Syracuse University Dresses Up 40-Year-Old Carrier Dome With Largest Centerhung in College Sports
The new videoboard debuted during the 2020 football home opener
Syracuse University has produced elite athletes in every sport over its 150-year history, including Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, and Carmelo Anthony. Future football and basketball stars to grace the hardwood or turf will be playing beneath a technological masterpiece in the Carrier Dome: a 7,022-sq.-ft. Daktronics videoboard, which is now the largest centerhung display in college sports.
Installation Process: Onsite Logistics Sidesteps COVID-19 Issues
Despite the immense uncertainty of this offseason, the university made significant strides in lifting this new structure to the rafters. There were the normal logistical hurdles, of course, but COVID-19 added another set of challenges. Led by VP/Chief Facilities Officer Pete Sala, the team worked alongside Daktronics to ensure a smooth operation.
One of the major issues confronting them was New York’s rule requiring individuals from specific states to quarantine for a two-week period. Without these key figures, the installation could have encountered a considerable hiccup in the proceedings.
“We were trying to get [the centerhung] up in time for our opening game in the Dome,” says Anthony Di Fino, associate athletics director, business development, Syracuse University. “[Our concerns were] mostly about getting people up here to test it a week or two before and if the essential workers coming in from another state had to self-quarantine for 14 days.”
Luckily, the crew avoided these problems and were able to test out the equipment before the centerhung’s first game in operation on Saturday, Sept. 26 vs. Georgia Tech.
“We were a little worried during the middle of the summer,” he notes, “but everything worked out in a few different ways. Daktronics was able to do their install without a hitch.”
Turning Heads, Catching Eyes: University Anticipates the Return of Fans
Over its 40-year history, the Carrier Dome has hosted its fair share of games, concerts, and other events. The university’s athletics department announced last year that the multipurpose stadium will be receiving a major renovation at a cost of $118 million. Headed by Director of Athletics John Wildhack, the project is slated to be finished in 2022 and includes other structural improvements to enhance the overall entertainment and amenities for attendees on game day.
“We’re redoing our roof, lighting, and sound system,” says Di Fino. “Ultimately, athletics is looking at [this installation] as an opportunity to have a centerpiece of our new stadium experience.”
As the main focal point of this large-scale initiative, the physical centerhung comes in at 20 ft. x 62.5 ft. and boasts corner displays that measure about 20 ft. x 9.5 ft. A 6.5-ft.-high ring display extends around the interior of the centerhung at a length of 216.5 ft. In addition, six end-zone boards feature 2,278 sq. ft. of LED and bring the project’ total LED display to 9,300 sq. ft.
With the project completed at the end of last month, the team was able to acknowledge their hard work during the first three home events. The most gratifying moment came from opposing players from Georgia Tech, Duke University, and Liberty University when they entered the venue.
“We’ve seen opposing teams go out to the field for early warmups and check out the stadium with their phones out,” he says. “It’s nice to see when people appreciate the surroundings that they’re playing in.”
On the athletics side, the goal for the newly installed technology is to capture the attention of both Syracuse students and supporters when it’s safe enough to attend a game.
“We’re really looking for that ‘wow’ factor,” Di Fino says. “In a 40-year-old building, it’s awesome to be able to have something that makes it look like it’s brand-new. I also don’t think it’s anything you’ve seen at the collegiate level, because this technology is usually reserved for the pros.”
Built for the Next Generation: New Display Makes a Big Splash for Production Ops
The university’s sturdy production infrastructure is proving valuable in the second year of ACC Network. With expansive LED real estate, the massive piece of technology inspires the in-venue crew, including Director of Video and Event Presentation Jacquie Ontano, to create more-engaging content as well.
“Assistant Athletics Director of Creative Services Jordan Kligerman is the one who worked on what we’re putting on the boards and presenting to our fans,” says Di Fino. “He worked in conjunction with a local graphics and motion-design artist Vic Garcia, who has done phenomenal work. A concave, four-sided videoboard is pretty impressive, and, until our fans are able to get in here to see it, it’s tough to explain how big a game-changer that is for us.”
After facing the 2020 runner-up in the College Football National Championship, Clemson University, this coming weekend, Syracuse University returns to the Carrier Dome for an ACC football matchup vs. Wake Forest on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. ET.