In 1995, an expansion of the National Football League added the Carolina Panthers. A year later, they debuted their new state-of-the-art stadium in downtown Charlotte. Over the years, while there have been minor upgrades, the stadium started to fall behind the standards set forth by the NFL, and the expectations of the fan experience.
In 2013, Charlotte made a concerted commitment to stadium upgrades to keep the team in town and maintain the most modern standards.
First, and perhaps the most striking, in 2014 the stadium added two 200’x56’ video boards, able to project 32:9 full-screen images. Ongoing stages included renovations to concourse areas, the creation of fan plazas and updating all the luxury suites. This year, the continued renovations included the upgrades to four luxury lounges – the North and South 50 Club, the Panther’s Den and the Redzone.
With the impression of the 32:9 outdoor screens, longtime Bank of America Stadium audio-visual suppliers S.E. Systems set out to replicate the outdoor images in the luxury lounge areas with a 32’x9’ screen in each of the four lounges. When it came to audio, there were a number of factors to contend with. The lounge areas are open, with concerns about noise levels and loss of intelligibility due to reverberations. Each lounge also has buffet-style serving areas on either side of the seating areas of which there was need to reduce sound levels for the convenience of customer orders and processing. And with most of the lounges having a throw of 24’ or less to the back wall, of which some were glass, this once again created potential issues with sound.
Having familiarity with the RCF VSA vertical steerable arrays, S.E. Systems principle Cliff Miller felt using these would be the ideal solution. “First, they are a very low profile,” says Miller, “which enabled us to build them into the millwork of the video board and keep the sound projected as if it is actually coming from the source.” Secondly, “with the capability of steering the sound with the VSA DSP, we are able to focus the audio exclusively to the seating areas.”
Polling Panther fans in attendance, they were awed by the new facilities.