Dolphin Stadium

Dolphin Stadium's tech team tackles Super Bowl 2007 network challenges

On Super Bowl Sunday, the day of one of the most heavily watched TV events, there’s absolutely no tolerance for “technical difficulties” messages flashing on TV screens around the world. So when Miami Dolphin Stadium operators learned their venue would host the 2007 game, they decided the time had come to update the stadium’s network infrastructure.


Home of the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins, the Stadium opened in 1987 and has hosted a number of high-profile events including the 1997 and 2003 World Series and the 1989, 1995 and 1999 Super Bowls.


When Super Bowl 1999 was held at Dolphin Stadium, the NFL brought its own telecommunications equipment. Steady and uninterrupted communications access is critical for the several hundred reporters, producers and camera crews working to meet multiple daily deadlines and deploying the latest technology to transmit their stories to media offices around the world, and the then 12-year-old stadium had not been updated with the modern equipment required to meet their needs.


Stadium Features

The 75,000-seat stadium features 195 luxury suites and more than 10,200 club seats. Behind the scenes, the Stadium’s telecommunications capabilities have grown from two to 50 core switches, and a new, redundant fiber optic cable backbone has been installed to increase reliability, enable technicians to wire anything in the stadium at a lower cost, and provide network access anywhere in the stadium. This installation included more than two miles of fiber optic cable that augmented the existing three miles. Dolphin Stadium will also soon feature the world’s largest high definition light-emitting diode (LED) video display. The 50-foot x 137-foot screen will use 4.6 million LEDs.


Hoffman Cabinets Play a Significant Role

Prior to the redundant fiber optic system installation, Dolphin Stadium IT professionals had specified a Hoffman DataCom cabinet for their security building that featured security benefits and offered ease of access and spaciousness not found in other Dolphin Stadium cabinets. So when it was time to choose an enclosure manufacturer with the best combination of features to house vital telecom and networking equipment, selecting Hoffman was an easy decision. 


Dolphin Stadium staff ordered 16 Hoffman AccessPlus™ Double-hinged Wall-mount Cabinets with 4-inch fans. AccessPlus Cabinets are perfect for applications requiring security and accessibility and when floor space is at a premium. Equipped with a 19-inch shelf and keylocking front window door for easy component viewing, the double-hinged design provides easy equipment access and can be wall or pole mounted. In addition, the cabinet is designed to hold multiple pieces of voice/data equipment and can be left- or right-hinge mounted.


 “We’re retrofitting a stadium that’s almost 20 years old,” said Joe Curbelo, Network Manager, Dolphin Stadium. “The Hoffman cabinets will improve the efficiency and organization of our updated infrastructure, and they’ll help organize our cabling.”


The Hoffman cabinets will also enhance security and provide better aesthetics than the open racks they are replacing. The large size and integrated optional fans are vital improvements as well, because while the physical size of networking and telecom hardware continues to decrease, the heat generated by these components continues to increase as their performance improves. The fans help dissipate the heat that can affect operating performance, resulting in a potentially longer equipment life span.  


“I’d certainly recommend Hoffman cabinets. The fans and keylocks are great, particularly with enclosed cabinets,” said Curbelo. “Our cabinets are located in electrical rooms which tend to be quite warm. And even though the transformers in the rooms generate a lot of heat, there’s no danger to the IT equipment,” he added.


Unified Team Rallies for the Big Game

Other companies that played significant roles in the stadium project include Communications Supply Corporation (CSC), A2000 and Computer Input, Inc. CSC, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was the physical layer equipment distributor that worked closely with the stadium staff to select the infrastructure products. A2000 in Miami helped design the best network possible for the stadium, and Computer Input, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale installed all the components.


“As Super Bowl XLI fast approaches, I feel like our Dolphin Stadium team has already scored a touchdown and that the stadium’s new capabilities will impress the NFL, going above and beyond in serving the media crowds attending the game,” said Curbelo. “The infrastructure updates were much needed and will ensure that we avoid any kind of technical fumbles on game day.”