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Meet your AV Team: Aztec

As audiovisual supplier to Lord’s, Aztec works closely with the in-house team to support all 15 event spaces as wells as special events such as the Cricket World Cup. Jo Ruddock speaks to managing director John Robson to find out what this entails.

You’re the AV supplier to MCC/Lord’s. What does this involve?

We provide high-quality AV solutions for a wide range of events. We have developed packages to cater to the regular demands of the venues, these allow the Lord’s event staff to be able to offer the solutions that we know work. We also provide bespoke events with our branding and marketing team for an individual flair that defines us as an AV supplier.

This year especially, due to the World Cup and Ashes, we have worked closely with Lord’s as a cricket ground as well as an event space, providing support for press conferences and end of season awards and celebrations. To top off an exciting year of cricket, Lord’s hosted the World Cup final here and have been revelling in its glory ever since.

Do you work with across all 15 event spaces at the site?

Yes, although some much more than others. We work hard to accommodate the demands of a wide range of events while respecting the traditions of Lord’s and its rich history.

Event spaces here range from the expanse of the Nursery Pavilion, which spans 1,000sqm of event space, to the prestige of the Long Room, where strict dress codes apply to attend events of elegance and splendour.

We also house more conventional spaces such as Pelham’s and the Thomas Lord Suite, which are more suited to conferences and seminars. All types of events are supported by Aztec and no project is too big or too small, whether it is a small meeting, a conference, an awards dinner or a charity ball, we have it covered.

What are the challenges of providing support across such a versatile and varied venue?

The integration of in-house systems with our packages can sometimes be a challenge. It is sometimes the case that the in-house equipment is not the best suited to the requirements of the job. With so many event spaces of different shapes and sizes, and different types of events, it is important that the equipment provides matches the requirements. Once we understand the requirements then we can easily tweak the equipment included on the event to utilise in-house equipment or not, whatever is suited to meet the needs of the client.

Could you pick out any highlights of your partnership with Lord’s?

Enjoying the successes of the World Cup alongside the team here at Lord’s. The place was buzzing during the summer, particularly for the big games during the World Cup and Ashes.

The venue is at the start of a major redevelopment, will you be involved in any of the planning when it comes to the technical requirements?

Unfortunately not. The redevelopments are not affecting our event spaces, apart from the Media Centre, which is currently off limits while the work takes place. In a venue like this it is safe to say redevelopment is always underway as it continues to grow and develop as a modern venue with traditional values. And, when required, we are always called upon to offer advice on the installation and development of permanent in-house systems and their integration into existing spaces.

Are there any technologies or pieces of kit you’re currently excited about?

It’s all about LED, more LED and even more LED at the moment. The pixels are getting smaller and the price is dropping. That means bigger screens and higher definition images at a sensible price. As a company we are investing heavily in LED at the moment and for the foreseeable future.

Have the changes in fan experiences and the need to drive revenues both on event days and throughout the year impacted any of the AV tech investments at Lord’s?

After the successful summer for both cricket and Lord’s as an event venue, eyes seem to be fixed on Lord’s and I have certainly noticed an increase in demand as the venue has received more publicity. The venue is desirable to cricket fans and the general public as they want to be here to be a part of the history that happened this summer. As the demand increases, so will the investment. As a company we work across a number of venues in and around London, and I can say with confidence that the venue pricing here is extremely competitive so I feel that things will continue to grow into the future.

The changes in fan experiences is an ongoing issue in sport, as the ways in which we watch and connect has changed. Although we do not have any direct involvement in the match day AV, such as scoreboards and announcements, we need to be mindful that this is primarily a sports venue and that needs to be respected at all times.

What’s the benefit to a venue such as Lord’s of having an external AV supplier rather than having the expertise in house?

When clients book an events venue they want the best and most appropriate AV to meet their needs. Often the fixed in-house AV will work for the client’s needs, but not always, and invariably needs supplementing with additional equipment. Other times the in-house AV is simply not suitable for the job. It simply does not make sense for Lord’s to buy and own all the equipment and different options to achieve this, as the venue would never get the utilisation from the equipment, especially when you consider replacement cycles and the required investment in new technologies as they emerge. It just cannot make sense.

If all AV was provided in-house there would also be a danger of equipment being provided to clients simply because it is available rather than being the most appropriate equipment to do the job.

In essence having an external AV supplier on site allows clients to take advantage of the great pricing that Lord’s have negotiated with Aztec whilst at the same time having access to a vast range of the latest technologies.