Johan Cruijff ArenA is the largest stadium in the Netherlands, and is the home base of AFC Ajax football club, the Dutch national football team, events and concerts. Unforgettable experiences happen in the Johan Cruijff ArenA, but it’s more than just a stadium. The ArenA is developing innovation concepts in a field lab to make stadiums and cities worldwide smarter and more sustainable.

The arena’s vision is to be a state-of-the-art stadium now and in the future. Innovation is in their DNA. Ever since the first brick was laid in 1993, the Johan Cruijff ArenA has been a state-of-the-art stadium with its retractable rooftop and multipurpose usage. A unique location where mobility, sustainability, fan experience, safety and security are combined into an open innovation platform where development and testing of smart stadium and smart city solutions can prosper. They collaborate with organizations like KPMG and Microsoft, and other parties to gather more knowledge and create a vibrant ecosystem where innovation thrives.

Client challenge

The Johan Cruijff ArenA believes that future smart cities will switch their focus from the optimization of individual systems to the creation of effective network systems. Linked systems based on advanced IT solutions are essential for the establishment of such smart networks.

In 2015, the ArenA began with the development of a digital marketplace as an innovative learning and development environment, open to all. They wanted to create an environment where quick advancements and smart applications can be developed, tested and brought to life. This platform supports the development of a smart city prototype, and is the foundation for a data-driven ecosystem in Amsterdam. The innovative nature of this initiative brings both technical and organizational challenges along with it.

KPMG approach

By collaborating with KPMG, Microsoft and other organizations, Johan Cruijff ArenA has been able to transform into a more data-driven organization. KPMG supports innovation in and around the stadium, as well as the development of the ArenA’s strategy and governance.

The ArenA leverages trusted Microsoft technology, including the Microsoft Azure cloud, Microsoft 365 for its workstations, and all the data produced is stored in the Azure Data Lake, helping to further drive the stadium’s goals to become a data-driven operator and pioneer a data-driven city.

KPMG helped the ArenA deliver a flexible data analytics platform to organize, share, and enable data analysis. In addition, KPMG developed a data governance framework. The approach leads to an open data-driven innovation ecosystem which anyone can join or contribute to. KPMG and Johan Cruijff ArenA will continue to actively search in the market for corporate, start-up and scale-up partners for the innovation ecosystem, which will enable expansion possibilities.


Through the collaboration with KPMG, Johan Cruijff ArenA is able to further strengthen its innovation ecosystem and develop applications that enhance the experience for stadium visitors. In addition, it will be possible to scale the living lab approach internationally, and the stadium and smart city consulting services can be expanded.

The digital platform is designed to deliver a strong fan experience and build sustainability:

  • Stadium visitors can connect to the 55,000-seat stadium via smartphone for real-time directions that guide them directly from home to their seats.
  • The system updates users on traffic issues, parking availability and public transportation options.
  • State-of-the-art sensors monitor all aspects of the stadium—from the grass health to crowd movement—in order to help deliver the best experience possible. The sensors also help to put security in the right place at the right time to avoid challenges.
  • It manages an emergency power system based on recycled electric car batteries that can provide power to both the stadium and surrounding businesses in case of a power outage.
  • Fans can enjoy in-stadium video footage of key moments during play.

Johan Cruijff ArenA is well on its way to meeting its goals. Since the project began, it is close to reaching its goal of increasing revenue by 20% and has achieved its goal of 20% lower costs due to the efficiencies gained in serving customers better and faster. And, the stadium is able to operate with a carbon footprint of zero because of its energy supply programs. The digital ecosystem is helping the stadium manage the complexity required to keep all of the partners working together in a trusted environment that fosters innovation. They are continuing to develop new ideas for the future to evolve and contribute to a world-leading smart city.

To learn more about this project and on how KPMG’s expertise in data-driven technologies can help your business, please contact Paul Adriani.

Stay up to date with what matters to you

Gain access to personalized content based on your interests by signing up today

Connect with us