Nigel Roberts, LG Electronics general manager, explains the state of display technology in sports venues, as well as the safety concerns and the requirements that accompany high profile brand associations in these environments.
Which display technology do you think currently holds the advantage in sports venues?
Large screen displays and LED are big growth areas with stadiums at the moment, upgrading their visual displays and fan engagement experience through integrated digital signage. Both for new stadium builds and redevelopments of spaces, display technologies are at the forefront of new investments, with infrastructure created to support mass screen rollouts and two-way interaction with social media.
Football clubs also use screens for analytics, which means they require big screens for detailed content and scoreboards. This includes both 98in and 84in displays, which are increasingly popular for sporting environments.
Perimeter LED displays are another area which is developing, with higher resolution enabling better quality images for sponsors.
What are the biggest barriers to the installation of display solutions in sports venues?
The Football Association (FA) and UEFA have to approve all displays and technology before they can be installed into venues to ensure no glare will affect the match play. Displays based around the perimeter of the pitch have a high possibility of players knocking into the screen, therefore it is imperative the screens are resilient and there is no sharp edging to ensure players are not injured. Just like any environment, sports venues are unique in their requirements, but quality is paramount for the image, given the high profile brands associated with the sports.
For large scale LED installations, the positioning of these directly over stands means that structural engineering is of utmost importance, with load bearing calculations and impact of weather over time all part of the installation process.
How are sports venues going about improving fan engagement and what part do display solutions have to play?
We have requests from football clubs to install our displays across the stadium to ensure spectators don’t miss out on the action. Repeater screens are being placed on pillars that display match play repeats or digital advertising and big flagship displays are installed to improve the experience for the fan on the day, as well as to bring the whole stadium to life through two-way engagement.
What in particular do you look for in an integration partner on sports venue installs?
We would recommend using a company with sport stadium experience and a proven track record. These integrators know the intricacies of working with multiple stakeholders, how to work to the tight timescales required and also the technology, which performs best in a stadium environment. We would also recommend looking at the long-term support and display maintenance and upgrade options, so you know your partner will be able to provide on-going support on match days and out of hours when required for any special requirements or on-going upgrades.
Tell us about a recent installation project that highlights LG’s expertise in this sector.
We have extensive stadium experience including Manchester City, Swansea City, Leicester City where we sponsored the VW series videowalls and satellite displays. We also recently completed the installation alongside SSUK of hundreds of displays into Bristol’s new stadium at Ashton Gate. We provide a project management team alongside the integrator to help specify the displays and also to help with large rollouts as required.