro-Copy worked with their local Avaya reseller to determine the optimal mix of Avaya solutions, configuration and deployment. They decided on Avaya Fabric Connect, an enhanced implementation of Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) that can optimise network traffic and gives organisations ultimate flexibility in the design of their networks. Glamorgan CCC is running fabric over the Avaya Virtual Services Platform and Avaya Wireless LAN 9100 Series to ensure high-quality coverage wherever authorised users need it.

The Avaya fabric enables a single infrastructure to simultaneously and more securely support SWALEC operational traffic, ticketing and gate access control applications, telephony, point of sale, press, photography, media and hospitality guest Internet access.

Prior to upgrading, the solution was configured for the stadium’s specific needs. Thereafter, installation and testing took about five days – completed while other events were taking place at the stadium. For regular events, the stadium bumped up its capacity by 10 times, to 100Mbps, and temporarily to 200Mbps for the Ashes Test.

What’s What in Cricket

  • The Ashes Test Series – An historic series of matches between England and Australia, first played in 1882
  • Pitch – The central strip in a cricket field, 22 yards in length
  • The bowler – The player who bowls the ball to the batter
  • Test – The longest form of the sport of cricket, which often lasts five days
  • Wicket – Wooden stumps on the cricket pitch

“That was one of the beauties of the installation,” Cherry says. “They worked around everything else that was going on here. It was really seamless switching from the old to the new.”

“It was just like putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” remembers Steve Edwards, IT Director at Pro-Copy. “With so much done prior to delivery, it was just a matter of plugging things in. The team was fantastic to work with and stayed with us during the Ashes Test as well.”

1200 Devices a Day

Though the Club had tested the network as best it could, no testing could truly prepare Glamorgan CCC for the level of peak usage during the Ashes Test Series. The stadium saw a huge jump in the number of media representatives, with most toting multiple devices. That included more than 100 print journalists and 60 photographers – more than double the typical number at a Glamorgan match.

SSE SWALEC stadium additionally hosted a record number of hospitality guests, fans who pay some £400 per ticket for additional services, including Internet access in bars and restaurants. On average, 1,200 devices connected per day.

The event went off without a hitch. After some Mac users reported difficulty getting onto the network, the team immediately optimised the Wi-Fi configuration to suit the different user profiles, by leveraging Avaya’s software programmable radios. Unlike other solutions where the radios in the access points are preset, each radio in the Avaya WLAN 9100 Access Points can be programmed flexibly for the environment. Cherry was very impressed with the level of commitment demonstrated by Avaya and the local reseller to ensure everything was resolved and running smoothly.

The day, considered a win for SWALEC stadium and technology, was appropriately capped by a win by England – beating Australia by 169 runs.

“The Best They Have Experienced”

And the media noticed.

“We received a lot of positive messages regarding the speed of our infrastructure, from photographers especially.”

Dan Cherry, Head of Operations, Glamorgan County Cricket Club

"It was the best they had experienced from a cricket stadium in this country," Cherry recalls. "Within seconds of taking a photo, they could upload it and send it directly to their offices rather than having to relocate for access.”

The network also protected Club revenue by ensuring that hospitality guests received the full benefits they expected, including connectivity.

Now beyond the Ashes Test, the Glamorgan County Cricket Club looks forward to numerous additions to its technology infrastructure. It will eventually extend Wi-Fi to all fans throughout the 15,000-seat stadium so they can freely share their experiences on social media – a goal that will help attract a larger number of younger fans to this traditional and historic sport. The Club plans to create mobile applications that meet a couple of objectives at once. For one, Glamorgan CCC will engage fans with an app that lets them buy tickets to future games, order food from their seats, learn more about players, or see an interactive map of the stadium. Secondly, apps will allow Glamorgan CCC to collect important information about fans and conference attendees to meet the goal of expanding its marketing database.

The strength of the Avaya network also boosts the venue’s attractiveness for all manner of events. Last year, the stadium hosted 38,000 conference clients and Cherry expects that to increase by 10-15 percent over the next year. Videoconferencing with Avaya Scopia brings an enticing addition to the venue’s conference services.

SSE SWALEC stadium is also targeting lucrative concert opportunities in 2016. Again, the network will help the stadium compete with other venues, and support the sharing that fans expect as the stadium brings in additional revenue.

“A massive part of our strategy is to make Wales proud,” Cherry says. “A large part of doing that is engaging schools, colleges, cricket clubs, and the business community. Free access to Wi-Fi will allow us to stage more events and grow our business further."

“We feel Avaya can take us to the next level in delivering the fan experience.”

Dan Cherry, Head of Operations, Glamorgan County Cricket Club

 

 

On average, 1,200 devices connected to the Avaya network in the Glamorgan County Cricket Club's stadium per day during the Ashes Test Series.

CUSTOMER PROFILE
Glamorgan County Cricket Club
  • Headquarters:

  • United Kingdom

  • # Employees:

  • 310

Glamorgan County Cricket Club (CCC) is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh national cricket structure, representing the historic county of Glamorgan. Glamorgan CCC is the only Welsh first-class cricket club and has won the English County Championship competition three times, in 1948, 1969 and 1997. Based in Cardiff, Glamorgan CCC plays most of its home games at the SSE SWALEC Stadium in Sophia Gardens.

What our Customers are saying
“We received a lot of positive messages from the media regarding the speed of our Avaya network infrastructure, from photographers especially. It was the best they had experienced from a cricket stadium in this country.”

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  • Dan Cherry

  • Glamorgan County Cricket Club