IBM Launches First Global Consortium, Consulting Practice To Modernize Venues and Sports Experience of the Future


ARMONK, N.Y. – 19 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the Sports and Entertainment Global Consortium, which was created to design, build and deliver the ultimate fan experience.  IBM also announced the new Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice led by Jim Rushton, who joins IBM after serving as Chief Revenue Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.

The consortium brings together IBM’s world leading information technology and recognized leaders in such areas as, construction and design, network infrastructure, wireless and telecommunications. Collectively, consortium members already are working with more than 250 of the world’s top venues. The sports consortium offers clients an integrated capability spanning design, strategy, technology and data to drive growth and profit across all sports enterprise businesses.

Founding members of the consortium, include:

.    Architecture and Design: HOK

·    Construction and Design: AECOM, Whiting Turner

·    Infrastructure Technology, Software & IPTV: Alcatel-Lucent, Anixter, CommScope, Corning, Juniper Networks, Ruckus Wireless, Schneider Electric, Smarter Risk, Tellabs, Ucopia, Zebra Technologies, YinzCam, Zhone

·    Communications Solutions Providers: AT&T, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Level 3, Zayo

·    Fan Experience Consulting, Mobile Applications & Data Management Integration: IBM

According to A.T. Kearney, sports annually generate nearly $700 billion around the world and the market is growing faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in nearly every country. The modern venue setting demands a sophisticated technology and wireless environment.

“We look forward to working with IBM and our clients to integrate new and emerging technologies into the design of stadiums, ballparks and arenas to create a more memorable experience for fans”, said Brad Schrock, AIA, a director of Sports + Recreation + Entertainment design at leading sports venue design firm HOK. “Fans will be able to use mobile devices to interact with the venue and the team, which will create extraordinary experiences.”

Yet less than half of U.S. sports venues provide even basic connectivity on game days. Fewer still are equipped to meet fan expectations for wireless services to mobile devices, e-commerce and entertainment options, and delivery of data and analysis of events and athletic performance.

As sports enterprises and venues look to digital capabilities to create deeper levels of engagement with fans and convert that engagement into new sources of revenue, they must be able to deliver high-bandwidth connectivity, with services and content increasingly customized to individual preferences.

This is especially true as the live in-venue experience competes with the quality and convenience of high-definition television, mobile and social channels surrounding live events. A fully designed and realized experience moves fans from passive spectators to active participants via multiple points of engagement, and ultimately convert fans into customers of new offerings and digital services.

“IBM’s approach from the outset has been to combine the tech savvy of its integrated systems expertise with the best practices of its heralded fan-friendly, immersive data engagements at major sporting events,” said Jared Miller, Chief Technology Officer, Arthur M. Blank Sports & Entertainment Group, which signed on IBM as a founding partner for its iconic downtown Atlanta Mercedes-Benz Stadium set to open in 2017 as the home of the NFL’s Falcons and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer.   “From supplying the robust infrastructure in its advanced fiber-based optical networks and distributed antenna system that ensures connectivity for fast, reliable WiFi to over 70,000 fans attending a game, to the video displays and digital signage, IBM is building the network backbone that will support the operational systems for the Stadium, such as physical security capabilities including cameras, managed doors and video intercom systems. Making those experiences a reality requires more than dazzling displays and flashy apps, but an innovative mindset that puts the fan experience first.”

In many cases, sports enterprises and venues have yet to incorporate digital elements that are essential in providing a seamless year-round experience that will delight their passive, active, or high-value fans. At present, these enterprises must act as their own general contractors to assemble an extensive list of capabilities and integrate a complex stack of technology and business components.

“Sports enterprises and venues need to look at ways to get to know their loyal fans as individuals, and convert that fan loyalty into new revenue streams – not just on game days but 365 days a year,” said Jim Rushton, who will lead the new IBM consulting practice, which will deploy more than 100 global specialists in experience design, mobility, marketing and data analytics supported by a global network of 20 digital design studios. “It’s an ongoing experience that starts when a fan purchases tickets, travels to the venue, attends an event; and it continues well after the event is over.”

Members of the IBM Sports and Entertainment Consortium commit to develop solutions, exchange intellectual property and collaborate to design and deliver global opportunities.

