Avaya Stadium Facts: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Best Stadium in Major League Soccer

Avaya Stadium opened its doors to the public this past weekend, inviting 10,000 raucous fans to watch the San Jose Earthquakes defeat the L.A. Galaxy 3-2 in preseason exhibition play. For thousands of diehard Earthquakes supporters, it was their first time exploring the new, $100 million, state-of-the-art facility.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. On Twitter, fans tagged their compliments with #avayastadium, saying things like: “Avaya Stadium is seriously so awesome. Can’t wait to go back in three weeks,” and “Avaya Stadium is beautiful.” Check it out.

Some of the facts about Avaya Stadium are well-known and often-quoted: It’s the world’s first cloud-enabled soccer stadium, home to the largest outdoor bar in North America, Major League Soccer’s steepest-raked stadium seating, and California’s second-largest LED scoreboard.

We thought we’d take a closer look at some of the lesser-known facts about the stadium, and why we think it’s the best stadium in Major League Soccer.

Fabric-Based, Bulletproof Networking

Today’s connected sports experiences demand a super-fast network backbone inside the stadium. Traffic from voice calls, live video, financial transactions and mobile fan engagement experiences all run over the same infrastructure, making 99.999% uptime an absolute requirement.

We built the network using Avaya Fabric Connect, the same scalable, flexible, secure software-defined architecture that we used to build the network at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

One of the neat things about Avaya Fabric Connect is that it’s capable of prioritizing traffic dynamically, allowing data-hungry, business-critical applications, such as IP video or credit card transactions, to get uninterrupted access to the network. During periods of peak traffic, less-crucial applications–say, Facebook or Instagram–get deprioritized access to the network.

The network is powered by just 39 Avaya ERS 4850 switches. That simplicity is the hallmark of Fabric Connect, allowing organizations to quickly and easily administer their network.

The Earthquakes gave us 90 days to install the network infrastructure at the stadium. We did it in 30.

Not a Bad Seat in the House

All 18,000 seats are good. The European-style, steep-raked, single-deck bowl seating means that fans sitting at the very top have an incredible view of the entire field of play.

Avaya Stadium Seating

Avaya Stadium is shaped like a horseshoe. At the horseshoe’s opening, facing the San Jose Mineta International Airport, is the double-sided LED scoreboard—the second-largest LED screen in California.

Underneath that scoreboard is the 3,647-square-foot, redwood- and terrazzo stone-accented outdoor bar—the largest outdoor bar in North America. The bar is home to more than two dozen bartenders and 45 beers on tap.

Holding that beer, you now find yourself just feet away from the field of play—right behind the goalie in the 2-acre fan zone. It’s remarkable how close to the action you really are.

The multicolored seats form a pattern than contains a secret code. The first person to crack the code wins two tickets to the 2018 World Cup Finals.

It’s Really Loud

Under those 18,000 seats is Sandwich Plate System flooring, which was designed specifically to amplify the sound of people stomping their feet in unison. That sound carries up to the canopy roof, which bounces it back down onto the field, and out of the horseshoe opening.

“It’s really loud,” said San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. “I think it’s a differentiator. … I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and I sat in the Dawg Pound going to games when I was 8, 10, 12 years old. That energy is what makes you an avid fan, it’s what makes you crazy for your team. That’s why European soccer is such a huge force in worldwide sports and we can have the same thing here at Avaya Stadium. It’s the way we’ve designed the venue, the way we focused on technology, the way we brought in partners like Avaya, and I think it’s going to be something that’s truly monumental.”

It’s Permanent

The San Jose Earthquakes started playing in 1974, and were among the first 10 teams to join Major League Soccer in 1996. For the team’s 20-year history with Major League Soccer, it has never had a permanent home, mostly playing at San Jose State University and Santa Clara University.

In 2005, San Jose temporarily lost the Earthquakes to Houston, mostly because the team couldn’t find a suitable stadium site in Silicon Valley. The Earthquakes returned in 2008, and broke ground on the stadium in late 2012.

“It’s been a 40-year history of the Earthquakes here in the South Bay and we’ve never had our own home,” Kaval said. “We’ve always been renting from someone else and not having your own home means you don’t actually have somewhere you can call your own and there’s always uncertainty at how long you’ll be in the community.”

Two-and-a-half years, hundreds of thousands of man hours and 3,174 tons of steel later, Avaya Stadium is that permanent home.

What’s next for the team? This month, they travel to Texas to take on FC Dallas and Washington State for a match with the Seattle Sounders FC. They return to Avaya Stadium on March 22 to take on the Chicago Fire for their first regular season home game.

