Brocade Communications Systems is known as an IT networking company, but that may all change. Thanks to a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, they may quickly become better known to football fans! Brocade, based in San Jose, has signed a deal to provide the wireless technology for the new 49ers stadium, which is to be built on Tasman Drive in the heart of Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara.
49ers CEO Jed York announced the deal to a pack of reporters at the team's ceremonial ground breaking April 19th. York did not provide specifics at the groundbreaking, but he said Brocade would make sure the "backbone is in place" for in-stadium technology. York said he wants to build a "complete mobile application" at the stadium that would let gridiron football fans use their smartphones and tablets "the same way that you would in a normal setting, in a coffee shop."
This is not the first time Brocade CEO Mike Klayko and 49ers President and CEO Jed York have been in the lime light together. The two helped raise $11.3 million and 1.6 million pounds of food last year as they co-chaired the Second Harvest Food Bank last fall. York did say they had spoken with a number of other companies about potentially providing the technology, but in the end York said, “We've talked to a lot of folks, but the deal's with Brocade." This is a huge loss for networking vendor competitor Cisco Systems, whose main campus is right down the street from the new stadium site. Cisco has been trying to find a place at the forefront of Bay Area sports (you may remember Cisco’s failed efforts to help build a new stadium for the Oakland A’s in the East Bay city of Fremont) and has a special business group dedicated to building out in-stadium networks.
There’s been no word yet whether or not Brocade will be the title sponsor of the stadium, but as a "founding partner," the team will have in-stadium sponsorship. This will include Brocade-branded areas of the 68,500-seat building.
The 49ers have hired Kunal Malik to be the Chief Technology Officer, a newly created position, as of May 1st. Kunal is best known for starting Facebook’s IT department, and will be managing the installation of the Brocade equipment and it’s usage by fans.
The stadium is expected to cost $1.2 billion and open in time for the 2014 National Football League season. No further details are known at this time, according to 49er spokesman, Steve Weakland, who said the deal had just been finalized and that he didn’t yet have any details to release. As well as Brocade spokeswoman, Katie Bromley, who also said she did not yet have the details of the deal.
For Brocade, this is a huge opportunity as they bridge the tech / sports fanatic gap and pioneer the way for tech savvy stadiums. Stadiums that will make it possible to watch the 49ers game on your iPad while you’re at the stadium, just in case the live version just isn’t cutting it!
XSi is a provider of Brocade equipment and Brocade maintenance services. If you would like to find out more about how Brocade solutions can improve your network visit our Brocade Products and Brocade Maintenance pages.