SVG Venue@ Soaks Up the Arizona Sun at University of Phoenix Stadium

Fresh off hosting Super Bowl XLIX, the Arizona Cardinals welcomed more than 40 industry professionals to University of Phoenix Stadium yesterday. Local-team personnel, technology vendors, venue consultants, and more convened at the Glendale, AZ, stadium for a behind-the-scenes tour of the venue and an afternoon of in-depth panel discussions.

IMG_0272Part of SVG’s Venue Initiative, yesterday’s Venue@ University of Phoenix event continues SVG’s commitment to showcasing venue technology and game-day workflows on the regional level.

Michael Conner, director of videoboard and event production, Arizona Cardinals, kicked off yesterday’s event by welcoming attendees to the stadium. During his opening presentation, he provided insight into the team’s in-house production company, which handles production needs for games, concerts, conferences (like yesterday’s Venue@), and stadium events, “including a little event called the Super Bowl.” He was joined on stage by the Cardinals’ Tim Beach, senior director, game entertainment and special events; Amanda Flanagan, production manager; and Shane Gavin and Jamie Gillespie, event and systems engineers.

Following the presentation, attendees toured the venue, including a trip outside to see the stadium’s grass field. The field, attendees learned, rolls out of the stadium (in about 75 minutes) on an 18.9 million-lb. tray and resides outside the stadium except during football and soccer events. It is the first of its kind in North America.

Arizona Cardinals’ Michael Conner welcomes attendees to Venue@ University of Phoenix.

Arizona Cardinals’ Michael Conner welcomes attendees to Venue@ University of Phoenix.

In the control room, team personnel and technology manufacturers were on hand to provide demos of the gear, including the Ross Video Acuity switcher and Evertz DreamCatcher replay servers. The room also features two Ross Video four-channel XPression graphics servers and a multiviewer, an expanded Evertz EQX router, Vista Systems Spyder X20 video processor, DiGiCo SD10 audio console, AJA Video Systems Ki Pro recorders; Grass Valley K2 Summit media servers, Ikegami monitors, Riedel intercoms, and Adobe Premier editing software. The venue’s Daktronics videoboards, which include a new 13HD display in the south end zone and repurposed display in the north end zone, showed “Welcome SVG” as the tour made stops on the stadium floor and wended through the concourses.

Arizona Cardinals’ Amanda Flanagan leads attendees on a tour of the venue.

Arizona Cardinals’ Amanda Flanagan leads attendees on a tour of the venue.

Afterwards, attendees returned to the East Club for three panel discussions focused on scoreboard technologies and philosophies. The first provided the local team’s perspective, with Conner again taking the stage to discuss game-day strategies. Mike Bonner, senior director of event presentation and production, Denver Broncos, described his team’s approach, and Arizona Diamondbacks Video Production Manager Jeff Cederbaum elaborated on the challenges of handling 81 home games per year. Cynthia Catizone, senior producer/director, NAU-TV, Northern Arizona University, rounded out the discussion with her perspective as a broadcaster on the collegiate level.

The second panel dove deeper into the technology behind videoboards, drawing on the experience of two videoboard manufacturers, a venue consultant, a systems integrator, and an end user to discuss what factors venues should consider in selecting a videoboard: location, size, resolution, pixel count, and more. Josh Beaudoin, associate principal, WJHW; Josh DeFamio, supervisor, dbTV graphics, Arizona Diamondbacks; Will Ellerbruch, national sales manager, Live Events Division, Daktronics; Doug Moss, VP, sales and marketing, AV Solutions Group, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions; and Fred Wright, senior director, sales, Central Region, BeckTV, offered valuable insights into videoboard selection, manufacture, and installation.

Inside the  videoboard control room at University of Phoenix Stadium

Inside the videoboard control room at University of Phoenix Stadium

Much was made of the scoreboard technologies, but ,without the right tools to capture content, the boards can’t live up to their full potential. Thus, the final panel of the day focused on image acquisition, including the latest in cameras and lenses. Mike DesRoches, senior sales support engineer, Sony Electronics, and Bruce Lane, who covers Grass Valley’s North American Sports Venue business, debated the merits of 4K versus high–frame-rate cameras, how venues should look to integrate these tools into their existing complements, and what factors venue operators should consider when selecting cameras and lenses.

In addition to the Arizona Cardinals, yesterday’s event was made possible by SVG’s Venue Initiative sponsors: Bexel, Cisco, Clear-Com, Crown Castle, Ericsson, EVS, Grass Valley, Panasonic, and Sony. The SVG Venue Initiative is charged with serving the information, networking, and business needs of engineering, IT, and broadcast executives in professional and collegiate sports venues.

For more information on the SVG Venue Initiative, please contact Karen Hogan at karen@sportsvideo.org. For more information on becoming an SVG Venue Initiative sponsor, please contact Rob Payne at rob@sportsvideo.org or Andrew Gabel at agabel@sportsvideo.org.

And stay tuned for future events!

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