VENUE DISPLAY REPORT WINTER 2019-20

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WINTER 2019

CHASE CENTER DISPLAYS

WARRIORS GO

BIGGEST

DISPLAYS DRIVE FAN EXPERIENCE AT FISERVE FORUM mobilesportsreport.com



Welcome to the latest issue of our new VENUE DISPLAY REPORT series, part of our STADIUM TECH REPORTS empire! 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 the extensive digital display deployment at Chase Center, the new home of the Golden State Warriors. The new venue, built right by the bay in downtown San Francisco, has the largest centerhung board in the NBA and the most pixels ever! We also have a profile of the impressive digital display deployment at Fiserv Forum, the new home of the Milwaukee Bucks. READ ON to learn more about these cutting-edge deployments! 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: WARRIORS GO BIGGEST AT CHASE CENTER DISPLAYS DRIVE FAN EXPERIENCE AT FISERV FORUM

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WARRIORS GO

BIGGEST WITH CHASE CENTER DISPLAYS BY PAUL KAPUSTKA


WITH A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME CHANCE TO BUILD THE BEST BASKETBALL ARENA AROUND, THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS WENT ALL IN ON DIGITAL DISPLAYS AT CHASE CENTER, INSTALLING THE NBA’S LARGEST VIDEO BOARD WHILE PUTTING IN MORE PIXELS OVERALL THAN ANY OTHER ARENA IN THE LEAGUE.

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video displays inside the new $1.4 billion arena, which opened this September in San Francisco, just south of the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park alongside the San Francisco Bay. With 64 different video boards in total, which according to Samsung includes 53.6 million individual pixels – as well as another 1,100 Samsung LCD TV screens – Chase Center is as digitally visual as can be, with (according to the Warriors) 40 percent more display screen area than any other comparable-size venue.

In a mid-October visit to Chase Center, Mobile Sports Report can tell you that there is no missing the

The display deployment actually starts outside Chase Center, where at the western entry there sits a 74-foot by 42-foot screen that welcomes fans to the arena. The outdoor video board, according to the Warriors the only live video screen in the city, faces an interesting bit of architecture, a stand of steps that will serve as a de facto outdoor gathering space, a feature many stadiums are incorporating lately. Just inside that entryway sits anoth-

he the star of the show is the centerhung video board, a mammoth 9,699-square-foot display from Samsung’s Prismview with 15 separate boards, including ones underneath so the courtside fans don’t have to crane their necks too far upward. While the so-called “chandelier” dominates the view inside the Warriors’ new home, one hint that the Warriors are getting display restraint right is the fact that the board can be completely hidden if so desired, sucked up into a hiding hole in the ceiling. The hide-the-scoreboard trick seems to be proof that the Warriors care enough about the venue experience if it means they have to stow away their favorite toy every now and then.

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A look at the Warriors’ Samsung Prismview centerhung videoboard in action. Credit all photos and video: Paul Kapustka, VDR

er visual treat, a wide high-definition (1.5mm pitch) video board that provides instant connection to whatever event is taking place, whether it be a Warriors game or a concert.

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nside the main bowl, the centerhung video board dominates all views, with its incredibly crisp (6.7mm pixel pitch) main screens. While all the numbers can be staggering, according to Warriors president and COO Rick Welts, the team didn’t install the biggest and brightest displays simply to win some kind of imaginary tech title. Instead, he claims, it’s all about creating the best possible fan experience for a following that represents a unique confluence of events, namely the economic success of Silicon Valley and the recent run of NBA championships by the Warriors.

