Inside the Secret Data Center at the Heart of the San Francisco 49ers Levis Stadium

2

The Executive Huddle

One cool place we got to see was the Executive Huddle. Here, the 49ers business analysts can get a real-time view of game-day activity.

Patrick In The 49ers Executive Huddle
Patrick In The 49ers Executive Huddle

Inside the Executive huddle, there are sets of screens with dashboards setup for different metrics. As an example, one set of screens is dedicated to parking metrics.

49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 1
49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 1

Here the 49ers team can see which lots are filling up, revenue, and more from the local parking lots.

49ers Levis Stadium Parking Lot And Gate 1
49ers Levis Stadium Parking Lot And Gate 1

After that, many fans will enter the stadium through the security gates where tickets will also be checked. Here, we can see another dashboard for attendance metrics, including where the fans are entering the stadium. The 49ers are implementing a new WaitTime application (on Intel Xeon they told us) that tracks attendee flow through lines so fans can be directed to other gates. It also lets the 49ers know the rates at which stadium entries are happening so concessions like garlic fries can be staged in a timely manner.

49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 3
49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 3

Once fans are in the stadium, concessions are a big part of how the 49ers generate revenue.

49ers Levis Stadium Concessions Bar 2
49ers Levis Stadium Concessions Bar 2

That is what is tracked on the MIM dashboard. This shows which concession stands and which items are selling. The current game data can be compared to another game day. Items that are selling fast can be re-stocked and if concession stands become too crowded, fans can be re-directed to less busy options.

49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 4
49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 4

Of course, folks also want to wear apparel. Levi’s Stadium has team stores and various merch outlets around the stadium.

49ers Levis Stadium Intel Gate And Plaza 2
49ers Levis Stadium Intel Gate And Plaza 2

Retail metrics can be broken down by hot selling items and categories as well as the best performing locations, similar to the concessions.

49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 5
49ers Levis Stadium Executive Huddle 5

This is a great example of one of the applications being hosted in the data center. It is less about the on-field game-day activities, and more about the fan experience and running a business.

Next, let us check out how some other professionals use the 49ers infrastructure in the press box.

The Press Box

Walking out of the Executive Huddle, we followed a cable raceway down the hall. There were a lot of cables running along this basket.

49ers Levis Stadium IP Cameras 3
49ers Levis Stadium IP Cameras 3

This is when we arrived at the press box. Something that I had no idea of, even having been to the stadium dozens of times, is that the press box is actually huge. This is not the box used by the on-the-field broadcasters and so I thought maybe it would be 30 to maybe 49 seats. Instead, it was three Aquafina-lined levels and took up a big portion of the stadium’s top level.

49ers Levis Stadium Press Area 2
49ers Levis Stadium Press Area 2

Looking at the field level to see the size of this press box, it is the upper level opposite the scoreboard and it extends all the way to the “XXIII” in the photo below.

Patrick On The Field At Levis Stadium With The Press Box Above
Patrick On The Field At Levis Stadium With The Press Box Above

The folks in the press box are not just fans. They are folks who are there to professionally share their accounts and descriptions of the game. As such, they bring their own IT, but the stadium also has to have phones, monitors and such setup for those monitoring the game from above.

49ers Levis Stadium Press Area 9
49ers Levis Stadium Press Area 9

As a result, there is networking infrastructure in the press box that connects back to the onsite data center.

49ers Levis Stadium Press Area 6
49ers Levis Stadium Press Area 6

The key lesson here is that the 49ers stadium is not just a place for players, coaches, and fans. Many folks are there working and need the infrastructure to support them.

Final Words

Hopefully, our readers enjoyed this look at the IT behind Levi’s Stadium and the 49ers. While to some it may not be as exciting as the on-field play, there is a ton that is going on inside the columns of concrete and steel to make the experience an awesome one.

49ers Levis Stadium Field 1
49ers Levis Stadium Field 1

What struck me was that in only a few days, tens of thousands of people would occupy this data center and expect connectivity to work, screens to play fun graphics, and others would arrive to earn a living. On the day we were there, it was quiet, with the grounds crew meticulously manicuring the field, painting the end zone and field for the playoffs.

49ers Levis Stadium End Zone Being Painted 1
49ers Levis Stadium End Zone Being Painted 1

Again, thanks to both Intel and the 49ers for making this happen. Growing up a 49ers fan, this is something that I have wanted to do for years. It was a cool look at the behind-the-scenes operations that rarely get shown off.

49ers Levis Stadium Intel Gate And Plaza 8
49ers Levis Stadium Intel Gate And Plaza 8

This weekend, when you are watching the NFC championship game with your friends, you can now tell them that there is a secret data center in Levi’s Stadium. Bring up this article and video and show them some of the behind-the-scenes that is there to help bring them football.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome inside look, especially in the video. But isn’t Intel a little embarassed that one could do all that with one Threadripper system? 🙂

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.