Friday, March 27, 2015
Avaya Stadium Facts: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Best Stadium in Major League Soccer
(by Luke Stangel Avaya.com/blogs 3-2-15)
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 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.”
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.