Located in Santa Clara, Calif., Levi’s Stadium is the recently built $1.2 billion home of the NFL team the San Francisco 49ers. Since opening its doors on July 17, 2014, the stadium has been host to numerous football games, soccer games, concerts, and major international events, including Super Bowl 50 and the Copa América Centenario.

With a seating capacity ranging from 68,500 to 75,000, the security team at Levi’s Stadium is familiar with the challenges of watching over a crowded stadium. According to Lou Pezzola, director of security systems, “No two events are alike. It’s an ever-changing environment with various schedules and a mixture of people coming and going that need access to different areas.” 

When construction of Levi’s Stadium began, the team kicked off a search for an advanced security platform. After narrowing their choice down to a few security solutions, they used the practice site as a test bed. It was not long before Levi’s Stadium made a unanimous decision to opt for Genetec Security Center, the unified security platform that combines video surveillance, access control, automatic license plate recognition and other business systems in one intuitive solution.

“Security Center was a great security platform for all aspects of our environment, but unification was the most significant advantage for our team because we can carry out every task in a single platform,” Pezzola said.

Currently, Levi’s Stadium has a total of 725 network security cameras and over 680 doors that are managed from Security Center. An independent system was set up at the nearby practice site, which has approximately 50 doors and 50 cameras. The stadium implemented the Federation feature within Security Center, allowing the security team to view and manage all security devices from a central control room.

The Federation feature also allows the Santa Clara Police Department to access and view cameras from an onsite holding jail cell. “Laws require that only the police department can view those cameras at certain times. Thanks to Security Center, we have been able to grant system privileges to law enforcement, ensure public privacy, and become collaborative partners,” Pezzola explained.

Collaboration with law enforcement is something that happens on an ongoing basis during capacity-filled events, such as the recent Super Bowl 50. From the event control room, a dedicated operator works at the direction of law enforcement to monitor threats. “Security Center has been instrumental in helping our team identify suspects and monitor their whereabouts through the stadium, which ultimately led to arrests and prosecution,” Pezzola continued.

Using the Synergis access control system of Security Center, the security team at Levi’s stadium manages access rights for over 2,000 cardholders and other visitors. Pre-set cardholder groups enable quick enrollment of new employees or visitors with access rights that are relevant to their job or visit.

Hundreds of door schedules have been created in the Synergis system, which help the security team manage various events that are hosted at the stadium. “Setting the door schedules makes our lives so much easier,” Pezzola said. “Our operators still have the flexibility with the Synergis access control system to override certain doors, or make changes when needed, so it remains fluid for our team and operations.”

The Plan Manager map-based interface helps operators quickly locate doors and cameras in the massive stadium. If operators are away from their desk, they can quickly pull up a door from their phone to make any last minute door schedule changes. Video can also be conveniently accessed using the Security Center mobile feature.

During the installation of the new platform, Levi’s Stadium contracted Genetec Professional Services to ensure a smooth deployment. Genetec field engineers were on location to make sure the platform was fully optimized, properly configured and running at peak efficiency. Field engineers remained on site during the first few major events following the system’s commissioning to quickly troubleshoot any operational issues, and make additional best-practice recommendations. The stadium plans to continue using Genetec Professional Services for upcoming system upgrades.

“Due to the complexity of our system, we want to ensure that all aspects of future system upgrades are covered. It is best served by the folks that know the system better than us,” Pezzola said.

Overall, the stadium is pleased with its investment in Security Center. “Levi’s Stadium is California’s first sports venue to be awarded the Safety Act designation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Security Center is a core component of our multi-layered security strategy,” said Dan Cory, vice president of security at Levi’s Stadium. “The system gives our operators the tools to be the very best at their jobs, and ensure successful events for our guests, year after year.”