Pepsi Center A/V Upgrades Give Denver Sports Fans Another Reason To Cheer
Denver-based sports fans have been served a feast of videoboard delights recently. Two of the city’s three major pro-sports venues have unveiled significant audio/video-system upgrades. Just two months after the Broncos’ season kicked off with a massive new videoboard and enhanced sound system, the Pepsi Center — home to the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, and National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth — has unveiled one of the largest in-arena videoboards in the world and a wholly revamped audio system.
“The fan reaction has been tremendous thus far,” says Billi Capra, VP of broadcast services, Kroenke Sports Enterprises (which owns and operates the Pepsi Center). “I’m blown away by the difference in crowd response. Fans are just so much more engaged.”
It’s not just the fans, of course, that benefit from the upgrades. Prior to the renovations, Capra and her video team were still using mostly the original SD equipment and the SD center-hung videoboard installed when the Pepsi Center opened in 1999. Today, they find themselves in a state-of-art control room creating HD content for a massive new center-hung Daktronics videoboard that stretches from 3-point line to 3-point line for basketball and spans both blue lines for hockey.
“It’s like night and day,” Capra says of the upgrades. “We were definitely ready to move on. Last fall, [owner Stan] Kroenke saw some other arenas that had recently upgraded, like the Houston Rockets’ and Indiana Pacers’, and got to thinking about upgrading our facility. So we started some serious research.”
The Control Room
The Pepsi Center team enlisted WJHW to design and Diversified Systems to integrate the HD control room, which is built around a 5M/E Grass Valley Karrera production switcher and features a significant amount of Grass Valley gear.
“Diversified Systems brought an incredible deal to the table that they had crafted with Grass Valley, with very aggressive pricing and top-of-the-line equipment,” says Capra. “They provided a substantial allowance toward the budget if we would allow them to use our arena as a showcase for [Grass Valley technology].”
In addition to the Karrera switcher, the other Grass Valley equipment includes K2 Dyno replay systems, a Trinix NXT router, a K2 production SAN, and three LDX Elite cameras. The Pepsi Center will also implement Grass Valley’s Stratus non-linear production system in conjunction with eight Adobe Premier Pro non-linear editing suites (once Adobe releases the GV Stratus plug-in).
Other gear includes a ChryonHego Mosaic graphics platform, Evertz multiviewers, several Panasonic robotic POV cameras, a Vislink RF wireless camera system (with a Sony PMW500 camera), and a new clock-and-scorebug graphics system from Graphics Outfitters.
The Pepsi Center production team also has access to secondary control room, which features a five-person console, 2 M/E switcher, Chyron HyperX graphics, and access to a separate audio booth, K2 Dyno replay, cameras, and son.
The Videoboard and LED Displays
The center-hung videoboard, among the largest indoor boards in the world in terms of viewing-area square footage, is composed of two 1080p 27-ft-high x 48-ft-long center displays and two 21-ft.-high x 25-ft.-wide end-facing displays. The new boards will contain more than 8.5 million pixels in total and can handle limitless configurations for displaying live action, game stats, and animations.
The Pepsi Center also recently completed installation of more than 300 new HD LED screens throughout the concourses, as well as four ancillary LED display boards in each of the four corners of the upper level. All displays run on a Cisco StadiumVision IPTV system.
The Sound System
The new loudspeakers comprise six 20-ft.-high line arrays, with four subwoofers mounted behind each array. Each loudspeaker has a maximum power-handling capability of 1,600 W; each subwoofer, 2,400 W. Covering the spectator seating is a sound system featuring 43 four-channel amplifiers rated at 9,600 W each, for a total of 412,800 W.
The system was installed by LVW Electronics and designed by WJHW using a 3D acoustic-modeling system that accurately predicts sound coverage, intelligibility, and levels.