By Max Rettig
Fans at this year’s Super Bowl will be able to take home more than just the ticket and a very memorable experience. Perhaps they’ll be able to stump their friends with trivia, too.
SportsMEDIA Technology announced it is debuting a system, called 1st & Ten, that will integrate real-time statistics with the graphics shown on the screens at Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium. 1st & Ten is the system that presents in-game graphics such as the line of scrimmage, first-down line, and yards-to-go arrows.
According to the announcement, Next Gen Stats will be presented, along with the graphics productions, on U.S. Bank Stadium’s two end zone HD video screens—measuring 120 x 68 feet and 88 x 51 feet— and 2,000 HD displays throughout the stadium’s concourses. SMT uses DualChannel SportsCG, a graphics publishing system that allows a single on-site operator to take in-game data and present it on screen.
“As an organization, the Minnesota Vikings constantly look for innovative strategies that provide the best fan experience possible, and SMT’s in-stadium solution is the perfect complement to our new video boards,” Allen Wertheimer, Senior Manager of Production for the Minnesota Vikings, said in a statement.
“For years, we’ve heard from fans that they want the same innovative technology in-stadium that they get at home. Now, with SMT’s Next Gen Stats and virtual 1st and Ten system on the video boards, we can offer them in-game stats they wouldn’t get watching from home,” Wertheimer added.
Those stats could include anything from who ran the fastest to which zones the quarterback has thrown to most, the announcement revealed. With broadcast technologies improving and offering fans more information than ever on their TVs or mobile devices, SMT’s in-stadium production, similar in concept to MLB’s StatCast, is a reason for football fans to come out to the stadium.
“With SMT’s Dual-Channel SportsCG combined with the new version of the NFL’s Next-Gen Stats data feed—a feed packaged specifically for NFL teams’ in-stadium production needs—operators have the freedom to produce the shows that give fans a unique ‘wow’ factor they can’t get when watching on their 60-inch flat screens,” Ben Mark, SMT’s product manager, said in a statement.
SMT’s 1st & Ten service has won 31 Emmy awards and has been featured most prominently on Monday Night Football with ABC and ESPN, the announcement said. It has also been seen in many Super Bowl broadcasts and on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Marks added: “Our video board production provides the ultimate Game Day experience for fans, who will happily return to stadiums for the thrill of the live game combined with in-game analysis from Next Gen Stats along with the yellow first down line they’ve come to depend on.”
Max Rettig writes for SportsTechie.
A new chilled water plant in Baltimore that is a collaboration among Veolia Energy Baltimore Cooling, the Baltimore Convention Center, and the Maryland Stadium Authority has eliminated 6,137 tons of carbon and saves the city nearly $190,000 in electricity costs annually.
The project has been called a win for sustainable district energy infrastructure and the potential for green technology to improve energy efficiencies and customers’ quality of life while also stimulating the local economy.
The Baltimore Convention Center is now home to a 5,400-ton capacity Plant 1 facility and will provide chilled water to the convention center, Camden Station at Oriole Park, and more than 50 major customers in the city. The plants are operated by Veolia, a subsidiary of Veolia North America, a leading provider of environmental solutions and optimized resource management.
As for the numbers, the plant eliminates 60,000 pounds of R-22, an ozone-depleting refrigerant, and will save the city an estimated $189,172 in annual electricity costs due to the plant’s new efficient infrastructure. By utilizing nighttime electricity reserves to produce up to 48,000 ton-hours of ice storage capacity, the plant maximizes additional equipment efficiencies.
Long-time IAVM member Peggy Daidakis, executive director of the Baltimore Convention Center, is thrilled about the new water plant and addressed her thoughts in a wire story.
“As sustainability and ‘green’ meetings become increasingly important in the hospitality industry, we are challenged to find innovative ways to leverage partnerships with our local and state governments, as well as private industry, to satisfy the ever increasing expectations of our clientele,” she said. “The new Chilled Water Plant 1 is in step with helping us reach our sustainability goals for cleaner, greener meetings.”
“By providing technical, legal, and financial guidance, the Maryland Stadium Authority is pleased to be part of the team that worked tirelessly to ensure that the Baltimore Convention Center provides an excellent customer experience that benefits the local economy and environment,” added Michael Frenz, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Sheffield Arena in the United Kingdom has a new naming rights agreement in hand to become the FlyDSA Arena. The exact deal details were not revealed although it is known to be a six-figure naming rights agreement with Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA).
The early phase of the three-year deal will heavily involve promoting the Doncaster Sheffield Airport as well as the arena and the greater Sheffield area.
The arena was built to host the World Student Games and was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on May 30, 1991. The venue can accommodate audiences from a theatre style 3,500 up to a 13,600-capacity, making it the region’s biggest capacity indoor arena. The Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team serve as the primary tenant with 25-30 home games a year.
In the summer of 2013 the venue underwent a multi-million pound investment and now has a new roof, doors, seats, lighting, catering and restroom facilities.
As part of the transition to FlyDSA Arena, the venue will go through massive rebranding to include tickets, venue branding, posters, promotional materials, signing inside and outside the arena and all advertising.
Interestingly, the venue opened as Sheffield Arena but from 2002-07 was known as the Hallam FM arena before returning to its original name. In a different five-year period it was known as Motorpoint Arena Sheffield.
In other news at the facility, general manager Rob O’Shea departed to give full attention and focus to his event promotions firm, Manifesto Events. O’Shea was succeeded in the GM position by his former deputy, Joe Waldron.
The Texas Rangers have unveiled renderings of their new $1.1 billion ballpark – Globe Life Field – which is set to open in 2020.
Impressive? To say the least. Necessary? Just ask the fans who swelter in the open-air heat of the current venue.
