Baseball’s Newest Gem Takes IP Video to the Ballgame

St. Louis is a city that bleeds red with baseball. The Cardinals are as much a treasure as the Gateway Arch that gives a halo to this city named after a saint.

The city’s Major League Baseball franchise has built itself a new $365 million palace and is protecting it with a virtual fortification — one of the most advanced network video security systems ever installed.

“It’s my favorite team from early childhood on, so to have the opportunity to do work on a project like this has been an honor and that’s the way we have approached it,” says Facility Control Systems Inc. President Ed Heisler, who served as the overall consultant for the Cardinals on the system installation. “We want to make sure we end up with the best systems, technology and services that we can provide these guys.”

The new Busch Stadium, sitting right next to where the previous one stood, is the fifth park the Cards have called home since they started play as the St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1882. It’s also the third to be named Busch Stadium. The new Busch Stadium’s security system is a national-scale project with local contractors and consultants doing all the work.

“You don’t have a lot of big national companies in here,” says Curt Will, vice president of Will Electronics, one of the two main contractors for the installation. “You have a lot of local companies that do a lot of work.” While the overall system installation by Will Electronics and Sachs Electric Co. included access control and a life-safety system, those served as utility players compared to what is one of the largest IP-based video security systems ever installed at a major sporting venue.

Cardinals Owners Put Premium on Protecting Players and Fans
The 46,861 fans that the new stadium holds will have such features at their disposal as seats closer to the action and cupholders. To protect them will take a technological leap.

“There have been a lot of new stadiums built over the last 10 to 15 years. Seeing what could be done in a lot of these new facilities, we saw a tremendous opportunity for us to really improve our security through surveillance,” says Joe Abernathy, vice president of Busch Stadium operations. “My manager was telling me that we want a significant increase in the security we can provide as we move into this new park, and this was all incorporated into the building from the first day.”

Whereas 14 cameras watched over the previous stadium — built in 1966 — the players and fans will now be protected by 114, including 22 megapixel cameras. The team offices and other restricted access areas of Busch Stadium III will be protected by card access control, while the only access control at the previous stadium were locks and keys.

But CCTV systems and access control will be the last things on the minds of the Cardinals and their fans on game day. Their biggest concerns will be whether Albert Pujols will drive in enough runs and Chris Carpenter can go the distance to bring the Redbirds another victory. Still, the video security system will help make sure that balls and strikes will be the only things they worry about.

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