For more information about Avaya Stadium, visit www.avayasponsorships.com.

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Exploring the New Avaya Stadium Mobile App for the San Jose Earthquakes

With only days left, the momentum surrounding the 2016 MLS season kickoff is at an all-time high. This year, with Avaya’s help, fans of the San Jose Earthquakes have even more to look forward to as they celebrate their team’s home opener at Avaya Stadium—the league’s first-ever cloud-enabled stadium.

As a proud partner of the Earthquakes, Avaya’s mission is to continually refine its market-leading technologies in order to push the boundaries of fan engagement. Most notably among this season’s technological advancements is an upgraded version of the Avaya Stadium mobile app. Fans who download the app, which is currently available for iOS and Android, can engage deeper with their team using a number of innovative features and capabilities.

With just one week until kickoff, now is the perfect time for Quakes fans and MLS enthusiasts alike to check out the app. Here’s a sneak peek at what users can expect:

  • Game Day Activity Stream: The application’s homepage is a one-stop-shop for all news about the Quakes, featuring a number of live activity streams for fans to engage in. For example, a social media stream combines real-time activity and commentary across today’s most popular social feeds including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Fans can synch their social accounts to the app in order to post about the team or join in on conversations. They can also use the hashtag #AvayaStadium for a chance to appear on Avaya’s Fan Engagement Wall (more on this below), and win prizes like free drinks and clothing. Additionally, there are streams that curate managed content and news about the game, team and more. All need-to-know information is in one easily-accessible place for maximum convenience.
  • Digital Player Cards: Digital player cards bring fans’ favorite players to life. Users can quickly and easily view player information, performance statistics and more via the app.
  • Stadium Chat: This feature enables fans to engage in live chat with agents to receive help of any kind. For example, users can ask questions related to parking, concessions and merchandising, as well as view maps to easily navigate the stadium. Users can even buy tickets via the app, which is linked to Ticketmaster.
  • Interactive Polling: This function enables the Quakes to engage with fans via interactive polls, which are sent as push notifications to app users. As with any other application, users are first asked to consent to notifications before receiving them.

The all-new Avaya Stadium mobile app deeply engages with fans while supporting a truly effortless user experience. From the comfort of couches to the thrill of front-row seats, fans are granted 24×7 access to the Quakes with just the touch of a finger.

This new mobile app, however, is just part of Avaya’s technology showcase designed to enhance fan engagement. This year we’re also honing in on:

  • Networking and Wi-Fi: High bandwidth Wi-Fi service, powered by Avaya’s WLAN9100 solution, supports the expansive 18,000-seat stadium to ensure seamless connectivity for all users. Fans can use the Avaya Stadium mobile app, surf the Web, engage in social media and more with little to no latency or jitter. iBeaconing—location-based technology—also indicates when users are successfully connected to the Avaya network within the stadium.
  • Fan Engagement Wall: Six TVs are combined to make a giant, connected screen that shares real-time social activity and commentary, taking fans deeper into the game. Any post with the hashtag #AvayaStadium will automatically be sent to Avaya’s CMS for approval, where our team filters for content and then chooses to promote it, or reject it.
  • Fanalytics: With “Fanalytics,” Avaya has strategically leveraged the data it receives through several fan touchpoints and channels to continually improve fan engagement. This opens the door to new and exciting ways to transform the fan experience and make the MLS’ best stadium even better.

Supported by Avaya’s advanced technology and end-to-end support, the first cloud-enabled stadium in the MLS allows the Quakes to reimagine fan engagement, establishing themselves as a true differentiator in the league.

The launch of our new mobile app is big news for Quakes fans, but even bigger news for the sports industry as a whole. Technology makes a difference and, offered from the right vendor, can transform the way fans engage with the teams they love. Avaya is proud to support the San Jose Earthquakes as one of over 45 sports teams with advanced, cloud-enabled stadiums worldwide.

As fans countdown to kickoff, they can kick start an immersive, 360-degree experience using the all-new Avaya Stadium mobile app. In Avaya’s world, the 2016 MLS season starts right now.

Download the Avaya Stadium mobile app for Android
Download the Avaya Stadium mobile app for iOS

Virtual Reality Will Improve Thanksgiving Football (Soon)

Virtual reality (VR) will be bigger than ever in 2016. Spotlighted as one of the top five trends for businesses to watch, I’m jumping on the prediction bandwagon by wagering that one of the biggest places it will play out is in the sports arena.

