Digital Twin Technology Helps Shape the Future of Sports & Entertainment

February 16, 2023

Digital Twin Technology Helps Shape the Future of Sports & Entertainment


Veronica |

Sports and Entertainment digital twin technology (reality capture) are changing the way venues are planned, renovated, and maintained. In this article we will explore how our laser scan to point cloud and 3D rendering capabilities provided extreme value to the commissioned architecture firm that redesigned the Ford Field Concourse. We’ll also show you how to expand that scope to better plan and execute large scale project with dynamic computer simulation, as opposed to traditional static computer simulation. These methods not only apply to sports and entertainment digital twins, but large complexes and cities as well.

Detroit – A Little History

Located in Downtown Detroit, Ford Field sits at the heart of a bustling city that has found a comeback over the last 20 years. With the closure of

the Pontiac Silverdome in 2002, the Detroit Metro area found a new sports venue with Ford Field breaking ground in 1999 as an early piece to the revitalization puzzle. Various initiatives have since restored historical sites across the city, driven by the influx of corporate interests which led to the development of Little Caesars Arena and a surge in career opportunities bringing Millennials to live and work in Midtown.

With a maximum capacity of 80,000 attendees in the stadium, Ford Field played host to the 2006 Super Bowl XL, and will support the upcoming

NFL Draft, revisiting Ford Field in Spring of 2023. Ford Field’s popularity and technology have proven to be a major asset to the city. After 10 years of service and high traffic, the main concourse, food vendor stalls, and premium experience suites of Ford Field were commissioned to be redesigned in 2017.

Ford Field Concourse

In preparation for the complete redesign and fit-out of the concourse, the lead architecture design firm required a solid CAD foundation to work from, including precise measurements and strong visualizations of the space as it stood. With a digital twin of the existing space, the design architects could execute design validation, build construction documents, and plan interior fit-out of all the suites and the concourse. At the onset of the project, there was no working data to initiate the project.

Our team was contracted to assist with developing a digital twin of the concourse, including data capture with laser scanning, and training the existing architectural firm team on how to best utilize and translate the data sets into a 3D BIM model.

Often when a laser scan project is launched, the team utilizing the digital twin technology may not always have the capability or time to develop the 3D model on their own. Luckily the team with the architectural firm was well-versed in 3D modeling, only requiring PMC to manage the massive amount of data sets and teach them how to translate the point cloud into the modeling software.

1500 scan plan capture locations
5 night shifts on-site
40 hours to train the design team

At the onset of the project, we established a scope of work that entailed our process:

  • Design team scope discovery, venue walkthroughs, and planning with venue management
  • The site scan plan, which ensured efficient scanner placement at strategic vantage points and data completeness
  • Working with the venue for logistics and time considerations as an active site to the public
  • Coordination with the Project Managers at the architectural firm for design validation and to deliver data in manageable portions
  • Training their design teams to convert and utilize the data in Revit 3D Modeling software

The Ford Field Concourse project had a large scan registration consisting of over 1500 scans. It was therefore critical that we provided manageable amounts of data sets for them to utilize during their process. We were also responsible for ensuring the design firm received the appropriate data during critical phases of their design schedules.

After this was completed, new renderings of fixtures, displays, furniture, lighting, and other furnishings could be added for the new interiors by the design architects’ own team in Revit.

Imagine the Possibilities

With fully rendered 3D models of sports and entertainment venues, it is possible to show prospective tenants what the premium suite redesign will look like before it is completed. Additionally, virtual reality and augmented reality experiences (VR/AR Mixed) can be created to give the consumer a very realistic representation of the venue’s future, enabling early sales and faster return on investment.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Experiences

When a scan is completed of the entire stadium, not just of the concourse, the customer experience is amplified to the extent that they can see an exact representation of what their view is going to be before they purchase a ticket or season pass.

If the venue utilizes the data sets further, they can add more value by delivering concessions right to their attendee’s seat with mobile apps. Using artificial intelligence we can protect customers’ identities using facial recognition software to blur their appearance.

From a maintenance perspective, the digital twin can capture the structure and components of the venue to track replacement parts, repairs, prepare maintenance schedules, and plan and implement smart technology that remote controls lighting and hydraulics. Developing and maintaining a representation of the IoT in a sports and entertainment venue creates more efficiency and enables the longevity of the venue in our ever-changing world of technology.


Digital twins can also enable pedestrian dynamic planning and optimization. Imagine having a real representation of how 80,000 people move through a large venue to reach concessions, ticket sales, vomitoriums, restrooms, luxury suites, and even evacuation plans as well. This enables design and engineering teams to plan more effectively and venue management to ensure training is effective for the safety of their teams and the public at large.

  • Increase pedestrian flow
  • Increase pedestrian prediction
  • Ensure staff & attendee safety
  • Plan venue logistics intelligently

Digital Twin Technology Advantage

Reality capture is a term used to convey a sense of completeness in terms of data that Digital Twins provide to Architectural Engineering and Construction firms, Venue Organizers and Owners, Site Planners, and even Municipalities. Having the ability to gather reality in a point cloud and transferring the data into a 3D model allows for designers and engineers to accurately depict potential futures without the time and cost of gathering measurements by hand or relying on blueprints.

Specifically, digital twins can help avoid costly mistakes, reduce material costs, expedite project timelines, and optimize the spaces we live and work in.

Optimizing pedestrian flow and guest experience at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Planning zoo enclosure formats and location, establishing pedestrian flows through the park.

Scanning for the restoration of historic features. High detail meshing of laser scans to visualize current and future states.

Scanning and model development to facilitate new sports betting

The scope and scale of reality capture is only limited to our own perception of what is possible. Not limited to sports and entertainment venues, Smart Cities and Smart Complexes are achieved through reality capture and dynamic simulation processes as well.

Determine the Need for Reality Capture

When planning to integrate reality capture and digital twins into your project, it will likely become necessary to speak with an expert in these areas to determine what your needs are to achieve your objectives, unless you have members of your own staff that are capable of point cloud capture, 3D rendering knowledge, and dynamic simulation.

Even so, experts in these fields may not understand the full scope of what can be achieved through a complete digital twin of your scenario. This is the reason so many companies, municipalities, and even other engineering and architecture firms rely on specialists like ours.

Reach out to us via the form below to schedule a time to speak with our reality capture and digital twin technology experts to help identify what the possibilities are for your initiatives.


You may also like

Wastewater Facility Steel Detailing

esmith | April 20, 2024

Solvent Processing Unit Steel Detailing

esmith | April 20, 2024

Consult an Expert

Reach out to our representatives!