Venue Display Report Winter 2019

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WINTER 2019

VENUES STEP UP THEIR

DISPLAY GAME

LEVI’S STADIUM AND CISCO LIGHT UP CONCESSIONS SAP CENTER BRINGS LED TO CONCOURSES VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA TAPS SAMSUNG mobilesportsreport.com FOR SYSTEM-ON-A-CHIP DISPLAYS



Welcome to the inaugural issue of our new VENUE DISPLAY REPORT series, part of our STADIUM TECH REPORTS! These quarterly long-form reports are designed to give stadium and large public venue owners and operators, and digital sports business executives a way to dig deep into the topic of digital display technology, via exclusive research and profiles of successful stadium and large public venue display technology deployments, as well as news and analysis of topics important to this growing market. As venues seek to improve fan engagement and increase sponsor activation, display technology offers powerful new ways to improve the in-stadium fan experience while also increasing the bottom line for stadium business operations. Read on as we examine not just new display technology and successful deployments, but also dig deep into how display technologies can support successful marketing and advertising campaigns! Our profiles for this issue include an in-depth report on new LED concourse displays for the San Jose Sharks’ SAP Center that are making use of the Cisco Vision display management system, and a new display system at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City where the Utah Jazz are using Samsung’s new “system on a chip” screens throughout the venue. We also have an update on the San Francisco 49ers’ decision to switch to Cisco Vision for all the displays at Levi’s Stadium. As always, we are here to hear what you have to say: Send me an email to kaps@mobilesportsreport.com and let us know what you think of our new VENUE DISPLAY REPORT series.

Paul Kapustka, Founder & Editor Mobile Sports Report

IN THIS ISSUE: LEVI’S STADIUM ADDS CISCO VISION Page 4 VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA’S NEW DISPLAYS Page 9 SAP CENTER BRINGS LED DISPLAYS TO CONCOURSE Page 15

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Club-area concession menus and live-action displays at Levi’s Stadium are now run on the Cisco Vision IPTV display management system. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR


LEVI’S STADIUM TURNS TO CISCO FOR DIGITAL DISPLAY MANAGEMENT BY PAUL KAPUSTKA

KNOWN FOR THE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY THAT WAS PART OF ITS INCEPTION, LEVI’S STADIUM IN SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA, IS CONTINUING TO PUSH ITS DIGITAL FUNCTIONALITY FORWARD WITH THE ADDITION THIS PAST YEAR OF THE CISCO VISION IPTV DISPLAY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.

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ans of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers as well as stadium guests for concerts and other sporting events may have noticed more activity this past fall on the 2,200plus display screens on the stadium’s concourses, concession stands and other public areas. According to Cisco and the Niners, an emphasis on updating the many menu boards to include animated item displays and easily changeable prices has significantly improved the customer experience, while likely also contributing to the business bottom line of increased concession sales. “We wanted to make menu boards and branding displays more dynamic and appealing to stadium guests as well as to improve the way we manage and operate,” said Brent Schoeb, chief revenue officer for the 49ers. “Overall, it helps the fan experience.” L-wraps and moving menu items

During a visit to a 49ers game this past fall, Mobile Sports Report got to see many of the new menu boards in action; according to AmpThink, which built the IPTV network hosting the new Cisco Vision system, there were more than 180 new menu boards created for the various standalone concession stands, as well as the concession areas in clubs, where there are multiple food and beverage locations. VENUE DISPLAY REPORT

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Clockwise from top: L-wraps bring advertisements alongside live action; beverage photos on menu can ‘rotate’ to attract attention; One of Levi’s big screens; a closer look at the animated images on menu boards; and, not all signs are digital... yet!

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VENUE DISPLAY REPORT WINTER 2019


The image of the sausage sandwich ‘slides’ in and out of the screen to attract attention at this concession stand.


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t might not seem like a big deal for fans who are just hungry for a hot dog, but according to Cisco the ability to have “dynamic” menu boards that show animated action can actually influence people to buy more items. On some of the Niners’ new menu boards, pictures of menu items like bags of popcorn and different food options move in and out of view, while other items like pictures of cups of beer or bottles of soda rotate. At the very least, the active boards at the simplest level do catch your eye while walking by, keeping your vision while you wait to see what the next action is. Other boards in the stadium also now have the ability to have screen overlay variants, like L-wraps where an advertisement can be placed on a vertical and horizontal enclosure outside a square of content, which in many cases is a display showing live game action. In the stadium’s United Club area, many live action displays are mounted next to menu boards, again driving more fan attention. Other variants include bottom thirds and bugs, all enabled by Cisco Vision.