The team announced that the new approximate 41,000-capacity retractable roof venue will indeed open before the first pitch is thrown in the 2020 season. During a press conference that showed off all the considerable charm of Globe Life Field, it was emphasized that this will be the first “next-generation” ballpark.
In terms of similarities, Globe Life Field will most closely align with two venues that house NFL teams in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
There will still be some good old-fashioned Texas sunshine as the retractable roof will feature a skylight. Even when the roof is closed, natural light will be able to indirectly filter into the stadium with affecting players’ or fans’ vision. The roof will retract to the west, so in the event that rains comes in a torrential downpour, the infield will be the first thing to get covered instead of the outfield.
Another nod in the new park is the creation of an intimate environment with a three-tier roof. The park will house the first known 360-degree, uninterrupted upper concourse, so as to eliminate obstructions between it and the field.
Rob Matwick, the team’s executive vice president for baseball operations, called the new venue “amazing,” a term not loosely thrown around.
“A lot of hours went into this in short amount of time,” he said. “A building like this gives us opportunities that just don’t exist today at Globe Life Park.
One possible new feature is that safety netting can be extended around the entire lower bowl seating, a change from the current configuration where netting extends to the end of both dugouts.
Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin on September 28.
By Shibani Mahtani
Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal
Dean Gladden breathed a sigh of relief two years ago when a $46.5 million renovation of the Alley Theatre, the first major improvement in the Tony Award-winning theater’s five-decade history, was finally completed.
Standing in the theater’s flood-damaged, putrid-smelling basement almost two weeks after Hurricane Harvey dumped trillions of gallons of rain on the nation’s fourth largest city, Mr. Gladden was almost breathless.
“I thought I was done, that the renovation was the last big project of my career,” Mr. Gladden said as he walked through the pitch-dark theater. “And now, here we are.”
Harvey’s record-setting floods hit Houston’s downtown theater district, just feet from a bayou, particularly hard.
Cultural buildings including the Wortham Center, home to the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet, and Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, where the Houston Symphony performs, suffered major water damage. But the Alley Theatre, inundated with over 10 feet of water, faces some of the most severe losses.
The Alley Theatre basement houses not just the complex’s electrical system but also a smaller, 310-seat stage, the Neuhaus Theatre; rehearsal rooms; changing rooms; and thousands of props and costumes. These were all but destroyed when black water—a combination of sewage, chemicals and rainwater—submerged the space.
As waters receded, new threats emerged. The seats in the Neuhaus Theater are covered in a thick layer of mold and will have to be completely ripped out. Mold has also started growing on a large number of props.
“It is just a huge mess,” said Mr. Gladden.
A layer of mold has started growing on the chairs at the Neuhaus Theatre, and must be ripped out and replaced. Mr. Gladden expects repairs to be in the millions, only a fraction of which will be covered by insurance.
A layer of mold has started growing on the chairs at the Neuhaus Theatre, and must be ripped out and replaced. Mr. Gladden expects repairs to be in the millions, only a fraction of which will be covered by insurance. Photo: Shibani Mahtani/The Wall Street Journal
On a recent visit, theater staff donning particulate masks and jumpsuits sifted through typewriters, dolls, skeletons and oversize Oriental rugs, while crews zipped around pulling out soaked equipment and pumping hot air into the area.
Alley Theater prop master Karin Rabe Vance, who has chronic lung problems, wore a ventilator as she worked 14-hour shifts in the basement.
“There’s just so much heartache—not physical and not because of my lungs, but emotionally, because of what has been lost,” Ms. Vance said, choking back tears. Of the times she has cried over the past week, the moment she said she remembers most vividly was when she spied a smiley-face mug on the floor, filled with flood water. She had made the cup for a cheerful stage manager.
When Harvey hit, a new play by Rajiv Joseph, “Describe the Night,” had been in rehearsals and was set to premiere at the Neuhaus Theatre on Sept. 15.
Mr. Gladden thought he might have to scrap the run entirely, but was able to move the production to the University of Houston’s 185-seat theater instead. Alley Theater’s office of 70 people, computer servers and other equipment also relocated to the university campus.
Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact on Texas has been catastrophic, but the city of Houston is faring worse than some others. Here’s the science of why Harvey has been especially devastating for the area. Photo: NASA
To stick to the original schedule, set designers had to redesign the play’s set for the new stage in just a week. “It was a race to get this done,” Mr. Gladden said. “Describe the Night” opened Friday to a full house, he said.
The Alley Theater will have to raise about $11 million in funding to restore the building, Mr. Gladden said, as its insurance policy only covers about $3 million in building repairs and another $4 million for equipment.
The two-year-old renovation took 14 months to finish and 70% of the $46.5 million cost came from private donors. But raising even $4 million in the current climate, given the competing needs of the city and the slump in the oil-and-gas industry, is an intimidating task.
Mr. Gladden has assigned a member of his staff to apply for available grants to help fund the renovation, including the National Endowment for the Humanities’ emergency grants for cultural institutions hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Applications for the federal grant opened last Thursday, allowing institutions to apply for up to $30,000 to preserve documents, artworks or structures damaged by the hurricane. The NEH gave out about $2 million in similar funding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“The idea is to get the money to these institutions who need it as fast as possible,” said Paula Wasley, a spokeswoman for the NEH.
Mr. Gladden expects to reopen the main theater by November, in time for “A for Christmas Carol,” but the Neuhaus Theatre will take longer.
Still, staff—many of whom are also contending with personal losses of homes and more—are keeping it all in perspective. “The important thing is that we are all standing here, safe,” said Ms. Vance. “The rest of it—all this stuff—we can rebuild. It is just stuff.”