Amway Tour: New Technologies Enhance NBA Fan, Sponsor Experience

Robyn Kurth, a writer with a background in scripting, speechwriting, and video production, reports from the SVG Venue Tour of Orlando’s Amway Center.

Built with the latest IPTV and digital signage technology, Orlando’s Amway Center was designed with NBA fans and sponsors in mind. On March 2, as part of SVG’s Venue Tour Series, nearly 100 professionals in the IT, video, and sports industry had the opportunity to tour the facility and learn how IPTV screens and digital-signage technology have given sponsors the flexibility to reach audiences in every level of the arena.

“We really wanted to create an entertainment destination,” said Charlie Freeman, EVP of business development for the Orlando Magic, who noted that the team’s previous venue, the Amway Arena (which opened in 1989 and closed in 2010) offered patrons little more than a place to park, watch a game, and leave.

When the Orlando Magic hosted their first home game in the Amway Center on 10-10-10, fans were greeted with high-definition content on more than 1,100 IPTV screens, which included the main scoreboard, auxiliary screens and LED ribbon displays, personal touchscreen televisions in loge seating areas, and screens in the concourse areas and at all of the concession stands. Before, during, and after the game, fan engagement and interaction with the video board is continuous, with ample opportunities for fans to see themselves on the big screen.

Audio is also a slam dunk for the new arena.

“I am most happy and most proud of the sound system,” said Rick Price, assistant director of broadcast technology and services for the Orlando Magic. “The scoreboard is equally validated, enhanced, and brought to the fans through that sound system. It’s equally impressive on both sides of the audio/visual perspective.”

Between the arena bowl, the path of travel along concourse hallways, concession stands, restaurants, and bars in the Club level, and the all-access areas in the Promenade and Terrace levels, one of the biggest challenges was programming all of the digital signage.

“We ended up having 20-25 programming zones that each had its own rotation,” said Kevin Cosgrove, director of broadcast production for the Orlando Magic. “We would have 327 rotations going on in the building for one Magic game.”

Cosgrove credited Punctuate Systems for automating the process and emphasized the importance of hiring skilled motion-graphic artists to prepare the advertising artwork for the dozen iterations of screen sizes. “I think all of our digital signage is just beautiful art,” he said.

Chip Bowers, SVP of corporate partnerships and marketing for the Orlando Magic, recalled that some of the major sponsors had to adjust to the idea of giving up large static signs in favor of digital signage, but many advertisers have benefited from “Moments of Exclusivity,” when all the screens in the arena bowl carry the logo of a single sponsor at the same time.

“We believe in the sponsorship world that people come prepared to be advertised to,” Bowers said. “[Digital signage] works, but it’s not as in-your-face as you may have seen.”

The SVG Venue Tour of the Amway Center featured panelists from the Orlando Magic, title sponsor Harris Corp., technology sponsors Crown Castle and Ross Video, and was sponsored by ProductionHUB.com.