VR gives fans the ability to enjoy a live experience from the comfort of home, and have a richer, deeper more engaged experience with their favorite teams. For stadiums and clubs, it provides an extended revenue opportunity and helps form deeper connections between the brand and its audiences. Thanksgiving weekend—one of the biggest weekends for football fans—is a great time to examine how technology will revolutionize the fan experience and the game itself in the very near future.

Analysts at Digi-Capital estimate that the augmented and virtual reality market will hit $150 billion in revenue by 2020, with sports representing a particularly interesting use case. In October, the NBA kicked off the season by live-streaming its opening night in VR, providing a courtside experience to fans at home with Samsung Gear VR headsets.

When you consider the combination of fan engagement and commercial opportunities, it’s not hard to see the appeal of VR for sports franchises or fans. Some 70 percent of the world’s population tuned in to the Beijing Olympics, while 14 percent of the world’s population watched the Cricket World Cup quarter final between India and Pakistan. VR provides an opportunity to bring these fans closer to the action – even from their own sofa – while simultaneously increasing match day revenues which have, up until now, been limited by the size of the stadium.

In Europe, Avaya recently teamed up with VR experts Yellowbird, to produce immersive digital fan experiences. Avaya’s experience providing networks for major sporting events like the Sochi and Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, the Ashes, the Super Bowl, and the San Jose Earthquakes, coupled with Yellowbird’s award winning VR productions, created a real buzz at IP Expo when we demonstrated our joint capabilities there last month.

With Yellowbird and Avaya, fans in the stadium and at home benefit from an enhanced viewing experience.  For example, a fan could watch the match live at the stadium and use their smartphone to view the on-pitch action from different angles, such as the corner flag, the cross-bar or even the ref’s label cam.

At home, fans could view the event as if they were sitting in the best seat in the house, using virtual reality to soak up the atmosphere, pan to the goal posts, the fans in the stadium, and more. Of course, that’s not possible without the network backbone to support it, which is why Avaya SDN Fx is the best choice for virtual reality applications. It’s secure, robust, flexible, and easy to configure remotely. Adding and removing services like VR is simple.

Away from the pitch, VR is already being successfully used in sport with the Stanford University football team and a number of NFL teams using VR as part of their training sessions with key athletes.

Consumer trends quickly permeate into the enterprise, and it’s only a matter of time before companies start experimenting with the technology to improve their bottom line.

“The big step is to get consumers in,” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said in a recent Wired interview. “Whatever comes next in the future, whatever great innovations we unlock, if we don’t establish a great consumer market and user base around [it], then we’re not going to have a runway to use in future. … Over the next few years those thresholds and breakthroughs will happen until we reach the point where VR is as ubiquitous as smartphones.”

To do that, enterprises—whether they are sports stadiums or traditional businesses—will require a robust, solid network to handle the traffic from these applications.

As you sit down to watch Thanksgiving football this weekend, use the breaks in play to think about how to leverage virtual reality to boost your business’ bottom line, whether by creating employee efficiencies or monetizing an experience. As we’ve seen with so many other consumer technologies, enterprise applications are just a short step away, and those that make the early adoption curve can really help define new industry trends and opportunities.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Avaya Stadium Takes Home Major Industry Award for Fan Engagement

When we announced that the San Jose Earthquakes’ home turf would be Avaya Stadium, we set a goal: to create the ultimate, state-of-the-art fan engagement experience.

So we were thrilled when Avaya Stadium was named Product Innovation Award Winner at TheStadiumBusiness Awards 2015 in Barcelona last week. TheStadiumBusiness Awards is the largest awards ceremony for the stadium industry worldwide.

Avaya Stadium received the honor for being the first cloud-enabled stadium in Major League Soccer. Our cloud-based model provides faster, more immersive fan engagement experiences, with reduced need for in-house IT personnel. All software applications in the stadium run over a network that we built using Avaya Fabric Connect — the same future-proof architecture that we used to build the bulletproof network at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

In addition to taking home the Product Innovation Award, Avaya Stadium was one of six stadiums to make the Venue of the Year shortlist. It stood alongside other world-renowned stadiums, including the 49ers’ Levi’s® Stadium in Santa Clara, the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia, Wembley Stadium in England, Maracanã Stadium in Brazil and FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou in Spain.

Still we’ve only just begun!

We’re steadfast in our goal to own fan engagement from wake to sleep. Just sneak a peek at the Fan Engagement Walls recently installed at Avaya Stadium. Using our cloud-based technology, fans can see what’s new, relevant and trending in the league with live social feed updates.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Earthquakes to push the envelope in sports technology and make Avaya Stadium the place where sports and technology meet.