Venue News: Washington State University Installs 3D Technology in Suites; Harvard Plans New Basketball Arena

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

Washington State University has rolled out 3D technology in the suites at Martin Stadium, which industry experts believe is the first sports facility in North America to complete a permanent installation. A company called 3D-4U, co-founded by Sankar Jayaram, a Washington State professor of mechanical engineering and computer science, has developed proprietary technology that gives suite users exclusive access to live action and replays in 3D on 47-inch high-definition televisions. The technology gives patrons control over four unique camera feeds placed in both end zones and on the 25 yard lines on the stadium’s south sideline, where 21 new suites opened this season as part of a $65 million stadium renovation. Using a remote control device, fans in the suites get to choose the camera angle they prefer with the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom in on the action. They can navigate their own replays and focus the automated cameras on individual players.To view the technology in 3-D, suite attendees must wear 3-D glasses provided in every skybox. The unique camera angles can also be viewed in traditional 2-D format, Jayaram said…

…On the heels of a record-breaking basketball season and in the midst of a dominant run for Crimson football, Harvard will replace its undersized basketball stadium and renovate the nation’s oldest football stadium. Jeremy L. Gibson, senior associate director of Harvard Athletics, said at a Harvard-Allston Task Force meeting Thursday night that the new basketball arena, which will be built between 2017 and 2022, will provide more seats for a program which has received increasing attention over the past few years, peaking in Harvard’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament in 66 years last spring. Harvard sold out every home Ivy League game last season in Lavietes Pavilion, which has been the home of Harvard basketball since 1982. With a seating capacity of 2,195, Lavietes is currently the second-smallest basketball arena in the Ivy League, just 95 seats larger than Dartmouth’s Leede Arena…

…The King County Council and the Seattle City Council gave their final approval Monday to an agreement to build a $490 million basketball and hockey arena in the city, despite the threat of a lawsuit from longshore workers. The County Council approved it unanimously, while the City Council voted 7-2. Both bodies had previously OK’d different versions of the deal. Mayor Mike McGinn called the votes important steps toward bringing professional men’s basketball back to Seattle. Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen is leading a group that wants to build the $490 million arena near the existing Mariners and Seahawks stadiums with $200 million in public financing…

…The storied 84-year-old Ivor Wynne Stadium will be demolished in December, giving way in 2014 to a new $145.7-million state-of-the-art facility that will be the new home of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and, in 2015, the host to all 32 men’s and women’s soccer games at the Pan Am Games. The new stadium — which will be renamed Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium for the Games — will feature two tiers of seats on both sides of the field with an initial seating capacity of 22,500. But that could expand to 40,000 seats for major events like the Grey Cup. It will meet all the technical requirements of both the CFL and FIFA, soccer’s governing body. The new facility will have a seating capacity of roughly 24,000 for Ticats home games and will also feature 700 club seats located between the 25-yard lines, 400 group sales suites seats, 30 VIP suites, six elevators, larger seats, updated press and broadcasting facilities and concession stands on all levels…

…Bristol Motor Speedway is reviewing plans to convert its lower-level seats in Turns 1 and 2 into open-air, VIP boxes, a move that track executives believe would improve the fan experience while also reducing the track’s total capacity. The proposed VIP boxes, which were drafted by designers at Bristol’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports Inc., would be similar to what is offered at many outdoor concert venues. They would offer a premium and exclusive experience to fans who still want to be outdoors and close to the racing action. There’s a possibility that the boxes would provide access to a nearby party deck that would be 10 feet back from the fence around the track.