MSG Networks Lights Up Seventh Ave. With Highest-Resolution Displays in NYC
Four street-level videoboards also boast the smallest pixel pitch
Between the commuters streaming in and out of Penn Station and the sports fans and tourists milling around Madison Square Garden, the corner of Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street in Manhattan is one of the city’s busiest junctures. And now that crowd, estimated to number more than 1 million people per day, will walk by four state-of-the-art high-resolution video displays promoting MSG Networks.
The four displays, located outside MSG Networks’ street-front studios at 11 Penn Plaza, feature the highest resolution and smallest pixel pitch (6.67 mm) in New York City — even compared with the blindingly bright displays 10 blocks north in Times Square.
“We were looking to get the best quality that we possibly could,” says Gerard Passaro, SVP, network and technical operations, MSG Networks. “We worked with SNA Displays — they have a lot of displays in Times Square — and they showed us all different products. We liked the 6.67-mm boards that they had just rolled out at the time these boards were installed [at 11 Penn Plaza].”
Previously, Fuse Media occupied the street-front space with its own displays and company marquee, which had been in place since the early 2000s. However, when Fuse Media moved its headquarters from 11 Penn Plaza to One Penn Plaza last year, the wall real estate was up for grabs.
“We decided that would be a very good branding opportunity for the network to install four brand-new, state-of-the-art videoboards [there] so we can promote our programming and integrate all our partners into the programming,” says Passaro.
Now, as passersby walk around the southeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street, they’ll see a 10-ft.-long MSG Networks marquee and the four 9- by 9-ft. LED displays. The displays, unveiled last month, join the outdoor displays at the D Casino Hotel Las Vegas as the only 6.67-mm outdoor displays in the U.S.
MSG Networks can program the displays individually or treat the four as a single canvas on which to play animation, run graphics, or promote programming. The network’s marketing department is responsible for developing the video strategy, scheduling the content throughout the day and night, and running the displays. According to Passaro, after originally running the displays on a Mac Mini, the department decided to transition to a ~sedna digital-signage system for added versatility.
Once the New York Knicks return to the hardwood and the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and New Jersey Devils return to the ice, MSG Networks plans to use the displays to heavily promote its game telecasts. In total, the broadcaster delivers more than 400 live professional games a year to viewers.
“These new video displays create another high-impact vehicle to showcase our brands, content, studios, and partners,” says Andrea Greenberg, president/CEO, MSG Networks, in a press release. “This will be a great opportunity to promote our award-winning content to a million people that pass by every day.”
MSG Networks is no stranger to pushing the technological envelope. In 1998, it established itself as the first regular provider of sports coverage in HD; in 2010, it was the first to produce a hockey telecast in 3D (and was the first U.S. network to offer viewers a live 3D sports telecast).
“We’ve always tried to be cutting-edge, ever since we were the first network to do HD and the first network to try 3D in 2010,” says Passaro. “We looked at this as a nice step to being able to promote the brand outside of the building. If you think about it, there’s about a million people who’ll come and go from Penn Station every day and after Knicks and Rangers [games] and all the shows at the Garden. It allows us to promote our products in front of all these different people. That’s really why we did it. We think that it is a great promotional opportunity for the network.”