Game on: How IT monitoring is set to power the summer of sport

Person watching sports stream on tablet
Image credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

With the Euros, Olympics and Paralympics almost upon us, fans all over the world are looking forward to yet another summer full of different sporting events. Front of mind will be watching favourite teams and individual athletes compete to win. However, in order for the games and tournaments to be a true success, organizers and stadium operators not only need athletes to perform well. They also need to have a functioning IT network.

Sporting venues often have extremely complex infrastructures. They can incorporate multiple data centers, spread out across different locations. For stadium operators, gaining visibility of these locations has never been more important. They need to be able to spot and act against any abnormalities as soon as possible, otherwise they risk damaging the fan experience and potentially even needing to cancel games.

Martin Hodgson

Director for Northern Europe at Paessler AG.

Transforming the fan experience with modern technologies

Technology has already totally transformed the way that fans consume sports. Football and rugby stadiums used to be a set of stands and a muddy pitch. Spectators used to queue for hours just to catch a 2-second glimpse of a horse race through binoculars. However, nowadays, there are big screens at every corner and cameras are being used to capture every single moment of the action, including replays and video assistant referee (VAR) decisions. To add to this, fans use their phones to show their tickets, pay for snacks, drinks and merchandise and post about their experiences online.

These modern technologies have undoubtedly become the key to a positive fan experience. However, each of them relies upon an effective IT network to operate.

Many of the world’s sporting venues have complex IT environments. Multiple data centers and locations as well as various tools and technologies can make it really difficult to keep track of everything that is happening on the network. If individual systems or applications fail, and this goes unnoticed, then operations can become severely disrupted. In the very worst instances, games will need to be cancelled, leaving fans unsatisfied and organizers out of pocket. Therefore, it is essential to catch any potential issues before they become serious problems. This is where IT monitoring can make the difference between winning and losing.

IT monitoring technologies are emerging as player of the match

In today’s sporting world, there is a need to keep a constant eye on a stadium’s IT network. Having an effective monitoring system in place – with centralized dashboards and alerting capabilities – can help create a more holistic picture. By bringing together data from all locations under one umbrella it helps to increase visibility across an entire event. This can include a plethora of information – from lighting and audio to how many people are in a certain area of a stadium at any one time.

There are a few ways in which this level of monitoring can vastly improve the fan experience. Firstly, it ensures reliable access to Wi-Fi and mobile networks during sporting events. As well as keeping fans connected, this helps to keep them up to date, through checking that digital signage and information displays are working properly and monitoring the performance of any applications that stadiums might use for schedules, scoring and other important updates.

In terms of safety, IT monitoring technologies can use sensors and cameras to check crowd density and movement, making real time adjustments to crowd management strategies. They can also support the operation of emergency alert systems, ensuring timely communication in the case of evacuations or medical incidents.

IT monitoring systems help with proactive maintenance and troubleshooting, predicting potential failures in equipment such as escalators, elevators and other critical infrastructure. Stadium operators can use them to monitor the health of servers, networks and other hardware. This helps to reduce downtime and operational costs, whilst also ensuring that critical systems like ticketing are always operational.

Changing the future of sport

When used effectively, IT monitoring systems can become truly game changing in the world of sport. The data that they gather has the potential to provide unique insight into fan behavior and preferences. This can be analyzed by stadium operators, and then used to inform future decision-making. The insights gained can be used in many ways, from creating more targeted marketing strategies and boosting fan engagement on social channels, to informing the way future stadiums are built.

With sporting events set to take center stage in the coming months, it’s essential that the venues and stadiums that host them are ready. By leveraging the power of IT monitoring, stadiums across the globe can ensure a secure, efficient and enjoyable environment for sports fans this summer.

We've featured the best IT Management tool.

This article was produced as part of TechRadarPro's Expert Insights channel where we feature the best and brightest minds in the technology industry today. The views expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily those of TechRadarPro or Future plc. If you are interested in contributing find out more here:

Martin Hodgson

Martin Hodgson is the Director Northern Europe at Paessler AG.