Forest City Ratner: Network Design and Development in Barclays Center

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

As developer of the Barclays Center, the 675,000-squarefoot, 18,000-seat sports and entertainment venue that is home to the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, Forest City Ratner Companies envisioned a highly connected, state-ofthe-art, $485 million sports arena. To execute its ambitions concept, Forest City Ratner needed a chief technology architect that could create and implement a unified technology vision. Forest City Ratner turned to Burwood Group for its expertise in technology strategy and project leadership, in an early instance of engaging a technology firm to serve as owner’s representative on a major construction project. 

The Challenge: Build a Cutting-Edge Tech Platform With Strategic Budget Management

Forest City Ratner envisioned an all-inclusive technology platform to drive visitor engagement and high-tech sales and sponsorship revenue opportunities throughout the facility. Burwood Group was charged with providing oversight of technical aspects ranging from core infrastructure, system design, and configuration, to robust wireless networking, security, and multimedia integration. The twist: To deliver the technology platform within the constraints of the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for the entire arena development project.

“As one of the New York metropolitan area’s newest iconic structures, our vision for the Barclays Center was to create the ultimate in connectivity for visitor engagement. Burwood Group not only provided a robust and cost effective technology strategy, but also managed competing interests within GMP budget constraints. Our Burwood Group partners delivered at every level to help us set the standard for the arena experience.”
— Charles Foley, VP Technology Forest City Ratner, Owner and Developer of the Barclays Center

The Solution: Leveraging the IP Network to Achieve Multiple Goals 

A unique requirement was for Barclays Center visitors to be able to order food, participate in promotions and engage with the center from their arena seats. To engage with visitors anywhere in the building, anytime, the Barclays Center marketing team needed the ability to “push” dynamic content to highly flexible locations such as IP-connected audio systems in high-touch areas such as VIP lounges and club rooms, signage, television monitors, and smartphones, and to manage lighting and other environmental elements. 

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

Rather than creating multiple networks for wi-fi, dynamic digital signage, audiovisual, vendor, and guest uses, Burwood Group recommended development of a single high-capacity, high-speed network to support all applications. Burwood Group applied sophisticated engineering capabilities to enable the network to accommodate television streaming, marketing content, and myriad other uses, along with the requirements of concessions and ticketing vendors, without transmissions delays. 

In addition to the engineering challenges, the project required significant project management capabilities. In addition to representing Forest City Ratner on the construction team, Burwood Group also collaborated with the marketing team to balance functional requirements against opportunities to secure discounted equipment in exchange for promotional opportunities in a dynamic implementation environment. 

The Outcome: Turnkey Technology for a State-of-the-Art Visitor Experience 

With 300 strategically located wireless access points and a distributed antenna system supporting four major telecommunications carriers, the dead zone-free Barclays Center network was delivered within budget and to scope. By negotiating with vendors and contractors on behalf of Forest City Ratner and maintaining a laser focus on costs and functionality, Burwood Group delivered a ready-to-go technology infrastructure that gives Barclays Center staff the technological tools to create a truly memorable guest experience. 

Burwood Group Services: 

  • Project Leadership

  • Technology Strategy

  • Wireless Networking

  • Telecommunications Infrastructure