In October 2015, Commonwealth Stadium, home to the University of Kentucky’s football team, completed a $120 million renovation, which included the installation of a CastNET Sports Solutions digital signage system by Alpha Video Sports & Entertainment, of Eden Prairie, MN. The objectives for the CastNET system were to improve fan experience, increase revenue for the university, and increase safety.
The Commonwealth Stadium renovation included adding more private suites, more club seats, new press facilities, a multi-purpose recruiting room, improved concession areas, and the CastNET Sports system, which manages content on the screens in the concourses, suites, lobbies, locker rooms, recruiting rooms, press box, and lounges. The stadium renovation included adding more private suites, more club seats, new press facilities, a multi-purpose recruiting room, improved concession areas, and the CastNET Sports system, which manages content on the screens in the concourses, suites, lobbies, locker rooms, recruiting rooms, press box, and lounges.
The CastNET Sports installation at Commonwealth Stadium is a largescale digital signage integration project. Its success depends on a number of customized features, including real-time integration with the Daktronics scoreboard, so the scoreboard data can be shown immediately on stadium screens. The CastNET StatsView is integrated with Stat Crew Software, so live game-day statistics can be shown on stadium screens. The system is also integrated with a closed-captioning system to comply with recent ADA rulings; a Game Day Control Panel was developed, so a tablet can easily control the entire digital signage system. Lastly, touchscreen tablets using CastNET SuiteView remotely control the screens in the executive suites and lounges.
The system provides access to 32 cable channels from Time Warner and 14 digital signage channels. A total of 563 new Samsung LED panels were installed by Alpha Video Sports in half of the stadium.
One significant challenge was that the new CastNET IPTV system architecture and new Samsung monitors are installed in only the home team half of the stadium. The rest of the stadium’s existing monitors on the visitor side are using an existing RF system architecture. The CastNET Sports installation needed to be flexible enough to be supported on both architectures. The remaining half of the stadium will be upgraded in the summer of 2016.
Touchscreen tablets using CastNET SuiteView remotely control the screens in the executive suites and lounges. Another challenge is that most screens are in public spaces and are subject to accidents, tampering, or abuse. CastNET developed a troubleshooting dashboard to quickly identify and respond to nonfunctioning screens. CastNET’s Game Day Support supplied one technician to be onsite during every home football game during the 2015 season to respond and fix non-functioning screens.
Two significant services offered by Alpha Video were instrumental in making this installation a success. One was the consulting services provided by the Alpha Video Sports and CastNET technical team to design a network that supported the IPTV system architecture and the existing RF architecture.
The second service was provided by CastNET’s creative team, which designed customized digital signage templates and digital signage advertising content used throughout the stadium.
Commenting on the CastNET system, Nathan Schwake, associate AD, marketing and licensing at the University of Kentucky, said, “The CastNET Sports system installed by Alpha Video has allowed us ultimate flexibility on our game-day presentation. It’s an upgrade for fan experience in both the public areas and premium spaces of the stadium and has added significant opportunities for our rights holder in activating new and existing sponsorships. The system is user friendly and we appreciate the Alpha Video and CastNet team’s professional approach to the installation.”