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When Levi’s Stadium opened in 2014, it was known VENUE DISPLAY REPORT WINTER 2019

Club areas like this at Levi’s Stadium are awash in displays, all now running on the Cisco Vision management system.

for driving stadium technology forward, especially with its full-stadium Wi-Fi and cellular networks, and a stadium app that supported features like on-demand instant replays. By moving to the Cisco Vision system for its displays, Levi’s Stadium is continuing to find new ways to use technology to improve its operations. “Cisco allowed us to be more dynamic with our screens,” said the Niners’ Schoeb. Plus, it finally adds Cisco to the technology mix for a venue that is quite literally Cisco’s next-door neighbor – the company’s main corporate campus is just a few turns east along Tasman Drive after leaving the stadium. Though Schoeb didn’t have any precise figures to share, the early perception is that the new screens are already making a positive difference. “It’s too early to tell but we expect ROI gains on both food and beverage and corporate partnerships [due to the new signage system],” Schoeb said. VDR


In addition to the smaller display screens, Levi’s Stadium also has two large side-facing displays on its main concourse plazas. Fans can watch NFL action on these displays during tailgate time.


UTAH JAZZ TURN TO SAMSUNG AND RevelTV TO UPGRADE DISPLAYS AT

VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA BY PAUL KAPUSTKA


A SMART UPGRADE: AS PART OF A $125M MAKEOVER, VIVINT SMART HOME ARENA INSTALLED 600+ NEW DIGITAL DISPLAYS...

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ivint Smart Home Arena, one of the oldest NBA venues, now has one of the more advanced in-arena digital display systems, thanks to a recent deployment of 600- plus Samsung “system on a chip” screens, which don’t require a separate digital media player to operate. Part of a recent remodel of the home of the Utah Jazz, the new display screens are mounted throughout the concourses, in club areas and suites, as well as in concession stands. Run on management software from RevelTV, the screens currently show a mix of live game action and an ever-changing program of advertisements, both from outside sponsors as well as inside marketing programs for Jazz tickets and tickets to other events like concerts. The displays are also used for concessions menu boards, often mounted next to other displays showing

live action so that fans waiting in concession lines don’t miss a single Rudy Gobert dunk or a Joe Ingles 3-pointer. Those fans also now see an increasingly growing number of messages, all pushed from a central location on a system that seems light years ahead of the stadium’s previous display technology. Replacing static screens

In a recent tour of the stadium before a home game against the Denver Nuggets, BJ Vander Linden, CIO for Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment (the Jazz owners), said many things inside Vivint Smart Home Arena were changed during a recent $125 million makeover. In addition to some physical and structural changes – mainly opening up walls and turning former office space into open-air club spaces – Vivint Smart Home Arena also got a big digital display upgrade. “We wanted to make it more simple to put things on the walls,” said Vander Linden of one of the overarching signage strategies. The Jazz also wanted to move past VENUE DISPLAY REPORT

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SYSTEM ON A CHIP: DIGITAL MEDIA PLAYERS (DMPs) ARE EMBEDDED DIRECTLY INTO SAMSUNG’S SMART SIGNAGE.

Clockwise from top: A close-up of an LED ribbon board; a 1x4 display wall in the main concourse; a close look at the minimal amount of gear needed to mount system-ona-chip displays; a look at the in-bowl ribbon boards. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR


One of the big corner display screens inside the seating bowl

the arena’s former display technology, which used digital media players (DMPs) on the backs of screens. According to Vander Linden, that system had fixed programs for each display, which couldn’t be easily changed. “You would just sell them one time for the entire season,” Vander Linden said.

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fter dealing with Samsung’s Prismview division for its new center-hung video display and its in-bowl ribbon boards, the Jazz decided to buy in to Samsung’s so-called “system on a chip” (or SOC) Smart Signage display technology, where the DMPs are essentially embedded into the display itself. Ed Stock, global account manager for sports and entertainment at Samsung, said the SOC displays not only cut deployment costs significantly by making the DMP costs go away, they are also easier to deploy and maintain since they only require a network

connection and power, which can sometimes be deployed in a PoE (power over Ethernet) connection. “If each DMP costs you $500 and you’re installing 600 screens, the costs can really add up,” Stock said. Systemon-a-chip displays, he said, “can save you a ton of money.” ‘Like selling TV ads’

Also part of the display partnership was RevelTV (also known as Revel Media Group of Kaysville, Utah), which provides the content management system that runs the display programs, as well as templates and designs for screens and displays of all types and sizes, including concession menu boards and multi-screen display panels. RevelTV president and CEO Brian Fitzpatrick said that RevelTV also has a game-day operator on hand to help the Jazz run their display show, as well as design teams who can help ensure that content looks like it should in the 12 different resolutions found in the mix of displays at Vivint Smart Home Arena. VENUE DISPLAY REPORT

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These concourse display panels continually switch out different messages and images on each screen, managed by the RevelTV system.

