American soccer is growing quickly, with Major League Soccer (MLS) reported to have experienced a 27 percent rise in interest since 2012. For many soccer organizations around the nation, it’s meant the development of new stadiums specifically appointed for teams and their fans. Allianz Field in Saint Paul, MN, home to the Minnesota United, is the latest venue designed from ground up with the goal of delivering a vibrant experience fans can’t experience watching at home. The $250 million venue encompasses 346,000 square feet and has a seating capacity for 19,400 fans. Not only is the new stadium an icon for the city of Saint Paul but a dynamic venue boasting the most state-of-the-art video technology available. The centerpiece is a 22-by-116-foot videoboard on the field that truly captivates fans in their seats.
While the videoboard delivers the action of the game to fans in the stadium, the team wanted to extend that view to the entire stadium, delivering a high quality, ultra-low-latency live feed of the game to more than 200 displays installed in its premium hospitality clubs, retail store, and concessions. Another demand was integrating digital signage capabilities that would help the organization achieve its digital advertising strategy to boost revenue. With such a large number of screens, the team also required an easy-to-use platform that can be operated by one person, allowing them to power, control, and monitor the status of each screen.
VITEC's EZ TV IPTV and Digital Signage Solution for Sports Venues was selected to distribute video feeds and signage to screens throughout the stadium. EZ TV along with VITEC’s hardware-based endpoints were specifically designed for sports franchises to stream high-quality live and on-demand video, create dynamic digital signs, and deliver that content to every display over the existing physical and wireless network infrastructure. The platform's network-agnostic, modular architecture can upgrade existing legacy systems or deploy a turnkey IPTV and signage solution for a new build. Sports and entertainment facilities can offer the most advanced fan experience while reducing CapEx and OpEx.
Leveraging the power of VITEC’s EZ TV platform and hardware-based IPTV and signage endpoints, Allianz Field staff can quickly and efficiently distribute, control, and maintain the more than 200 screens within the stadium while also utilizing the solution’s digital signage capabilities to create and display creative content. The solution resolved the challenge of delivering high-quality, broadcast-grade video feed of the game to every screen with low-latency distribution and synchronization between displays over its IP infrastructure. EZ TV’s built-in digital signage creation tools enabled the organization to achieve a dynamic digital signage strategy where they easily distribute targeted content to specific displays throughout the venue.
With integration between VITEC and the Allianz Field Daktronics board Show Control System, the staff is able to trigger updates to signage for each screen during the games from the same Show Control System. The combined solution makes it simple for a single operator to change campaigns from pregame, to in-game, halftime, and post-show sponsorships during games. Concession data from Appetize is combined with EZ TV’s sophisticated and automated food menu board capabilities, which will allow the organization to create and update every menu board, based on inventory and demand. Suite holders enjoy an enhanced visual experience with access to additional cable channels, real-time updating of the electronic program guide, and video-on-demand content. As result, every fan, no matter where they are in the stadium, is treated to an eye-catching experience.
“We wanted to deliver the very best experience to our fans as well as our operators and advertising staff who need to be able to quickly, easily, and reliably distribute not only the game-day feed to every screen but ensure that we are successfully deploying attention-grabbing content to every screen,” Cole Mayer production engineer, Minnesota United. “It’s a complex job, but VITEC’s IPTV EZ TV and Digital Signage Platform integrates all these capabilities into one program. It exceeded our operational and technological vision. With the power of VITEC, Allianz Field is one the best, most technologically advanced soccer stadiums in the world.”