Sports venues on campuses and in communities are revenue generators that bring communities together, connecting people within them and engaging spectators in a unique way that can’t be accomplished on the flat screen TV in your living room. In the recent AVIXA 2018 Market Opportunity Analysis Report (MOAR), nearly one hundred percent of venue executives surveyed plan to upgrade their audio equipment in the next year. Second to audio came video displays and projection. These results indicate the importance that executives are placing on AV systems in their facilities and the trend towards better audio and video in stadium and arenas. But, with the crowd thrilling status of these venues come challenges to provide quality AV to keep the fans coming back for more.
For new builds, expansions, or renovations, a key component to planning an effective AV system is to bring AV consultants in at an early stage. If architects and AV integrators work together, then potential hiccups can be avoided further down the road such as materials used that can inhibit sound distribution or make AV installation more difficult by impeding the ability to wire necessary equipment. If the relationship between integrators and architects is established early, then a cohesive plan that won’t have to be reworked later on will make the design phase shorter and simpler, while ensuring that the structure of the building and the AV systems work together nicely.
The Video WOW Factor
To keep fans wanting more, the video in venue has to compete, otherwise they may choose to spend their time elsewhere. Video scoreboards, ribbon board displays, digital signage and televisions are all part of the dynamic content that can be utilized at these venues and must be monitored and content must be updated regularly. Consider whether these will be indoor or outdoor to determine brightness and durability in weather conditions. Even indoor venues often have outdoor digital signage. Maintenance will be necessary and access to some displays may prove difficult in some cases, so planning ahead is vital to keeping maintenance to a minimum.
Audio for the Masses
Arenas and Stadiums offer complicated structures, loud crowds and sometimes weather conditions to contend with. Speakers must be loud enough to be heard over the fans, while taking sound spillage into local neighborhoods into account. Temperature changes and wind can alter sound, steering it in different directions. And the circular, enclosed nature of these venues along with their own individual structural challenges account for another host of issues. Therefore, speaker placement and choice is crucial to hinder pockets that may otherwise end up with sound that is too loud or not loud enough.
Speakers and sound distribution aren’t the only things to account for when focusing on audio in stadiums and arenas. For the hearing impaired, assistive listening systems must be provided to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Most sports venues are currently using RF-based listening solutions, so careful attention must be paid to antenna placement and radio frequencies used to ensure the best performance.