Capitals and Wizards Fans Treated to New LED, Virtual Reality at Verizon Center
Located in the heart of Washington, DC’s vibrant Chinatown neighborhood, Verizon Center recently unveiled a splashy revamp of its video displays, including a new LED video wall on the concourse at the F Street entrance. Christened “Monumental Vision,” the ultra-high-resolution video wall features a 1.25-mm pitch and stands nearly 6 ft. tall and more than 19 ft. wide.
“When you look at it, it’s unbelievable,” says Josh Brickman, VP of strategy and research, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns Verizon Center. “Because it’s a digital wall, it can be segmented in any number of different ways. Right now, we have two rectangular side pieces that have ads running, and then, we have the center [section] that’s actually playing the game content. So, if you’re in the concourse and you’re walking around, you don’t have to miss the game; you can see it on this beautiful huge new screen.”
Monumental Sports & Entertainment worked with consultant Sensory Interactive to install the LED wall, which was manufactured by Sansi North America. In addition, the group worked with ANC Sports to add 13 LED signs throughout the arena bowl, including new fascia displays, vomitory displays, and courtside displays.
“We’ve taken efforts to enhance the quality of all of our digital displays at the court level,” Brickman explains. “All of our scorers-table signage, our baseline basket-stanchions signage, some of our VIP-corner signage, and even some of our player-tunnel signage have all been replaced with high-resolution displays.”
IPTV provider Colesseo manages delivery of video content to all displays within Verizon Center, which is home to the NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards, and WNBA’s Washington Mystics. To do so, Monumental upgraded the servers in Verizon Center’s control room and invested in new network cabling to each of the signage locations.
The new video displays and enhanced broadcast infrastructure are all part of a $10 million initiative to enhance the fan experience at Verizon Center. More than 15,000 sq. ft. of hospitality space has been added across the four levels of the arena, including a 10,000-sq.-ft. VIP club, Draft Ops Fantasy Lounge, team lounge, AK lounge, and media work area. Four bars were added on the 100 and 400 levels.
Over the past year and a half, Monumental Sports & Entertainment has increased the number of iBeacons in Verizon Center to more than 200; the iBeacons provide access to special game-day offers and seat upgrades. And, after partnering with OneUp Sports, upgraded mobile apps have been rolled out for the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics, and Verizon Center. The apps are populated with content created by in-house production department Monumental Network.
“Through Monumental Network and our collection of sites that we manage and operate, our in-house production crew is creating content throughout the day, [pushing it out] to all of our social-media channels, including the mobile channel,” says Brickman. “For example, T.J. Oshie recently scored his first goal since he became a Capital, and, within minutes, there was a clip of that being pushed through a push notification through the Caps app.”
To round out the fan-experience upgrades at Verizon Center, the Capitals and Wizards will deploy STRIVR Labs virtual-reality technology. Using six GoPro cameras rigged in a 360-degree configuration, Monumental Networks has captured content for both teams that can be viewed on an Oculus Rift headset.
“We have some content where the camera is set up as if the fan was sitting in the first row, so they can look around and see what the view is like from [team owner] Ted Leonsis’s seat or what it’s like in the Caps’ locker room before a game,” says Brickman. “Our plan is, about the first of the year, to make that content available in some of our club areas so that fans during intermission or halftime — or maybe they’re just waiting for a friend to show up before a game — can put on this Oculus Rift headset themselves and experience that. It’s an audio-visual experience that’s totally immersive, and I think something our fans are really going to enjoy.”