Vander Linden said the Utah Jazz can now sell a wide range of display-based options, including messages timed to live events.

“It’s like selling TV ads,” Vander Linden said.

Currently in its inventory, the Jazz sell all-screen “takeovers” for game action like 3-point shots or a Rudy Gobert block or dunk. If the arena’s main competition really is the fan’s living room couch, Vander Linden said having a display system that can keep creating visual energy only helps to make the live event an even more entertaining place to be. For now, Vander Linden likes that the new display systems are easier to maintain, and easier to expand to 14

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places where there previously were no displays. In the future, he foresees even more flexibility and opportunity with the new display system, perhaps adding elements like facial recognition (where the displays could sense how long people look at the screen) and machine learning to figure out better places to put displays or how long to run different pieces of content. But right now, with live game action right next to sponsor messages as well as advertisements for upcoming events (like concerts) at Vivint Smart Home Arena, the concourse display system is already helping Vander Linden and the Jazz keep its fans entertained and informed, while improving its own bottom line – and keeping that couch empty. VDR


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SYNCHRONIZED

POWER PLAY SHARKS BRING ‘EXCITEMENT’ TO SAP CENTER CONCOURSES WITH NEW DIGITAL DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY FROM DAKTRONICS AND CISCO BY PAUL KAPUSTKA


A live-action display near a 2x3 display wall in a club section at SAP Center. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, MSR

“IF YOU’RE A TRUE HOCKEY FAN... YOU NEVER WANT TO GO TO THE GAME AND FEEL LIKE YOU’RE MISSING SOMETHING.”

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f you’re an ice hockey fan, you are no doubt somewhat addicted to the excitement of seeing games live, in person. Yet one historical drawback to going to games has always been fearing those moments when you need or want to leave your seat, when missing out on the unpredictable action makes waiting in lines excruciating. While many teams in all kinds of sports have been busy installing television screens in concourses and concession areas to help keep fans connected to the live action, at SAP Center in San Jose the NHL’s Sharks have taken concourse display technology to a new level: With cutting-edge LED displays from Daktronics and Cisco Vision IPTV display management software from Cisco, the Sharks have turned what used to be basically a dark concrete tunnel into a well-lit, display-laden walkway that can bring live game action and exciting, engaging marketing messages to fans while they are outside the bowl, keeping the excitement level high no matter where in the building a fan might be.

The most visible part of the new display deployment, one installed in phases over the last two seasons, are the concourse LED boards from Daktronics, displays that were custom designed for the stadium’s walkways. Robin Hall, a regional manager for the Brookings, S.D.-based Daktronics, said there were a total of 17 displays added to the main concourse at SAP Center, all 3 1/2-feet tall but in many different widths, with one measuring almost 66 feet wide. Narrow Pixel Pitch LEDs make a difference

John Castro, vice president of corporate partnerships for the Sharks, said the concourse displays are just the latest step in an ongoing process to “keep the venue updated and modernized.” Now celebrating its 25th year in existence, SAP Center recently hosted the NHL’s AllStar Game and is a regular stop for such big-ticket events as NCAA basketball regionals and U.S. Figure Skating championships.

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Top to bottom: The large LED screen in the main concourse entry; a pendant showing a live action/ ad split; pendant displays and wall displays in synchronized ad displays.


One of the new LED panels above the main entry doorway

In 2010, Castro said the arena added a new Daktronics center-hung video board, which has distinctive circular ribbon boards above and below that synchronize with the ribbon board that circles the arena in the middle of the seating areas. A few years ago, the arena put out an RFP to bring Wi-Fi to the stadium, and when it picked Cisco for the gear supplier, it also decided to use Cisco Vision to synchronize a new display strategy for the building’s main concourse. “The idea was, let’s emulate what people see in the seats and bring it to the concourse,” Castro said. What was eventually installed over the past two seasons were the new wall-mounted displays, which joined the 240 TV screens and the 16 hanging pendant displays (with six screens each) that were already in the concourses. According to Castro the Sharks took down eight static signs to make room for the new, interactive displays. All the new displays make use of Daktronic’s new Narrow Pixel Pitch (NPP) technology, which feature 2.5-millimeter line spacing. The close alignment of the LED lights in the displays makes them sharp even from close distances, with a look and feel more like a traditional TV screen than an LED ribbon board.

