Live From NBA All-Star 2022: Cleveland Cavs’ Provide Immersive Experience for Fans Entering the Venue
Audio and visual content in tunnel is designed to create buzz
When fans enter the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in downtown Cleveland for the NBA All-Star Game this weekend, they’ll pass through a portal designed to hype them up before they reach their seats. A spectacular tunnel leading into the venue will immerse them with sights and sounds of the resident Cavaliers. Designed by ANC LiveSync and installed by Metropolitan Interactive, it features the installation of a d&b audiotechnik Soundscape system and some very clever digital video content using dvLED.
Cavaliers SVP/CIO Michael Conley had something very specific in mind for the Fieldhouse, which is also home to the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters and more than 200 ticketed events annually. Working with Cavalier designers, he wanted fans to experience something spectacular when entering the building: a tunnel that they would walk through on their way to the seating area.
“Met Interactive came up with a layout for the portal very quickly,” says project leader Richard Gold. “The d&b Soundscape using the DS100 processor with En-Scene software was one of our earliest decisions and gave us the ability to move the sound around the space to be aligned with the video content. The system and speakers are hidden under LED sidewalls primarily. When the project team realized more speakers were required, we added speakers at ceiling height at either end of the portal.”
All in all, Met Interactive, ANC, and Cavaliers’ designers spent close to a year working on details of the portal’s architecture. Says Conley, “We set out to create a tunnel that looked spectacular and very clean, with the objective to create buzz so that fans would seek out that tunnel every time they entered the building for a game or event.”
The focus then turned to content, with theatrical sound design by Broken Chord, conversations with the creative teams building the video, and field trips to d&b Asheville, NC, for system demonstrations. The Cavs built their own on-premises content-design studio so that they can continually update material for each home game.
What the content and video could look like was helpful for the sound designers. Gold says they didn’t have to make any adjustments to the sound for consistency between the content studio and the power portal.
“What surprised me in a good way,” he says, “was that we originally planned on the visual to help guide the position of the audio in order to obtain a vertical access, but we found we could also make the sound appear to be coming from the ceiling.”
The design goal for the portal space as an interactive experience is to provide audio and video based on the schedule for a particular day: if it’s a Cavaliers game, it’s Cavalier-related video; for an Elton John concert, the content was all related to Sir Elton John. The organization is also experimenting with piping real-time data into the visual experience, further personalizing the experience as fans navigate from the atrium to the concourse and back.
“The power portal has become a popular fan destination,” says Conley, “and will be for many years to come.”