In this article

  • Iconic golf competition set to provide for the first time a truly connected course, with ubiquitous wireless connectivity for a capacity of over 51,000 users per day
  • Feature-rich wireless infrastructure will not only improve fan experience, but also support the tournament’s operational needs including its live scoring system and player location tracking
  • Dedicated tournament app enables partners and sponsors to serve content, offers and advertisements to fans based on their movement around the course
Managing Director for UK&I Marc Waters shares his thoughts on HPE's latest partnership aimed at improving the event experience for sports fans

The rules of fan engagement have changed. Sports fans are no longer just spectators but active participants, who expect seamless connectivity and services that will bring them even closer to the action. Meeting fan expectations isn’t the only benefit of increased connectivity – it also enables the sports industry to take advantage of a variety of new commercial opportunities. Failing to adapt is not just frustrating for fans, it’s also hurting the bottom line, leaving customer engagement, commerce, and even team wins on the table.

This is why Ryder Cup Europe has partnered with HPE, on the strength and depth of its wired and wireless Mobile First Architecture from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, to provide centrally managed, modular and secure course-wide wireless connectivity at the 2018 Ryder Cup Europe Event. As Official Network Infrastructure Services Supplier, HPE is providing purpose-built infrastructure that will enable Ryder Cup Europe to support near omnipresent Wi-Fi access and a wide range of value-added services across concessions, services, fan engagement and security that are set to make this year’s tournament the best ever.

This is a joint effort from HPE and its mobility solution experts, Aruba and our range of partners, as well as Ultima, our consulting, design and implementation partner. The network architecture will be based on a Core, Access and Edge Topology for Ryder Cup Europe to support over 51,000 spectators every day. The solution will comprise more than 70 Aruba Wi-Fi access points, 130 Aruba Distribution & Edge Switches, locally deployed dual-resilient data centres with 4 HPE DC core switches and an HPE VMware virtual compute platform. The digital engagement experience will be enabled by the deployment of Aruba Bluetooth Beacons, both standalone and embedded in the deployed wireless access points. The network will deliver a significant amount of useful data points back to the Ryder Cup Europe data analytics and reporting platform, via the Aruba Analytics and Location Engine (ALE). These can relate to individual devices and their locations.

Unlocking the Value of Data

The true value of the platform that is being delivered, is that the framework and infrastructure will allow for innovative services that take advantage of the data and analytical outputs. With the technology implemented by HPE and Aruba, Ryder Cup Europe will be well positioned to collect a rich tapestry of data points in real time, and with over 7 times more data being collected than just scoring alone, this provides a basis for developing compelling insight and cognitive learning for players, coaches and fans into the future. Further services include intelligent, location-based services from merchandising offers, to concession placement, localized advertising, live-streaming and interactive maps.

Revolutionising the Game Day Experience

Today, fans expect constant connectivity and new ways to engage with the sports they love. Without reliable Wi-Fi many fans would be cut off from the outside world for several hours, and this is no longer acceptable at major sporting events or anywhere else for that matter. Recognizing this, the Ryder Cup Europe is driving digital transformation at its tournaments, and implementing cutting edge technology that will transform the fan experience across multiple platforms. With a new level of seamless connectivity, the tournament will open up new ways for fans to engage with the game in play, on the course and with its hospitality offering.

Fans will be able to benefit from, among others:

  • Interactive Maps – These will help fans find their way around the event with maps based on geo-location, directing users to where they want to be via the fastest route.
  • Live Streaming – Providing spectators and fans with access to live streams, replays and highlights whilst at the event via the official app and big screens located around the site.
  • Targeted Merchandising – Providing location-based offers, directing spectators to relevant content based on profile or event analytics. 

Seeking the true convergence of sport and data, the Ryder Cup Europe will be able to create compelling content driven through their digital channels to reach out, attract and retain a younger and new audience. Offering existing fans greater involvement will lead to a more loyal and engaged fan base, as well as new revenue streams and an increased digital profile of Ryder Cup Europe for its sponsors.

More than Just Selfies and Self-Service

Increased connectivity is about more than just selfies and self-service. The strong, secure, and feature-rich wireless infrastructure is designed to not only support fans, but also the tournament’s operational needs, providing valuable opportunities for the venue itself.

Through beacon technology and location-based services, organizers will have access to a wealth of location-based data points such as dwell times and fan habits on site. This information will enable the venue to transform how it manages everything from ticket sales to merchandising and even staffing. Partners and sponsors will be able to serve content, offers and advertisements to fans based on their movement around the course. Real-time updates on concession sales can inform special offers to help move unused inventory, while location data can also help to identify peak times and locations, so that the organizers can adjust staffing accordingly and create more efficient operations.

Tracking Player Performance

Location data will provide a view of player location not just for security and monitoring purposes, but also to improve the fan experience by showing them where players are at any given time. Spectators will be able to know where a player is on the course; they will be able to follow the player and even plan their own movements on the course.

Data insights can also be used to influence what happens in the game, with data points available on many aspects of a player’s game translating into winning strategies for the teams. This includes information that the captains can put to use immediately, such as weather conditions and course dynamics.

Driving Digital Transformation

As the worlds of sport, technology and data analytics merge further, many major sporting events and venues are looking to transform their IT operations. This is something we have a track record on, having worked with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to implement some of the most sophisticated IT architecture available in the industry. This partnership with Ryder Cup Europe is yet another example of HPE helping to create the most technologically advanced sporting events in the world. As a result, Ryder Cup Europe now has the opportunity to completely transform the way people think about, watch and engage with golf.