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The UEFA European Championship is one of the world’s largest sporting events. Since UEFA Euro 2020TM marked the first time that the tournament has been staged across the continent, ensuring that each stadium stayed connected was critical to the success of the tournament. After selecting us to provide the networking infrastructure at each of the stadiums we worked together with the UEFA team to plan, deploy, manage and eventually decommission the local networks at each of the stadiums. The strong continent-wide coordination allowed us to deliver and ensure that UEFA personnel and key stakeholders including broadcasters, journalists and VIPs were able to stay connected during each match of this landmark tournament.

‘The capabilities that NTT brought to the table allowed us to focus on the tournament, secure in the knowledge that, come match day, everything would be in place.’
Daniel Marion , Chief of Information and Communication Technology, UEFA

Delivering on a continent-wide mandate

Creating 12 different networks in 11 countries and ensuring that there was zero downtime during the games required a high level of coordination between the various parts of NTT, and local partners.

Deploying networks across multiple sites required more than two years of planning, including extensive workshops with all stakeholders, building a comprehensive picture of what was required at each stadium.

We completed a high-level design of the network, which focused on standardizing as many elements of the network as possible. This was essential to ensure that the support team was able to rapidly resolve any issues.

Once the high-level design was complete, plans were created to cater to the unique environments at each location.

With initial deployment in full swing, the entire project was put on hold because of COVID-19, which saw the tournament moved out by a year.

When preparations resumed at the beginning of 2021, the plans that had been put on hold were executed to ensure that each venue and the IBC were ready for kick-off in June.

This included installing more than 245km of copper and 87km of fiber optic cables as well as almost 1,600 access points and 890 switches.

In some locations, there was existing network infrastructure that could be leveraged, but in others, we needed to build an entirely new stadium network.

While some of the infrastructures could be deployed well ahead of time, other elements were dependent on third parties, such as cabling for the on-field photographers where the LED advertising boards needed to be in place before our teams could run the network cables to the designated positions.

With six weeks to go, one of the venues was switched from Bilbao to Seville, requiring infrastructure to be shifted to the new venue. Leveraging the standardized deployment strategy, the team was able to ensure that the venue was ready when the opening game was played.

‘We needed to ensure that there was zero interruption to the network during the matches,’ says Marion. ‘NTT’s combination of remote monitoring and on-the-ground technical support meant that they were able to identify and address any issues before they impacted on operations.’

Finally, once the games scheduled for each stadium were completed, the entire network had to be dismantled.