See How LynTec and SNA Displays Are Powering AV Facelift for FSU Sports

FSU Softball Videoboard
(Image credit: SNA Displays)

Tallahassee's Florida State University certainly doesn’t have to worry about entertaining fans with its women’s soccer or softball teams. On the field, the Seminoles women’s soccer team is the defending national champions, winning it all three times since 2014. The softball team made it to the Women’s College World Series finals in 2021 after winning it in 2018.

To say expectations are high on the field is an understatement. That’s why it’s even more important the fan experience off the field is top notch. Both the soccer pitch and softball field had outdated technology.

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According to SNA Displays, the NCAA powerhouses needed new, larger digital assets. “It hadn't been upgraded in quite a while,” explained A.J. Faxel, director of sports, SNA Displays. “Anthony James Partners partnered up with FSU, and we were awarded that project to give a fresh look to the stadium." Mad Dog Construction was also involved in the project, building new structures to allow for the new displays.

Powerful Collaboration

While SNA Displays was the clear choice for the job, the power behind controlling those displays was still in question. “Originally when kicking off this project, we didn't have a partner in the power control space to utilize our API that would actually control the display,” explained David Kile, director of systems integration at SNA Displays. “We worked with LynTec early on at Florida State, and were able to have them implement our API into their firmware. So moving forward with any displays that are SNA and utilizing LynTec, you can control the display power from within the SNA LED wall control software. If you want a unified control solution, it is all within the same controls for brightness and for input selection in the SNA world.”

"It was a great experience from all angles—we had a lot of support from their construction teams, architecture teams, and technology teams, and it really helps make a great project even better."

A.J. Faxel, SNA Displays

Behind the scenes, each new videoboard is powered by LynTec technology, including remote power lighting control panelboards. Not only do they provide an efficient power supply, the LynTec panels are easy to use by professionals and students alike.

“The power requirements were based on the designs that SNA provided us, but its motorized circuit breakers for control of the sophisticated system are for student operators or minimally trained individuals to return the system on and off,” explained Alan Tschirner, vice president and general manager for LynTec. “So the LynTec panel provides the repeatable sequencing and the separation of the powered zones. There's a zone for display, which is the majority of the power, and then there are some ancillary circuits for logos and letters that can be configured for different applications.”

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Tschirner said the system uses one panel per videoboard for a seamless, single-point operation, which makes for a straightforward installation process. “We send the panels out pre-tested and pre-configured, so it was up to the electrical contractor onsite to install them and power them and just let them do what they were set up to do," he explained. "The processor is made in-house, so we understand the code, we understand the hardware. FSU was our first project [with SNA Displays], but all the feedback in the field has been it was very easy process to fall through and power the panels.”

The Fiber Advantage

The decision was made to have everything run through fiber. One point of contention is that it’s Florida: If lightning strikes, it won’t be affecting servers in a rack room.

“We take the perspective of what's going to be the strongest and least likely to fail,” explained Kile. "And while wireless is very convenient for the end user, it also can be unreliable, especially when there's a couple of thousand people in the stands that all have cell phones and Wi-Fi and things on their devices. So, pretty much all our displays that are in the sports world are all going to be hardwired and all going to be over fiber.”

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“Two decades and two careers ago, I was a telecommunications guy,” added Tschirner. “One of the advantages is the galvanic isolation that fiber provides, especially in a lightning rich environment like Florida is. You don't get the transience and the possibility for damage caused to metallic communication as by using a nonmetallic fiber optic cable to connect to points.”

Installed for the 2022 title defense, the new videoboard from SNA Displays at Seminole Soccer Complex uses EMPIRE Exterior LED display technology. It measures 31.6 wide and 16.6 feet tall, with 10mm pixel spacing and 504x960 resolution.

Even with the effects of the pandemic still slowing things down, LynTec had little reason to worry. “The panel that we shipped is a standard catalog-order panel,” Tschirner explained. “We ship them daily, weekly, so we had no concerns about getting the first of the beta device or the alpha device in the field. It's a very stable, very reliable platform.”

FSU Soccer Videoboard

SNA Displays videoboards installed at FSU are powered by LynTec technology, as the two companies look to grow their partnership in the sports market. (Image credit: SNA Displays)

The display was ready to go for Opening Day, thanks to SNA Displays' established factory eliminating any concerns about supply chain issues. “We're in control of our own supply chain,” said Faxel. “We haven't experienced these supply chain issues over the past two years in everything, including our LED components. It's pretty standard timelines, so we're able to produce and deliver within less than four months on our standard shipping."

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At JoAnne Graf Field, just over the centerfield wall, softball fans can watch vivid imagery on a 26.3x13.5-foot videoboard with 10mm pixel spacing and 408x800 pixel resolution. The videoboard hasn’t been put to official use just yet, but is ready for the coming 2023 college softball season.

”I spoke to the project manager on the FSU project, and he said multiple times throughout the project, it was just a great experience working with Florida State,” Faxel said. “They really are a true partner, so we always love partnering with people like FSU. It was a great experience from all angles—we had a lot of support from their construction teams, architecture teams, and technology teams, and it really helps make a great project even better.”

“LynTec’s perspective is expanding part of our universe to the LED sports field displays," said Tschirner on LynTec's first sports project with SNA Displays. "The remote power control product is not just limited to school auditoriums and churches. But when there are sophisticated systems to be controlled, there's an opportunity for a LynTec installation from four circuits to 400 circuits.”

Wayne Cavadi
Senior Content Manager

Wayne Cavadi is the senior content manager of Systems Contractor News. Prior to taking a leap into the Pro AV industry, Wayne was a journalist and content lead for Turner Sports, covering the NCAA, PGA, and Major and Minor League Baseball. His work has been featured in a variety of national publications including Bleacher Report, Lindy's Magazine, and The Advocate. When not writing, he hosts the DII Nation Podcast, committed to furthering the stories and careers of NCAA Division II student-athletes. Follow his work on Twitter at @WayneCavadi_2 or the SCN mag Twitter page.