When you think about Real Madrid, you instantly think about legends, greatness, and iconic moments. When you think about their home, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, you immediately think about the 80,000+ fans, electrifying atmosphere, and sheer presence of the unique structure.

In the early 2000’s, Real Madrid, and it’s CIO Enrique Uriel, had a vision of creating the “Ultimate Bernabéu,” which would deliver a fan experience unlike any other at the time, essentially transforming the club’s home stadium into one of the safest, most connected venues in all of sports. The plan was audacious because video distribution and Wi-Fi technology were still in the early adoption phase, but Real Madrid turned to Cisco and over the course of a few years, the venue had unequivocally transformed into one of the most connected in the sports industry.

Fast-forward to present day and that boundary-pushing mentality remains, as the club sits on the verge of another major stadium renovation that will feature key Cisco technology, including a Software Defined-Access (SDA) network, Wi-Fi 6 and IP Fabric for Media.

What does that mean for the club, its fans, and key stakeholders? Let’s take a streamlined look:

Seamless Network

The core of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium network refresh starts with Cisco’s single, converged Software Defined Access (SDA) network, which is the first of its kind to appear at a sports venue in Europe. This SDA network carries all services needed to drive the Bernabéu’s vast operation, from software policies that determine the right application to the right user or device securely, to managing the Building Management System (BMS) and retractable pitch that turns the stadium into a multi-purpose venue. This network has been designed with capacity and flexibility in mind for future demands and is responsible for powering the venue’s elevated fan experience through Vision Edge digital signage, real-time app interaction, 4K video and much, much more.

Wi-Fi for the Future

Iconic stadiums, arenas and venues equipped with Cisco’s Wi-Fi 6 technology have seen record-breaking levels of data traffic and fan engagement. Take SoFi Stadium for example, the site of Super Bowl LVI, or BottleRock Music Festival, held in California each year.

The Bernabéu’s network will now use 1,500 Cisco Wi-Fi 6 access points, all focused on delivering blistering speeds to fans and stakeholders regardless of seat position, allowing for true, uninterrupted connectivity during every live event.

Cloud-Based Broadcast & Digital Signage

Thanks to Cisco’s cloud-based IP Fabric for Media solution, Real Madrid will benefit from automation, analytics, and security (with the help of proven partners) which are part of this powerful broadcast solution. The dynamic all-IP production environment at the new Bernabéu will allow Real Madrid to efficiently produce and distribute content to more than 2,500 screens and 80,000+ fans’ mobile devices in the venue, while also delivering the action to fans via broadcasts around the world.

In Conclusion

For decades, the legendary club has shown a steadfast commitment to not only fielding one of the best teams in the world on the pitch, but also to leveraging the very best and most advanced technology to bring the beautiful game to its millions of fans off the pitch.

“More and more, it’s not just excellence in IT, it’s about thinking outside the box, reinventing yourself and your products to maintain a leadership position in the market,” remarked Real Madrid executives, when asked about the future of the club and their iconic venue.

That pursuit of excellence is the reason one of the most storied and celebrated clubs in the world is widely recognized as a global leader of sports innovation. And we are proud to be their partner.


Rizwan Hanid

Head of Sports, Media & Entertainment