Seven features of FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium
Seven features of the new MLS stadium in Cincinnati. TQL Stadium is the new home of FC Cincinnati.
Michael Nyerges, Cincinnati Enquirer
When any organization has the chance to build a new facility, it wants to plan not just for the day it opens but for years in the future. The facility can’t become outdated quickly, especially when it comes to technology.
As FC Cincinnati officials pondered how to improve on the fan experience from Nippert Stadium, there were obvious and not-so-obvious opportunities.
Here are some of the technological amenities fans will experience in TQL Stadium.
For all its charm, this was a problem at Nippert that shouldn’t be an issue at TQL. There will be 650 access points to Wi-Fi strategically spread in and around the stadium, says Dennis Carroll, FC Cincinnati’s chief operating officer.
He said the team “invested heavily” in cellular service so fans should have no problems getting online, posting to social media and checking websites at any location in or just outside TQL. “We want to capture people and give them a reason to come and stay,” Carroll says.
Fans will use their cell phones and the FC Cincinnati app to get into the stadium. Tickets will be downloaded on phones. “Like boarding a plane,” Carroll says. This was in the plans even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans who do not have mobile access can go to the ticket office on the stadium’s main plaza and get a printout that will get them in the gate. “Data shows 99% of ours fans won’t have issues with ticket-less entry,” Carroll says. You won’t need the Seat Geek and FCC apps. You can link your Seat Geek account to the FCC app.
Points of purchase for food and drinks at TQL will not accept cash.There are three reverse ATMS in the stadium at which fans can input cash and get back a Visa card that is good anywhere that accepts Visa.
“That’s the one we wrestled with pre-COVID,” Carroll says. “Most venues will be this way in five years regardless. Once the pandemic hit, it was an immediate no-brainer. It’s the future, and it is absolutely safer and quicker.”
There are two main scoreboards, the larger of which is above The Bailey on the northside of the stadium. The other is in the southeast corner. There is not a seat in the stadium from which you are unable to see one of the scoreboards.
There are also roughly 370 integrated televisions in the building, including on the concourse, at concession stands, in the clubs and suites. They can all be customized from a control room on the west side of the stadium. Whether it’s graphics, replays or video, it can show up on all TVs and the scoreboards. “If we score a goal, we can do a blue-and-orange celebration and light the place up,” Carroll says.
In addition to cameras around the stadium for TV broadcasts, there will be additional wireless cameras to help with the presentation on video/TV screens. There is a director of game presentation, a DJ, a technical director and a creative director among a team of about 20 involved in game-day production.
TQL will have the latest technology from some of the leaders in audio, such as Bose and JBL, Carroll says. There are also touch screens in the four clubs – which can each have different music playing – and player locker rooms. Sound can be set for each location.
Fins to the left …
One of the highlights of TQL Stadium is the lighting outside the east side of the building.
There are nearly three miles of lights in the fins, or exterior panels, that surround most of TQL.
The fins don’t just light up, Carroll says. They can change colors, brightness and show images, including animation. “It’s more dynamic than any similar stadium light feature,” Carroll says.