The National Soccer Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium, located at the south end of Toyota Stadium, received another honor when the World Football Summit announced that the most personalized experience in sports is a finalist for Best Venue in the 2019 WFS Industry Awards. Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA join the National Soccer Hall of Fame Experience in the category.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame is a unique experience compared to other sports halls of fames. It displays of many of the important and key moments in American soccer history. There are also many items that show the progression of the MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team, as well as highlighting the long-term dominance of the U.S. Women’s National Team. What makes Hall of Fame unique is the one-of-a-kind NEC technology used to personalize every experience to the Hall of Fame, tailored to every guest who visits.
“This was a project that so many people worked incredibly hard on to put together,” said Djorn Buchholz, the Executive Director of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. “To be nominated in the final three is a huge honor. The other competitors, Levi’s Stadium and Mercedes Benz Stadium are fantastic venues, so to be in a category with them shows how much work was put into this.
The Hall of Fame is part of Toyota Stadium, tying the two properties together. The trophy room, which holds many of the awards that U.S. Men’s and U.S. Women’s National Teams have won overlooks Toyota Stadium, making the Hall of Fame something that is directly contrasted with something that is very real and is presently in use as a field for soccer. “That has never been done before,” Buchholz said when referencing the integration with the Hall of Fame to Toyota Stadium.
The real selling point of the Hall of Fame is the personalization of the experience and the use of technology to bring the Hall of Fame to life. Once you enter, you can take a photo and every time you come back, the NEC facial recognition software will recognize you and save your information. The information is used not only to track your number of visits, but also how well you do on the challenges.
“A lot of what I talked about during the nomination process was the facial recognition process. People get really excited when they see how we use the technology,” Buchholz said. “That is groundbreaking technology that nobody has done. By using facial recognition, we were able to break down another barrier to create a new and improved personalized experience in sports.
Inside the Hall of Fame fans will find more than trophies and awards. There are many fun and entertaining attractions, whether you are photo bombing a iconic moment from American soccer history or trying to replicate one of Briana’s Scurry’s well-known saves as the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Team. There are other interactive challenges such as trying to juggle a virtual soccer ball using very impressive motion-capture technology.
“This is a unique experience that you will not find anywhere else,” Buchholz noted. “Getting to engage with the virtual presence of some of the sport’s greatest stars is a very special experience and using the motion caption technology in concert with the facial recognition is something we are very proud of.”
“This is the history of the sport in our country,” Buchholz explained. “We are honoring the past, present and future. We have a lot of artifacts, and we are redoing some exhibits to honor the Women’s National Team 2019 FIFA World Cup Championship. We learn from the past, and we are here to teach about rich tradition and legacy of American soccer.” This history was key to the project, and something that the National Soccer Hall of Fame team is very proud of.
While many people may not know about the history of soccer in America, it is impossible to leave the Hall of Fame without learning more and being impressed by a surprisingly long and illustrious history. Without a doubt, the National Soccer Hall of Fame has created a new standard by which all future Hall of Fames will be judged and being nominated for the Best Venue in the World Football Summit Industry is more than deserved.