The new Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice formalizes the experience design that IBM Interactive Experience, the industry’s largest hybrid digital agency and consultancy, has delivered for events such as The Masters and the tennis Grand Slam events — Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open. The practice also becomes the integrating front end of IBM’s proven sports capabilities — spanning personalized fan engagement (mobile and web), data management for team performance with the clients like the Ottawa Senators; and the optimization of stadium infrastructure for venues like Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Kyle Field at Texas A&M.

“Today’s sports and entertainment venue experience is no longer the singular idea of a fan watching a game, said Richard A. Patterson, General Manager, Global Technology Services. “In order to convert casual fans to loyal customers, connection is everything. IBM and our consortium partners are redefining the idea of the stadium with technology to benefit fans and teams alike.”

The full suite of solutions IBM brings to this market includes Fan Experience consulting, analytics for team performance, the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson, fiber-based networking, flash storage, wireless networking and open-standard hybrid cloud delivery as the basis of emerging business solutions.

For more information on the new IBM Sports & Entertainment Consortium and IBM Fan Experience consulting services, please visit –


Client & Consortium Quote Sheet

“We live in an always-on world. Today’s fans expect the unlimited ability to unlock a personalized digital in-game experience. With a full portfolio of end-to-end optical solutions; engineering design and delivery services; and sales and technical support, our fiber-to-the-everywhere technologies enable nearly every wired and wireless connectivity need – giving stadiums and teams the confidence that their network infrastructure will deliver the ultimate sports fan experience today and tomorrow.” Clark Kinlin, Executive Vice President, Corning Optical Communications.

“AT&T’s global network keeps our customers connected to what matters most.  We’re driven to provide a best-in-class network that’s easy and accessible, whether at the ballpark, the stadium or anywhere in between. Partnering with other industry leaders is just one more way we continue to deliver a superior game day experience for our customers.”  Sal Lipari, Senior Vice President, AT&T Systems Integrator Segment

“As the industry leader in network innovation, Juniper Networks is proud to be a founding member of the IBM Sports & Entertainment Consortium. Juniper’s expertise in building high-performance networks, coupled with IBM’s technology prowess and global reach, will yield an immersive fan experience that puts the action front and center, whether in-stadium, at home or on a mobile device.”  Mike Marcellin, Chief Marketing Officer, Juniper Networks.

“Level 3 knows that in order to deliver the next generation fan experience, it takes the collaboration of innovative, trusted and customer first-oriented organizations. Our global network is directly connected to stadiums across the world, and creates a foundation to enable a variety of technologies that can bring audiences the immersive interactions they now expect.” – Anthony Christie, Chief Marketing Officer, Level 3

“We are excited to be a major player in the IBM Sports and Entertainment Global Consortium,” said Anthony Turni, vice president of professional services for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.  “Verizon brings the in-stadium game experience to the next level by connecting hundreds of thousands of fans with exclusive video content and real-time game applications over our world-class networks. For enterprises and end-users alike, Verizon does this simply, securely and reliably.”

“Today’s announcement highlights the deep commitment between our two companies. The combination of IBM technology and global services breadth with the Smarter Risk solution will enable stadiums and venues to provide a safer event to their fans around the world.” –Rich Cocchiara, CIO/CTO, Smarter Risk

“We believe that broadband really does make the world go around.  It has become an essential part of our lives and a part of enjoying exciting live experiences like sporting events. Alcatel-Lucent has unique abilities in bringing together and building superior fiber and wireless networks and working with companies like IBM gives us a chance to showcase those capabilities in some of the biggest and best venues in the world.”– Federico Guillen, President Fixed Networks, Alcatel-Lucent

“More and more stadium and entertainment entities are seeing the dramatic advantages that Optical LANs have over traditional copper-based infrastructures,” said Thomas Ruvarac, Vice President of Business Development at Tellabs.  “The collaboration of our Optical LAN technology combined w/ IBM’s advanced analytics and cloud services proves that we have the right offering to meet the strict connectivity, security, reliability and scalability requirements of high-performance network in order to provide the best fan experience. We look forward to partnering with the IBM team as the company strengthens the long-term value proposition for its customers.”