By using LED technology, not only are the boards more flexible in what kind of content they can carry, but they are also cheaper and more resilient than TV screens, something Hall said matters a lot to venues like SAP Center that may see up to 300 live events a year. “If you have TVs, you have to replace them often, and over a lot of hours [the expense] is hard to justify,” said Hall. With its LED technology, Daktronics was able to create custom size boards to fit different areas in the concourse (like above the entry and exit doorways, or above the main entry openings to the seating bowl), giving the Sharks lots of flexibility to build their new concourse viewing experience. Bringing Cisco Vision to control displays

To make fans take notice of the new displays, the Sharks turned to Cisco and its Cisco Vision IPTV display management system, which allows teams and venues to program and run multiple displays from a single management system. Cisco also brings to the table years of experience in designing, deploying and selling display systems and system content, which can help teams like the Sharks not only keep fans more engaged but also help the team improve its digital ad sales. VENUE DISPLAY REPORT

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Synchronized ad displays on the pendants can draw fans’ eyes down the concourse to track the motion.

Cisco, which supplied the Wi-Fi gear when SAP Center got its new wireless networks a couple years ago, teamed up with network deployment partner AmpThink to deploy a new display system at the same time, often doubling up on infrastructure. At many points inside the arena, a display screen is mounted in the same space as a Wi-Fi access point, an efficient design that combines aesthetics (the APs are hidden behind the screens) with cost savings.

hanging over the walkways to create a visual “wall” that draws the eye.

According to Ken Martin, executive director of digital transformation for the consumer industries in the Americas and for the sports and entertainment industry globally at Cisco, the Sharks’ previous display system was limited in its capabilities, especially in the ability to change things like menu boards easily between events. Martin also said the Sharks had four different signage solutions for the various boards and displays throughout the stadium, making it hard to coordinate programming across screens.

“Whether you turn left or right, you’re always going to see an LED,” Castro said.

Now with Cisco Vision in place, the Sharks can build “shows” of content and advertising that flow from screen to screen, or arrive simultaneously on multiple screens to increase the visual effect. Inside the SAP Center concourses, the new Daktronics panels combine with the previously existing infrastructure of screen displays 20

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“The way [the screens] are positioned, you cannot stand in the SAP Center concourses without being hit by something,” Cisco’s Martin said. The Sharks’ Castro said there “was a lot of discussion and research” about the placement of the signs.

Using digital displays to entertain and inform

Through its professional services that are part of the Cisco Vision deal, Cisco also helps the Sharks brainstorm with potential sponsors to create digital display advertising ideas, and then also helps create, produce and run the “show” of ads that streams across all the stadium’s displays. A current campaign with BMW is an example of using all concourse screens simultaneously to create an immersive feel to the advertising. “Part of what we do is show customers the art of the possible,” said Martin, who said many demonstrations of digital-display potential can happen in his team’s exten-


80 PERCENT OF THE SHARKS NEW DIGITAL DISPLAY SPONSORSHIP BUSINESS INCLUDES CISCO VISION INTEGRATION...

Menu board displays next to a live-action screen keep fans at a concourse bar engaged with the game.

sive demo room at Cisco, where they have 27 different types of screens to model just about any possible stadium deployment. Though much of the digital advertising industry in venues is still in an adolescent stage, Martin said that sponsors are “way more educated than they have ever been,” and know now that they can ask for particulars like having ads shown at certain times, or to have advertising content “wrapped” around live action on partial screen real estate, like an “L-wrap.”

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ith Cisco Vision, the Sharks are able to not just coordinate a “show” of ads and other content during the game, but they can also break in and trigger special screen content when something happens live, like a goal being scored. Such “takeover” moments are just another new asset that can be added to the ROI for a smart digital display solution, something not possible with static display systems. Such timely messages can really catch the fans’ eye, especially so at hockey games where people pay attention when they aren’t in their seats. “If you’re a true hockey fan, you have your concourse timing down to a science,” said Daktronic’s Hall. “You

never want to go to the game and feel like you’re missing something.” To help those fans, one of the live action content pieces run across most of the concourse boards at SAP Center is a live clock that counts down the time until live action starts again. “It can really be a showstopper, to use the screens and video walls, especially when they are all synchronized to the same message,” Cisco’s Martin said. “You’re going to get people to stop and pay attention.” For the Sharks, the new system is already returning dividends; according to Castro, some 80 percent of all new digital display sponsorship business includes Cisco Vision integration as part of the opportunity. “It helps [ads] rise above the clutter,” Castro said of the new display system. “You can see the impact on the brands as well as on the fans.” “It’s like putting on a show in the concourse,” Daktronic’s Hall said of the new system. “It really extends the in-bowl experience through the whole venue.” VDR VENUE DISPLAY REPORT

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