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April 3, 2019updated 05 Apr 2019 10:08am

The tech on show at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

By Luke Christou

After numerous warm-ups, the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will get its first taste of the Premier League tonight, as Spurs welcome Crystal Palace to their new home.

At a cost of $1bn, Tottenham set out to build one of the “most technologically advanced stadia ever built”. Creating a state-of-the-art fan experience has gone into every detail, from the pitch conditioning, to the beer pumps.

So what technology will fans get their first taste of at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tonight, and how will this improve the experience for those in attendance?

SCX dividing retractable pitch

Mechanical lifting company SCX has helped to create the new stadium’s retractable pitch.

While Tottenham Hotspur will be the stadium’s main tenant, the club also hopes to develop its relationship with the NFL. In order to facilitate that, the natural grass playing surface is able to retract, revealing an artificial surface below that will allow for other sports or concerts to take place without damaging the surface.

Retractable pitches are becoming more common in newly built stadiums. However, Tottenham’s pitch will be the first dividing retractable pitch. The player surface will sit on rails housed in three street trays, which will slide underneath the south stand in under 30 minutes.

Daktronics HD displays

Tottenham selected American electronics company Daktronics to develop its LED video displays to be used throughout the new stadium.

The centre piece will be the two 325-square metre displays located in the south end of the stadium, as well as the two 190-square metre displays in the north end. These displays will feature Daktronics’ unique 13 HD pixel layout technology, which provides improved image quality and promises an excellent view throughout the stadium. This technology is becoming commonplace in the US and receives rave reviews from National Football League fans.

Each screen will feature variable content zoning, which will allow one large image or multiple combinations of video, replays, statistics, match data, or advertisements to be shown throughout the game.

As well as this, Daktronics has also fitted two façade displays and three tiers of flexible ribbon displays around the stadium – something that has never been done before in a UK stadium.

Stadium Grow Lighting grow lights

The stadium will make use of Smart Grow Lighting’s Smart Pitch Management System, developed by the club in partnership with SGL, SCX and sports surface manufacturer Hewitt Sportsturf. This system monitors the condition of the pitch and optimises growth conditions to ensure that the turf is kept in good shape.

The system processes data to analyse changes in pitch health and forecast future changes, which can be used by stadium management to treat the grass in the right way. This is handled by the Integrated Lighting System which is stored underneath the North Stand.

A total of six lights, which provides coverage of the whole pitch, are hydraulically raised onto mounts and moved into the correct position, meaning that the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be the first to feature a grow-lighting structure that doesn’t come into contact with the playing surface.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure energy system

Perhaps Schneider Electric’s energy management system won’t be as appreciated by the fans as a reliable Wi-Fi network, but the company’s EcoStruxure system will play a key role in keeping the costs of powering Tottenham’s high-tech stadium.

The company has worked closely with the club throughout the development of the stadium, ensuring that power will be effectively supplied to all areas of the stadium, which should help to boost operational efficiency.

EcoStruxure combined energy operations technology with information technology. This monitors performance in real-time and uses this data to optimise aspects of the visitor experience such as temperature and lighting, ensuring that fans are comfortable throughout their visit.

Tottenham Hotspur app

Ahead of tonight’s kick-off, the club has launched the new official club app, which will streamline the matchday experience for attending fans.

The app will ensure that fans find their way to their seats in time for the first whistle, assisting them all the way from their home to the ground. It will deliver travel information on matchdays, allow fans to store match tickets on their smartphones and use this to access the stadium, and then point them in the direction of their seat using wayfinding technology.

Bottoms Up Beer pouring system

The in-stadium technology that has received the most attention is the beer pouring system that has been installed in the ground’s on-site microbrewery.

The Bottoms Up Beer pouring system fills drinks from the bottom up. The cup, which features an opening in the bottom, is pushed down onto the system, which then automatically fills. When removed, the opening cover clicks back down to seal the gap.

According to Bottoms Up Beer, their system is the “most efficient beer dispensing system in the world”. It claims to lower the amount of waste and save time. This means more revenue for the club and shorter wait times for fans.

HPE Aruba connectivity network

Hewlett-Packard, once previously Tottenham’s kit sponsor, was selected to bring all this new technology together.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has fitted the stadium with its Aruba Networks technology throughout the stadium. The network is made up of more than 1,600 access points, which will provide total coverage throughout the stadium.

New 5G network operators are expected to find a wide number of use cases in sports, with more than 90% of European operators planning to have trialled the technology with sports venues by 2021.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been built with this in mind. The HPE technology will allow the network to cope with an increasingly digital matchday experience. According to the club, 65% or 40,300 of the fans within the 62,100-seater stadium will be able to live-stream video content simultaneously.

However, the Aruba network won’t just connect fans. It will also power the stadium’s ticketing, security, turnstiles, video screens and point-of-sale systems. By connecting all of these processes together, the club will be able to connect valuable data on what fans are doing within the stadium that will help to refine the experience.

Cash-free payment system

Part of the network provided by HPE is its point-of-sale system, made up of more than 600 HP POS devices, which will the club to do away with cash in the stadium. Fans will instead pay through contactless card or mobile, or purchase pre-paid stadium cards that can be topped up before, during and after a game.

This system will not only improve efficiency and lead to shorter queues, but it will also allow the club to collect detailed information on how their fans are spending their money on matchdays.