South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium Gets New Video Board, With HD Control Room To Match
When the South Carolina Gamecocks took the field against East Carolina on Sept. 9, fans crowding into Williams-Brice Stadium for the home opener saw much more than a victory. A new HD LED video display had been installed over the summer, measuring 36 ft. by 123 ft. — nine times the size of the previous board.
The video board, installed by Daktronics, is the third-largest video board in the SEC and the 11th-largest in college football. A custom LED scoreboard showing game in-progress information is located beneath the video board.
“We have spent millions of dollars throughout our athletics venues to enhance our presentation in an effort to recruit the best and the brightest student-athletes, but this project is geared toward the fans,” says Kevin O’Connell, COO, Gamecocks Athletics. “The in-stadium experience at Williams-Brice Stadium is going to be fantastic with the addition of the new video board.”
What those fans may not have known is, beneath the west side of Williams-Brice Stadium, another dramatic overhaul had taken place. To support the new HD LED video display, the university installed a completely new HD control room.
“We were in a 15-year-old space that was actually someone’s office,” explains Game Producer David Cockfield. “We were having to move a table and student edit stations in and out so we could direct the show, and, when the show was over, we had to put [the office furniture] back. It was not the best by any means.”
Cockfield’s team took over a space in the stadium that had been used by the sports information department while the university’s new athletics facility was under construction.
The new control room contains a Grass Valley Karrera switcher, K2 Summit transmission server, and K2 Dyno replay system; Evertz Xenon router; Avid Motion Graphics; and DiGiCo audio board. The university, which did its own systems integration, also added seven cameras: four Sony HSC-300 cameras, a wireless Panasonic P2 camcorder, and two Sony HSC-700 cameras (one focused on the video board, one located in the entrance to the locker room).
Two years ago, the university and athletic department installed a fiber infrastructure connecting the football stadium — located 2.5 miles away from campus — to each athletic venue. The broadcast infrastructure of Williams-Brice Stadium underwent a massive overhaul, including removal of nearly 15-year-old triax cable and the installation of 2.4 miles of video cable, more than 10,000 ft. of network cable, and more than 6,000 ft. of audio cable. The stadium’s rack room now contains 144 strands of single-mode and 48 strands of multimode fiber that connect to the control room, other parts of the stadium, and the main campus infrastructure.
Currently, the control room serves the video-board presentation in Williams-Brice Stadium. Cockfield hopes to expand the room’s responsibilities to South Carolina’s new Softball Stadium, slated for completion next spring.
The university began equipment installation in the control room on July 9 and worked six days a week for eight weeks to have the systems up and running for the Sept. 9 home opener.
“So far, so good,” says Cockfield. “After the first game, we had a large punch list of stuff we needed to fix, and, each game since then, the list has gotten smaller.”