The Wanda Metropolitano has quickly become an icon of European football since opening its doors in 2017. As well as hosting some unforgettable Atletico Madrid matches, the stadium has earned acclaim for pushing the boundaries when it comes to technology too.
Recognised as the first European stadium to provide 100% LED lighting, a new partnership with Telefónica has laid the foundations for the latest technologies to be incorporated into the Wanda Metropolitano, now and in the future. The beneficiaries of this will be the fans, as the club continues its work to create an unforgettable matchday environment.
At the heart of any successful technology installation is a network that allows information to be shared and fans to stay connected. The example inside the Wanda Metropolitano is second to none.
“We’re equipped with very strong Wi-Fi capabilities with one Wi-Fi Access point for every 40 fans more or less” said René Abril, Technology and Digital Development Director at Atletico Madrid.
“On top of that we have over 120 cell antennas, the same number that a city of around 100,000 people would have. We have 3G, 4G and soon 5G network connections guaranteed across the stadium.”
Bringing such high levels of coverage allows all the stadium’s 68,000 spectators to remain connected throughout the match day. This was a difficult yet fundamental requirement for the club, as Abril explains: “In 2017 we set ourselves the challenge of providing our fans in the stadium with the same level of connectivity that they have in their everyday lives.”
To make this happen, the club has installed 6,700 network connections, 165 switches and 75 network nodes, while 900 TVs are operated remotely around the stadium to bring real-time information to the fans. In addition, the club controls a 530m², 360º ribbon board display around the edge of the pitch. This feature is the only one of its kind to be used across LaLiga Santander grounds.
This level of investment has led the club to describe the Wanda Metropolitano as the first smart stadium in Europe, but the greatest source of pride appears to come from the connection it has created with fans.
“The instant switching on and off of the LED lights allows us to pair the lighting with other means of engaging with fans like music,” notes club Facilities Manager Manuel Cifuentes.
“Before matches we create an atmosphere using both lights and music which we feel really sets the tone and sums up what it means to be an Atleti fan.”
Recent club figures suggest the approach is paying off, with membership figures reaching 123,000 this season including 57,718 season ticket holders. This is a historic high for the club and provides further incentive to repay such loyalty with new and better experiences.
Regardless what those will be, Atletico Madrid is ready. “The stadium needed to have a basic technological structure that would allow it to adapt to all future advances in technology, to adapt to all the new technologies that will arise in the upcoming decades”, said Abril.
“Even those which we don’t know anything about yet.”