Keeping the focus on the game, or the event

“There’s no doubt we are in an arms race (in regards to stadium technology) but we didn’t want to let that drive us,” said Welts, who was our guide for a media tour of Chase Center in October. But it’s also worthwhile to note that there are probably less than a handful of other professional or college teams who could currently match the Warriors’ unique combination of a rabid fan base with immense amounts of disposable income. In a day and age when most new venues are built with at least some kind of public tax money, the Warriors’ 6

VENUE DISPLAY REPORT WINTER 2019

new $1.4 billion home was entirely privately financed, helped along by things like the new courtside premium suites, which come with their own wine locker and wine butler, and cost around $2 million per year, according to Welts. “It’s just what you can do when you combine the hottest economic model in the world [in Silicon Valley] with an amazing team,” said Welts, who noted that the courtside suites all sold out. “I would not recommend this format for most teams.” But even with more blinking lights than any other facility, the Warriors seem very conscious about not making the venue seem like the Las Vegas strip, or New York’s Times Square. Instead, the team wants to make sure that all its digital-board messaging contributes to the moment, whether that moment is a Warriors’ game or a concert or some other type of show. “The trick is to strike a balance, between commercial content and Warriors content,” said Mike Kitts, the Warriors’ senior vice president for partnerships. According to Kitts, the Warriors are working with sponsor partners to create digital messages that are at least what he calls “Warrior-esque” – such as combining some kind of basketball theme to advertising messages. “You want something that feels authentic to the moment,” Kitts said.


Clockwise from top left: Warriors president Rick Welts holds court in front of Chase Center’s outdoor display; the centerhung and its underneath screens; stats galore on the main display; and all the LED stats for the venue, courtesy of the main display.


The wide high-definition LED board inside the west lobby

WITH 23 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES AND ANOTHER 15 PART-TIME CONTRIBUTORS, THE WARRIORS THINK THEY MAY HAVE THE NBA’S BIGGEST IN-HOUSE CONTENT CREATION TEAM. Feeding the content beast with things fans want

When the San Francisco Giants installed a new huge video board at Oracle Park this past season, the Giants’ team had an interesting problem in deciding what kind of information to include on all the new space. Similarly, the Warriors’ expansive digital canvas gives the team the ability to indulge the geekiest of hoops junkies with incredibly specific information – while also trying not to overwhelm the average fan. “What we want to do is provide all the things that fans say, ‘I want.’ “ Kitts said. At a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers the Chase Center screens not only provided the regular kind of statistical information (shots made and missed) for players on the court, they also had some changing screens that could do tricks like show exactly where on the court a player just made a shot from – and what that player’s “heat check” stats were for all shots taken so far that game. 8

VENUE DISPLAY REPORT WINTER 2019

“We are continually programming [the displays],” said Paul Hawkins, the executive producer of the Warriors’ in-house content team, called Warriors Studio. “It’s a huge challenge for us as content creators to make this come to life.” To that end, the Warriors have assembled what is probably also the largest team of content creators and programmers. With 23 full-time employees and another 15 part-time contributors (“and that doesn’t count the freelancers”), the Warriors think they may have the NBA’s biggest in-house content creation team, though they say the Miami Heat may have just as many. If that seems like an excessive number, remember the stats from the start of the story – with 64 different LED boards, the math to make a single sponsor’s message fit all the different screen dimensions for an arena-wide “moment of exclusivity” is a much different challenge at Chase Center than at other arenas.


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nd even while the content team admits it’s still “not perfect yet” at dialing in its on-screen workflows, from attending both a Phil Collins concert and the Warriors game on back-to-back nights, MSR can attest that the ability to change looks and feels based on what’s on (or not on) the digital displays can significantly improve the attendee experience – including not seeing the huge centerhung display at all when we sat and listened to Phil Collins and his band playing all the hits from the musician’s vast historical library. From our limited exposure, we still think the Golden State Warriors did what they wanted to at Chase Center when it comes to digital displays: They used the biggest and best technology, but did it in a way where the technology isn’t the star – but the experience it allows is. VDR

“THE TRICK IS TO STRIKE A BALANCE, BETWEEN COMMERCIAL CONTENT AND WARRIORS CONTENT...” THE WARRIORS’ CONTENT TEAM STRIVES TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF ITS DIGITAL-BOARD MESSAGING CONTRIBUTES TO THE MOMENT – WHETHER THAT MOMENT IS A GAME OR A CONCERT. Clockwise from top left: A multi-panel display in a luxury suite; a non-digital sign; a concessions order display; interactive menu boards; big displays enhance concert stages. VENUE DISPLAY REPORT

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The Samsung Prismview main display is the largest in the NBA.


