NFL and Paris 2024 connect with Cisco

US technology company Cisco has today (Tuesday) signed partnerships with both the National Football League (NFL) and the local organising committee of the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

The new multi-year deal with the NFL makes Cisco an official technology partner of the American football league. Central to this partnership, Cisco will jointly develop a ‘Connected League’ platform with the NFL, unifying the League on a singular foundation of connectivity with greater speed, intelligence, and security.

“We have relied on Cisco for many years now and it is a natural fit that they now have become our partner,” said Michelle McKenna, NFL chief information officer. “In an increasingly digital world, speed, reliability and security are paramount to our success and we welcome the leadership Cisco will bring to the NFL for these key aspects and more.”

In 2008, Cisco introduced the idea of a single converged network supporting the future of connectivity for a venue. Cisco today said that while its view remains the same regarding a single unified, intent-based networking architecture, instead of being building-centric, it is focused on developing a league-wide infrastructure to support gameday operations such as security and digital signage solutions.

Currently, every NFL stadium’s replay control room is built on Cisco technology and connected back to the Art McNally Gameday Central in New York City via a Cisco network. In addition, nearly all of the league’s official partners and two-thirds of NFL stadiums rely on Cisco technology, including SoFi Stadium and State Farm Stadium, sites of the next two Super Bowls.

In October, US telecommunications company Verizon continued its 5G drive in the stadium and arena market by partnering with Cisco in a venture designed to aid the safe return of fans to venues.

Verizon Business and Cisco are working together to offer solutions combining Verizon’s 5G network and 5G Edge, a mobile computing platform for businesses, to provide a safer in-person experience.

In March 2019, the NFL signed a two-year innovation partnership with Verizon to develop new products and services that utilise 5G technology. This has led to a number of NFL stadia receiving 5G upgrades, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium ahead of its staging of this year’s Super Bowl.

In addition, Cisco will contribute to the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative by collaborating with the League to deliver technology education and career advancement opportunities to people in underserved communities.

“The NFL shares our view that a connected world offers incredible opportunity, and we are excited to become an official technology partner of the League,” said Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO at Cisco.

“When Cisco started its journey in sports and entertainment years ago, we knew the right technology would reshape the fan experience, and with this partnership, we are continuing our progress toward creating a more dynamic future.”

Meanwhile, Cisco has extended its association with the Olympic and Paralympic Games by partnering with Paris 2024. The Local Organising Committee has selected Cisco to provide networking infrastructure, cybersecurity and video conferencing solutions.

Cisco supported London 2012, Rio 2016 and will back Tokyo 2020 as the official network equipment partner. For Paris 2024, Cisco will continue to provide the network infrastructure and is expanding its role to also provide cybersecurity infrastructure and conferencing software.

The aim is to help Paris 2024 securely connect venues, teams, volunteers and fans in entirely new ways, creating new experiences and value for all parties. The technology foundation being built for the Games is also designed with a focus on creating sustainable and climate conscious digital solutions.

Cisco and Paris 2024’s intent is to help advance France’s digital future, connecting communities and creating a sustainable legacy of continued inclusive growth and opportunity for the nation. Robbins said: “This is a historic moment to host one of most inclusive, sustainable, and technologically-advanced events, and we are excited to help further France’s goal to build a strong digital foundation on which to drive growth for the future.”

For Paris 2024, the Cisco deal comes after it agreed a partnership with French telecommunications giant Orange back in October. Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024, said: “Our ambition is to organise spectacular and innovative Games open to anyone who wants not only to watch the competitions but also to interact with the athletes, get engaged in the project, join the Paris 2024 Club, become a volunteer, participate in the first Olympic and Paralympic mass events.

“That’s why we are thrilled to have Cisco supporting us. Cisco is a world leader in networking equipment, cybersecurity infrastructure, and collaboration, and their expertise will help us bring to life our ambition to open the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”