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Volume 6 No. 214


Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen "wants to set a new standard with its so-called 'Stadium of the Future,'" according to the SID. Bayer Leverkusen Managing Dir Wolfgang Holzhäuser presented the club's "new" BayArena in style on a little tablet PC and therefore gave the starting signal for a digital race in the Bundesliga. He said, "We want to offer a better service for our fans, which are nowadays way more digital. The fans are supposed to use their smartphones or tablets more effectively and therefore enhance their stadium experience." In July, the BayArena "will become the first German stadium that uses the StadiumVision system." A total of 350 Wi-Fi access points, provided by club partner Deutsche Telekom, "will give the arena an unusual high network coverage." The service will allow up to 20,000 fans to simultaneously surf the Internet, send emails or share photos and videos. Due to the new technology, Leverkusen's remodeled BayArena will be on the same level as Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu, London's Wembley Stadium or Amsterdam's ArenA (SID, 4/17).

GOING WIRELESS: Bayer Leverkeusen announced that it will work with Deutsche Telekom and Cisco to install Cisco Connected Sports solutions -- StadiumVision, Connected Stadium Wi-Fi and StadiumVision Mobile, to make the BayArena the most technologically advanced football stadium in Germany. StadiumVision will centrally manage high definition video and digital content delivery to approximately 500 high-definition video displays. Connected Stadium Wi-Fi will give thousands of fans reliable and fast access to the Internet, and StadiumVision Mobile will deliver live video to those connected fans’ mobile devices, through the planned Bayer 04 app (Cisco).

London's Lord’s Cricket Ground "will be able to use floodlights for another five years" through '19 after "getting planning permission from the local council," according to Christopher Elser of BLOOMBERG. Westminster City Council "approved the renewal for the lights," which had permission through the end of the year. Starting next year, the £2.7M ($4.1M) retractable lights "can be used two extra times during day matches, illuminating 14 day and 10 night matches." Marlyebone Cricket Club Head of Cricket & Estates John Stephenson said, "It is crucial that the club, going forward, has the ability to use the floodlights if required during all its major match days because no one wants to see play lost to bad light" (BLOOMBERG, 4/17). Every major match day at the ground, including tests, one-day internaionals and domestic List A final, can be floodlit in the event of bad light (English Cricket Board).

Several Russian cities hosting the 2018 World Cup "will have trouble finding the money" to build football stadiums and "improve transit links and other infrastructure," according to Lynn Berry of the AP. A report by U.S. ratings agency Standard & Poor has warned that seven of the 11 Russian host cities "will have to borrow money or receive much more support from the federal government than is now planned." S&P said unless the Russian government steps up its funding ''the current poor state of municipal infrastructure in the host cities means the standards of infrastructure at tournament venues are likely to be lower than in the past.'' The Russian government estimates the total World Cup budget at $22B, which "already is much higher than Brazil's budget" of $13.6B for the 2014 World Cup. The Russian government has also said that "it would restrict its World Cup support to sports-related construction." Russia's local governments, however, "have put the total cost" for the 2018 World Cup at up to $43B, which "includes new metro lines, roads, airports and utility upgrades." S&P said that four Russian cities "should have no trouble covering their 2018 World Cup expenditures: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi." Those facing the biggest difficulties "are Kaliningrad, Samara and Saransk." The report said Russia's federal and local governments may have underestimated their World Cup costs because ''budgets for large capital projects in Russia have often exceeded initial estimates.'' A reason is "Russia's rampant corruption, which is particularly high in road construction and other building projects" (AP, 4/17).