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FRONT AND

CENTER

DISPLAYS DRIVE FAN EXPERIENCE AT FISERV FORUM BY PAUL KAPUSTKA


Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum has been busy since its opening last fall. Credit all photos: Paul Kapustka, VDR

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rom a distance, the striking curved roof of Milwaukee’s new Fiserv Forum is just the first clue that this venue isn’t going to offer a run-of-the-mill arena experience. And as you get closer and then come inside, a well-designed array of digital display technology helps to bring excitement to events, while also providing the ability to increase building revenue through more signage possibilities.

space now in Milwaukee, with a big date ahead this upcoming summer when it hosts the Democratic party’s national convention. If there is one unifying theme to the digital-display design in and around the stadium, it is its ability to help transform the venue to make it take on the flavor and feel of whatever event is taking place, from an NBA game to a big concert to presidential-nominating gathering. See the glow before you enter

From the huge, curved LED screen in the main lobby and the impressive centerhung video board, Fiserv Forum embraces a thoughtful display experience that includes the Cisco Vision dynamic signage system for its 900-plus smaller screens around the venue. The overall attention paid to the digital display deployments at the venue provides an entertaining show for fans, while providing endless possibilities for sponsors looking to engage attendees in very specific ways. And though the green deer head outside the main door never lets you forget that Fiserv Forum is the home of the Milwaukee Bucks, it also is the home court for the Marquette Warriors, as well as the premium big-event 14

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In any digital display deployment, the stars are always the biggest screens, and at Fiserv Forum you get a sense of some of the bigger displays even before you enter the building. The 60 different LED displays, all from Daktronics, are first seen when approaching the arena, in large boards on the parking garage and outside structures. But inside the main entrance is a board that captures everyone’s attention, a curved panel 11.5 feet high and 43.8 feet wide with a sharp 4mm pixel pitch. During a recent visit for a Bucks game, we watched fans stop in front of the sign just after getting their tickets scanned, looking at the display and even taking selfies with the screen as the backdrop.


Above: The main entry video board grabs your attention soon after entering; Below, clockwise from left: Video boards greet fans when approaching the arena, and the glass front welcomes fans even before they step inside.


The Daktronics centerhung board provides a sharp way to bring information and entertainment to fans without distracting from action on the court.

Since the main entryway of Fiserv Forum is a huge, multi-story open lobby with all the walls painted white, anything being flashed on the curved lobby board along with another big display (called the “Supershaft,” it’s a 24-foot, 11-inch x 21-foot, 10-inch screen on a side wall about halfway up) lights up the arena in a spectacular fashion, a view visible from outside through the venue’s tall, wide front windows. “You really get the engagement [with the lobby board], as soon as you walk in,” said Tony Mulder, regional manager for Daktronics. While Mulder also notes that the board is a great place to show people how LED boards really work (“you can walk right up to it”), Fiserv Forum now has a safety ribbon in front of the screen to keep fans at arms-length distance, after some exuberant attendees at a Metallica concert actually bumped into the display at boot level. Equal views for all fans on the center-hung

Interestingly, the centerhung videoboard takes a different direction from some other new “big boards” installed in NBA arenas. Instead of being shoebox-shaped 16

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shaped to show a bigger screen to the side stands, the Fiserv Forum centerhung has four equal sides, each with a 6mm pixel pitch main screen measuring 24-feet, 11-inches by 29-feet, 1-inch. In all, the centerhung has 24 separate screens, including several underneath the structure for fans in the lowest seating areas. With smaller screens for stats above and below the main video screens, the Fiserv Forum centerhung provides a compelling display of action and information, without distracting from the game or event on the floor. “It was not a design factor [for Fiserv Forum] for the centerhung to be the biggest display out there,” said Mulder. “Fiserv was really focused on having everyone in the arena having the same experience.” Eliminating ‘white noise’ of static signage with Cisco Vision

Engaging venue attendees on a more personal level is the array of 927 TV-sized video screens, a deployment that includes screens showing live action and information all around the arena, as well as concessions menu boards.