Large sports and entertainment venues present unique, complex coverage and capacity challenges for wired and wireless infrastructure. For decades, we have worked with partners like IBM to simplify the deployment of large-scale networks for venues of all kinds to ultimately decrease costs while increasing the ’wow’ factor —from the skybox to the concession line.”−Stephen Kowal, senior vice president Global Partner Organization, CommScope

“Zhone joined the Consortium because of the outstanding opportunity to be associated with the very best companies to provide solutions to one of the fastest growing markets, the IBM Sports & Entertainment Consortium. We believe that the consortium can bring the best of breed products and solutions that will enhance the fan experience at stadiums around the world. We look forward to this great opportunity and partnership.” – Monique Apter, Vice President of Enterprise Sales, Zhone

“Anixter is excited to be part of the IBM consortium that will provide state-of-the-art solutions for an enhanced consumer experience within major sports and entertainment venues.  Anixter distributes a broad portfolio of network infrastructure, wireless, security and professional audio/video products.  As one of IBM’s key Global  Alliance partners, we additionally provide technical support and customized supply chain services that enable innovative solutions and implementation around the world.” – Bill Galvin, Executive Vice President, Network and Security Solutions

“Zayo delivers high performance Bandwidth Infrastructure for a range of Sports and Entertainment applications.   Combining IBM’s expertise in the digitally enabled fan experience with our network and data center capability will enable exciting new solutions for our customers.” Glenn Russo, President, Sales, Zayo Group

“Zebra’s leadership delivering high-performing, large-scale, high-density WiFi and contextual interaction solutions for the world’s largest-venue operators, malls, and retailers will provide the foundation for a great fan experience, while our network visibility tools will make it easy for IBM to plan, manage and optimize that experience,“ said Imran Akbar, VP and GM for Zebra Technologies Enterprise Network business.

“IBM has created the ultimate blueprint for perfecting the sports fan experience while delivering new growth opportunities for the sports entertainment industry,” said Bart Giordano, vice president, world wide strategic sales at Ruckus Wireless.  “By combining Ruckus’ Simply Better WirelessTM technology with technology from our consortium partners, together we can deliver fans the best products and services to enhance their digital experience.”

UCOPIA brings fan engagement to new heights  – easily onboarding hundreds of thousands of users at more than 500 venues, including The Tour de France, Edgbaston, the Jockey Club and Liverpool Football Club. “Fans share the moment like never before, while highly focused marketing campaigns and data analytics transform the Venue’s Wi-Fi into a revenue channel, making UCOPIA and the IBM Sports & Entertainment Consortium an excellent fit,” said Duncan Fisken, VP of Sales, UCOPIA.


IBM Sports, Entertainment & Fan Experience

Sports are big business, and success in the sports entertainment business can be best measured by the fan experience. For decades, IBM has been working with an ecosystem of partners to help professional sports organizations and stadium groups deliver a new and constantly evolving experience for fans, commentators and broadcasters.

·   IBM and tennis: For the last 25 years, IBM has been powering tennis’ biggest grand slam tournaments, including the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

·   IBM and golf: In 1996, IBM helped the Masters tournament launch its first website.  Since then, IBM has been continually developing new and innovative tools to help bring fans closer to the action in Augusta.

·   In 2008, IBM and the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced an agreement making IBM the official technology partner of the USGA. To commence the relationship, the organizations also announced the re-launch of, jointly designed and developed by IBM and the USGA. The new interactive Web site allowed fans to experience the U.S. Open Championship in ways not before possible.

·   In 2003, the PGA TOUR and IBM announced the launch of TOURCast, a first-of-its-kind online application that enabled golf fans to follow tournament action in real time or replay through rich graphic and statistical presentations

·   IBM and football:  In February, IBM and AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE) announced a strategic partnership to develop a game-changing fan experience at the state-of-the-art new Atlanta stadium set to open in 2017.

  • Kyle Field, home of the Texas A&M University Aggies, is one of the largest college football stadiums in the U.S. This newly renovated stadium includes a state-of-the art optical fiber infrastructure from IBM, Corning and Tellabs, delivering increased capacity and reliable wireless service to more than 100,000 fans.
  • Ten years ago, the league worked for months to create a single viable schedule by hand. With the help of IBM, the NFL can turn out dozens of schedules in just hours. With so many schedules to choose from, the NFL is in a much better position to deliver compelling match-ups on the best days for viewing.
  • In 2012, IBM announced a collaboration with the Miami Dolphins to integrate analytics technology into Sun Life Stadium, enhancing the overall experience for fans of sports, music and media with IBM solutions designed for Smarter Cities.

