The GAA has signed a three year partnership with Ericsson as its new official technology partner.
The deal will see Ericsson become the lead advisor to the GAA for their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) challenges including the Croke Park stadium experience for fans.
They will work together to find the best ways to optimize mobile networks and transform connectivity, bringing fans closer to the action, and creating new, immersive ways to showcase games.
This will initially focus on Croke Park where the Association has a key focus on ensuring that the stadium remains one of the world’s leading facilities with future proof, scalable and functional technology.
Ericsson will implement a framework for innovation tailored to suit the GAA’s objectives, aligned with the stadium’s sustainability and focused on maximizing outcomes for the GAA, Croke Park and the community.
In common with other sports fans, GAA spectators’ expectations of a digital experience are changing. Spectators in stadiums and arenas want to share and enhance their experiences and expect content to be delivered with immediacy and in high quality. However, providing coverage and services to massive crowds presents many challenges and places significant pressure on wired and wireless networks.
The GAA already works closely with Intel on a number of projects aligned to stadium and experience facilities. The stakes were raised for Croke Park last year when Vodafone’s partnership with the IRFU included an upgrading of mobile and wireless technology at the Aviva Stadium.
“Connectivity and mobility enable new experiences in an emerging internet of sport,” said GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail.
“With Ericsson’s expertise, Croke Park will become a stadium of the future and a leader of sports technology.”
“Croke Park holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Irish people everywhere and in the year when we celebrate 60 years of Ericsson’s presence in Ireland we are delighted to partner with the GAA and show our commitment to Irish society,” said John Griffin, Head of Ericsson Ireland.
“With more than 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic passing through network equipment supplied by Ericsson, we are perfectly positioned to support the GAA in meeting growing demands, improving stadium connectivity, and ensuring the best possible digital experience for fans.”
“As the GAA’s Official Technology Partner, Ericsson will also support the GAA in ICT innovation and how it would apply to the stadium and digital experience, driving technology evolution, fan engagement and loyalty.”
“Ericsson will bring the GAA a wealth of innovative and best practices on stadium experience from all over the world. Most recently we deployed stadium experiences for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and for the European Football championships in France.”
“This combination of global knowledge, an innovative team of 1,360 people in Ireland, with bases in both Athlone and Dublin, and our technology leadership will ensure that Croke Park will continue to be one of the world’s leading stadiums and set the bar for future generations to come.”
Another feature of the partnership will see Ericsson take over sponsorship of Croke Park’s famous Skyline tour, which offers unrivalled views of Dublin from high above the pitch from the stands of the stadium. This was on the cards after Etihad Airways were replaced by Bord Gáis Energy as official partners of the All Ireland Hurling Championships earlier this year.
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