Denver Broncos Welcome SVG Sports Venue Technology Summit
More than 175 industry professionals traveled to the Centennial State on Tuesday for SVG’s Sports Venue Technology Summit at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, including representatives from the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, and University of Colorado, as well a wide variety of technology vendors, systems integrators, and venue consultants.
SVG’s annual event, which showcases the latest sports-venue technology and workflows, descended on Denver for a look at one of the NFL’s premier venues. The docket included a panel on its recent renovation, led by Van Wagner’s Robert Jordan and featuring WJHW’s Chris Williams; roundtable discussions with leaders in graphics engines, replay servers, and cameras; and a discussion by several top systems integrators on how venues can get the most out of their video-control rooms.
Though drawing attendees from across the U.S. and Canada, this year’s Sports Venue Technology Summit offered a special focus on the burgeoning Denver production market. Representatives from the Broncos kicked off the event by taking the stage to share their game-day philosophies, workflows, and how the renovation of Sports Authority Field at Mile High has affected their approach to the fan experience.
Prior to the 2013 season, the Broncos unveiled approximately $24 million in A/V renovations, upgrading every aspect of in-venue video production, including the video-control room. Sony spearheaded the project as overall systems integrator, with BeckTV serving as control-room integrator.
“The NFL has a lot to do with game entertainment — mandating that the videoboards get bigger, control rooms get upgraded, [and] that we really are delivering a great fan experience,” says Mike Bonner, senior director of event presentation and production, Denver Broncos. “It’s a great fan experience across the board, no matter what stadium you go to, We’re very fortunate here, we’ve sold out every game since 1970, so there are always fans here. They constantly want more, and our ownership was great about being able to help us deliver more. It’s really been a fantastic upgrade.”
Attendees were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at Sports Authority Field’s new HD control room. Located on the west side of the stadium, it features a Ross Video Vision 6-M/E switcher, XPression 3D HD character generator and motion-graphics system, Blackstorm playout server, and Inception social-media–management platform; ChyronHego Shout social-media–editing software; Click Effects Crossfire for stats/graphics playback; Evertz Xenon video router (128×320) and EMR audio router (96×96); and three four-channel Grass Valley K2 Dyno replay servers. In addition, the team added six new Sony HDC-2550 cameras with Canon lenses and two IMT NuComm wireless RF cameras and can take up to 12 feeds from the broadcast truck to produce its videoboard show.
“The fortunate side in the process was, as we went through it, that all of you out there – manufacturers, integrators, etc. – are so good at what you do,” says Pat Jordan, director of technical and broadcast operations, Denver Broncos. “It made it a very difficult decision, but it also was an easy decision because we knew that whichever decision we made, that we were going to win. And I think we won with the decisions we made.”
The 13-mm HD videoboard, designed and installed in the south end zone by Daktronics, stretches 222 ft. by 44 ft. with a 180-ft.-wide center display and two 16-ft.-wide wings. The Broncos added a Christie Spyder video-processing system to power the board and can feed different content to the three display areas or take over the entire board with a single shot.
In addition to the massive videoboard behind the south end zone, the Broncos added a pair of Daktronics 30- x 62-ft., 15-mm boards in the north stands and a 42- x 1,424-ft., 20-mm LED fascia ribbon display.
Approximately 1,100 Sony television monitors are scattered throughout the stadium, ranging from 32 in. to 55 in., and running on a comprehensive Cisco StadiumVision IPTV system supplied by AT&T in partnership with MOEBAM! Venue Media Services. AT&T also built out the stadium’s distributed antenna system to enhance fans’ ability to connect on mobile devices.
“It’s no longer just we put on a nice show in the stadium and hope the fans like it. We are competing with the broadcast,” says Bonner. “We want to give the fans a reason to be here as opposed to sitting on their couch at home. What can we do, what are they going to get here that they’re not going to get at home? There’s so many things that we’re looking into these days with next-generation stats, social media, and the app that you only get here. The way we look at it is we need to provide something to the fan that they’re going to want to be here for as opposed to being home.”
Like the video elements, the audio systems are integrated, by Parsons Electric. The audio system comprises JBL speakers in the bowl, QSC’s Q-SYS digital-audio–control system, Lab.Gruppen amplifiers, a Yamaha M7-CL32 digital mix console in the control room, and Shure wireless mics with an Axient wireless-management network.
Throughout the afternoon, local broadcasters and technology vendors discussed the unique demands of the market and how the groups can work together to improve communication, pool local resources, and create the best show possible for both in-venue and at-home audiences.
Jason Dachman contributed to this report.
Watch for more reports from SVG’s Sports Venue Technology Summit, including in-depth reviews of every panel discussion and a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.