The Columbus Crew Fan Experience Takes Center Circle with Vertiv Digital Innovations

By Greg Tavarez April 25, 2023

It’s Saturday evening in Columbus, Ohio, and chants of “We are Massive” are heard as Columbus Crew fans show off their pride for the soccer team they love dearly. A team that was at one point destined to move to Austin due to the fact they needed a new stadium to keep the team in Columbus.

Well, they have that stadium with Field, a stadium with a capacity of 20,371. This past March, the Columbus Crew kicked off their second full season at Field, featuring several technological enhancements that further improved the already high-tech stadium and fan experience.

During the 2023 season’s home opener where they defeated D.C. United 2-0, the Crew reported nearly 16,000 unique users and more than 9,500 simultaneous devices on its in-stadium Wi-Fi network. And the company making that possible is Vertiv, a global provider of digital infrastructure and continuity solutions.

Vertiv is the founding partner and Official Data Center Equipment Provider for the Crew, and its equipment supports the network that enables fan entry, point-of-sale systems for concessions and retail and various in-game experiences like the scoreboard and digital signage.

One enhancement Crew supporters benefited from is a new virtual currency called Crew Cash, which allowed fans to redeem their points for concessions and retail purchases via the Crew Mobile App. The use of virtual currencies like Crew Cash is an innovative way to reward fans and increase engagement, which could potentially be adopted by other teams. And Crew fans took a liking to the new feature, with a total number of mobile orders during the opener representing 37% of all transactions in 2022.

Apart from Crew Cash, fans also took advantage of four additional charging stations, which allow them to charge their mobile devices on the go. The use of charging stations increased three times compared to last season.

The Crew also implemented mobile and facial recognition ticketing, allowing fans to use facial authentication to pass through the stadium gates without presenting a phone or ticket to scan.

“We continue to add digital capabilities throughout the stadium to enhance the fan experience, and we’re comfortable pushing the limits the way we do because we have confidence in our digital infrastructure from Vertiv,” said Brandon Covert, vice president of information technology for the Crew and Haslam Sports Group.

Other new digital elements at the stadium include a camera-based player tracking system and a digital security system that accelerates physical security screening for a safer in-stadium experience.

The Columbus Crew, as an organization, reminds all sports organizations that with any new digital enhancements to stadiums, it is crucial to have a reliable and efficient digital infrastructure in place. In this instance, Vertiv took to the penalty spot and delivered with a goal into the top corner. 

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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