·   In 2007, IBM announced that it was working with the Miami Dolphins to transform Sun Life Stadium into an entertainment destination for fans.

·   The NFL standardized on IBM technology to run its media information systems, facilitate distribution of game day video and run day-to-day operations for dozens of applications including its unique salary cap management system and a statistical analytics system.

·   In 2006 IBM and the National Football League announced that they have teamed up to fast-forward the process of republishing footage and statistics for sports TV shows. Under the partnership, IBM developed technology designed to allow TV producers and hosts to scan through coaches’ game footage, broadcast programming, video, audio and text using a PC and on-demand technology. The digital material can then be repackaged and viewed simultaneously by a variety of producers and hosts on television shows such as ESPN’s

·   In 2005, IBM announced that it designed and implemented an IT standard based digital media solution for the National Football League and NFL Films that catalogs game footage generated by the NFL and allows the League to bring its vast body of game content to hosts and producers faster, easier and at lower production costs.

·   In 2003, The National Football League and IBM announced an agreement naming IBM as the NFL’s official information technology (IT) partner. The agreement is centered on helping the NFL create the technology platform required to support next-generation digital media and other critical new business ventures for the NFL.

·   IBM and hockey: By leveraging 113 Industries’“Pi”service embedded with Watson natural language cognitive capabilities, the Pittsburgh Penguins are armed with the insights to tap into the growing millennial demographic in Pittsburgh, communicate with fans in various ways and ensure they have an enjoyable game-day experience and return to future games.

·   The NHL’s Ottawa Senators announced plans to apply behavior-based, predictive analytics technologies from IBM to gain a deeper understanding of their fan base as individual consumers. This will allow the entire Senators Sports & Entertainment organization, including marketing and ticketing teams, to personalize

·   IBM and Soccer: During the recent world cup, IBM provided an opportunity for all 200,000,000 Brazilian soccer experts to actively participate in all the games. By leveraging a real-time analytics application for sentiment analysis to understand public opinion for everything from the food in the stadiums to who should be the Man of the Match. Sentiment is analyzed and understood in real time and the application keeps up with second to second changes in attitude with a very small hardware footprint.

·   IBM and Rugby: In 2013, IBM launched a new platform to take data and analytics to a new level for the benefit of watching fans and has teamed up with the body behind the England team and English rugby union, the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

·   IBM and the fan experience: In August, Edge Up Sports and IBM announced they were working to create a new app powered by Watson that provides a one-stop shop for fantasy football managers to glean insight from NFL players’ social media interactions, weather reports, injury histories, analyst write ups, news stories and more.

·   Ampsy is integrating three Watson APIs into its AmpElite analytics platform to bring sophisticated, real-time data insights to its entertainment marketing clients to monitor fans’ reactions during live events across multiple social channels and engage with fans in a more targeted, personalized way.

·   In 2014, Aspera, an IBM Company, Partners with EVS and Elemental to Bring Unprecedented Second Screen Video Streaming to Millions of Sports Fans Worldwide EVS integrated Aspera FASP high-speed transfer and Elemental video processing technologies to create a revolutionary cloud-based content delivery workflow that scales to stream the world’s most watched sporting events to a global fan base.

·   In 2008, IBM announced that it would provide consulting services to help Bronx-based restaurant company 4Food integrate corporate social responsibility values and practices into its business strategy. 4Food opened its first restaurant at the site of the historic Concourse Plaza Hotel near the new Yankee Stadium, offering fast, healthy, reasonably priced versions of foods people like, such as burgers, nuggets, fries, salads, and teas, with as much as 60 percent of the food items and ingredients sourced from local farms and producers.

·   In 2006, Fox Broadcasting Company announced that it is expanding its high definition (HD) digital archive system co-designed with IBM to include the 2006 and 2007 NFL, MLB, NASCAR and “American Idol” seasons on FOX. The solution enabled content from FOX’s most valuable properties to be available on demand for re-purposing and further distribution.

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