NC State’s Renovated Carter-Finley Stadium Debuts Giant New Videoboard With Electric Intro Video
The Wolfpack partnered with production house Ryval Studios on football video
For anyone in the game-presentation and in-venue–entertainment business, there’s only one way to flip on a brand-new videoboard: with a thrilling intro video. Consider it a housewarming gift to your guests.
That was the theme this summer in Raleigh as the NC State Athletics Department prepared to debut its remodeled football venue, Carter-Finley Stadium. First opened in 1966, the venue received a complete video and audio facelift this season, including a full overhaul of its video displays. The centerpiece is a primary videoboard more than double the size of its predecessor.
The Daktronics board is 43 ft. tall by 166 ft. wide, vaulting it onto the list of largest displays in college football. It contains more than 6.6 million pixels. That’s 550% more pixels and 270% more square footage than the screen that previously stood in its place.
To mark both the board’s debut (on Sept. 9 vs. Notre Dame) and the new season of Wolfpack Football, the NC State Athletic Department struck a partnership with St. Louis-based production company Ryval Studios to produce a high-octane intro video to get fans attending football games at Carter-Finley hyped up for both the game and its newly renovated home.
“This provided us the avenue to be big,” says Justin Stoll, associate AD/senior coordinating producer, NC State Athletics. “Our videoboard is huge. Our intro video is just as big, if not bigger. It’s going to create a game-day advantage for our team and for our fans. We’re really excited about it.”
The result of the creative collaboration is a feast for the eyes and ears. Directed and shot by Los Angeles-based director and cinematographer Danny Corey, the football intro video was a night-long shoot in the woods, featuring players, cheerleaders, fans, and more. It’s a hype video not just celebrating a football team but embodying the spirit of the “wolfpack.”
Supplemental Creative Strategy
But it begs the question: why, at a time when collegiate athletic departments are investing in in-house talent and resources, does a department bring in an outside production company to produce one of the program’s most important pieces of content? Stoll says Director, Athletics, Boo Corrigan; Deputy AD Stephanie Menio; and Director, Fan Experience and Marketing, Justin Lisk were committed to taking advantage of this huge, once-in-a-generation opportunity to engage with the fanbase.
“Ultimately, the videoboard was the driver,” Stoll explains, “but, looking at the big picture, we have an extremely talented group of creatives on campus that are extremely busy. They have a lot of time and effort wrapped up in feature work and social media and all the other things that go along with recruiting. This was an opportunity to go outside to make a splash for our game-day environment.
“I think,” he continues, “the repetitiveness of having to create intro videos every single year for every single sport can make [creatives] run a little low on creativity at times. To have someone take a look at a project like this and say, ‘Hey, here’s what I would do,’ I think is really, really powerful.”
It also doesn’t hurt, creatively, to bring in a fresh set of eyes.
“The industry can be such a copycat,” says Jon Morgan, executive producer, Ryval Studios. “I think there’s a lot of value in bringing in some outside ideas and perspectives that can help elevate the creative ideas and the production quality.”
Says Stoll, “I think we have the best intro video in college football. We’re going to have the best entrance in college football outside of maybe some of the classic traditions.”
For Morgan, producing a standout in-venue intro video in today’s saturated marketplace comes down to two key factors: the creative concept and production quality. “When you have a strong concept and you have really high production quality, it’s going to stand out, it’s going to turn heads, it’s going to get attention. In-house creative teams often lack production resources to produce high-quality content, so that’s where Ryval comes in. We work alongside in-house teams to help elevate the production quality of their content and ultimately set them apart from the competition.”
Ryval, which specializes in sports production, has worked with such teams as Duke University and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues and has a new partnership with Madison Square Garden to produce open videos, intro videos, specialty content, graphics, and more for its sports division.
NC State’s deal with Ryval Studios is more than just a one-off. The studio will also produce the intro video for the men’s basketball team, and the school has multiple-year options to exercise to keep the partnership going into the future.
“Ryval is excited about this long-term partnership with NC State,” says Morgan, “because this type of multi-year relationship is unique for college athletics but is poised to become more common in the industry. These types of partnerships present a lot of advantages for athletic departments so they can produce high-quality content over the long term.”
Adds Stoll, a veteran of NFL Films and South Carolina Athletics, “It’s a great learning opportunity to see how others do big productions, how others bring in resources and utilize those resources to create an event, to create an atmosphere using video and audio. I have done big jobs. I have been on big commercials. This was every bit of that. It was a massive production.”
A New Infrastructure
Although the big new videoboard and sound system are the marquee additions in the Carter-Finley Stadium, a wealth of features and infrastructure that the behind-the-scenes team at NC State — including Director, Venue Display Operations, Drew Grigsby — can’t wait to play with.
The university worked with BeckTV on integration of control-room space and has partnered with Ross Video’s Rocket Surgery on a comprehensive graphics package. The show is split among two control-room areas. Camera cuts and the show’s production switcher are located in a room in the Murphy Football Center, the football program’s operations building behind the south end zone at Carter-Finley Stadium. Meanwhile, the Tessera system, stats, LED, and more are run from a room in TowneBank Center, located at the end of the football stadium and housing, among other things, the venue’s Media Suite.
The in-venue show runs off the Ross Video XPression Tessera solution, which offers complete control of the entire environment, including LEDs and lighting. Stoll notes that, in the past, any action or activation synchronized across the building was a clunky operation requiring multiple button pushes by various staffers. Additional space on the primary video screen offers the game-presentation team room for more data and services (out-of-town scores, closed captioning) and revenue-generating opportunities (more ads).
Says Stoll, “We’re trying to provide that at-home experience with television here in-venue like everybody’s trying to do.”
NC State Football returns home this Friday night when it hosts ACC rival Louisville at 7 p.m. ET.