New Meadowlands Stadium Begins The Seasons As A Media Powerhouse
The main seating bowl PA at the New Meadowlands stadium is a large distributed JBL system—one of the largest distributed audio systems in a modern NFL building.
NEW RUTHERFORD, NJ—With a seating capacity of 82,500, New Meadowlands is the first stadium purposebuilt to be home to two different NFL teams, the Giants and the Jets. In an appropriate technological parallel, the facility’s converged network also brings AV, broadcast, digital signage, and entertainment together in a unified package.
The stadium is equipped with four massive Daktronics HD video display scoreboards. More than 2,200 HD video displays powered by Cisco StadiumVision were installed throughout the facility to provide fans with access to the game virtually anywhere. Cisco partnered with Verizon to provide 34 channels of customized HD content that gives fans the opportunity to view multiple games and other content at the same time in select areas of the facility. In addition, Verizon installed a comprehensive wireless network to accommodate fan access to sports and entertainment content, and the Giants and Jets are working with Verizon Wireless to offer fans interactive mobile apps.
“These are no longer just sports stadiums,” said Ted Leamy, chief operating officer of the AV integrator on the project, Hercules, CA-based Pro Media Ultrasound. “They’re multi-use campuses. It’s no longer just a football field with a few cameras and some loudspeakers. These are extensive high-tech TV broadcast studio facilities.”
For WJHW, the audio consultant on the project, the shared stadium required a unique approach to the system design created by Mark Graham. At the center of the system, an Avid VENUE SC48 console handles both the in-park audio and broadcast systems. Using fiber connections, the console can be operated in its home position or at any of several locations down in the bowl. “Both teams have their own production crews, and the console can be configured differently for a Jets or Giants game,” observed Jeff McGinnis, working as an owner representative. “We knew there would be lots of different people operating the console, so the simplicity and flexibility of the VENUE system was an important consideration.”
The main seating bowl PA is a large distributed JBL system—one of the largest distributed systems in a modern NFL building—built around JBL’s Precision Directivity (PD) loudspeakers for long throw and Application Engineering (AE) series AM and new AC models for shorter throws and fill areas. Crown CTS series amplifiers power the system, which is controlled via Harman Professional’s HiQnet. “System Architect works great,” Leamy said. “It provides a very simple GUI graphic interface that allows the staff to monitor and control amplifiers anywhere in the stadium. They can see the 1,200 loudspeakers in the bowl and 700 JBL Control Contractor Series loudspeakers in back of house, along with the 10 amplifier rooms from a single point. As such, the stadium’s converged network requires a fairly minimal staff for operation.”
The tremendous number of loudspeakers installed helped assure uniformity of sound throughout the seating areas and concourses, but the outdoor venue’s architecture made loudspeaker placement a challenge. Particular care was taken in optimization of the JBL AL6115 low-frequency module, mounted behind each PD5322/64 enclosure in the lower sections and configured as an end-fired array to reduce the lowfrequency energy affecting the nearby luxury suites.
Another challenging area was the concession zone, covered by a series of Community R.5 two-way full-range loudspeakers. As WJHW’s Mark Graham explained, the R.5s were chosen as much for their performance as for their durability. But even more important was the loudspeaker’s intelligibility. “The area is located just outside the main bowl,” Graham said. “It’s a lot of sound to overcome, and the R.5s do that in a stunning fashion.”