Clockwise from top left: LED ribbon boards above and below the suites; a concourse TV and a wireless enclosure; the ‘Supershaft’ display; an animated concessions screen; and live action on the centerhung.


Above: Animation helps attract fans at concession stands; below, making sure you fear the deer.


Top: The huge curved entryway LED board grabs fans’ attention the moment they come inside; below, displays blend well into the concourse architecture.

The screens are all controlled by the Cisco Vision dynamic signage system, software that allows arena management to dynamically program, display and change what’s on video boards all from a single management platform. Kareeda Chones-Aguam, vice president of busuness strategy and activation for the Milwaukee Bucks, said that at the Bucks’ previous home, the Bradley Center, inarena signage consisted mostly of backlit static screens that changed, if at all, on a yearly basis. “There were a limited amount of TVs [in the Bradley Center] and fans would see the same thing for years on end,” Chones-Aguam said. That kind of signage, she said, “can kind of turn into white noise if you just see the same things over and over again.” Moving to Fiserv Forum, Chones-Aguam and the Bucks went in a completely different direction. After doing pre-construction research with other arenas around the country, the Bucks went with Cisco Vision as their digital-display management platform.

“We wanted to have the best system, and so far Cisco Vision has been great,” Chones-Aguam said. Aside from its success stories from other arenas and its reliability, Chones-Aguam said the system’s ability to allow the team to differentiate what’s on every display in a managed, controlled fashion has greatly expanded its ability to offer partners a wide range of advertising and activation options. For instance, Chones-Aguam said, the Cisco Vision system can allow the Bucks to segment an offer by times of the games or events, or to be segmented to different seating areas, from stadium-wide to only premium levels. “Once a partner sees it [the Cisco Vision dynamic signage system], they get it,” Chones-Aguam said. Ken Martin, executive director for global sales in Cisco’s Sports and Entertainment division, said Cisco partnered with Johnson Controls to bring the Cisco Vision dynamic signage deployment to Fiserv Forum, helping the Bucks along the way with Cisco’s extensive experience in formatting, pricing and selling digital display partnerships. VENUE DISPLAY REPORT

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The Fiserv Forum display strategy extends to the Mecca bar in the Deer District plaza that borders the venue, where this Daktronics display dominates the main seating area.

“It’s only partially the technology [of the display system] that matters,” Martin said. “Content is a huge part of the strategy what you need to accomplish when you have a world-class venue.” And sponsors these days, Martin said, demand a digital solution. “If they can’t do something in digital, they will go spend their money somewhere else,” Martin said. Ron Kiepert, director of information technology for the Bucks, said the biggest benefit of the Cisco Vision dynamic signage system is its ability to “display whatever you want, wherever you want.” From being able to do moment-of-exclusivity takeovers of all the screens in the building to the seemingly simple yet incredibly powerul ability to dynamically change pricing or delete menu items from a concession-stand screen, Kiepert said the Cisco Vision dynamic signage system makes many things possible. “Not having to go to Photoshop [to change a menu price] is very important to our food and beverage people,’ Kiepert said. 20

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Front and center: Making displays part of the experience

For Chones-Aguam, the proof of the power of a harmonized digital display strategy comes at moments like the Bucks’ “Red Bull Run-On,” a full-screen takeover that happens at 20 minutes before game time. Even if fans aren’t looking directly at a screen when the moment happens, the concerted power of a widespread, synchronized video and audio message becomes part of a game-day experience, a “call to action” that alerts fans that the team is coming to the court. The displays, she said, “can be a great benefit for the fans, especially when it’s something new and appealing.” As the team and its sponsors keep pushing the envelope on what is imaginable, Chones-Aguam can foresee more customization, like messages only for family areas, or sponsored weather messages at the end of games to help fans get safely home. “We’ve only started to scratch the surface on what is possible,” she said. VDR


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