“We are creating, what we believe, will be the finest stadium anywhere in the world for spectators, visitors and the wider community, delivering a major new landmark for Tottenham and London.”
That's the promise from North London Premier League football team, Tottenham Hotspur as completion of its brand new 62,000 all seater stadium edges closer to completion.
But, as the club continues to keep eager fans of both the club – and partners, the NFL – waiting for the doors to officially open for the first time, we ask, will it be worth the wait?
To find out more, AVTE editor Michael Garwood caught up with Chris Smith, vice president and general manager EMEA at Harman Professional Solutions and his namesake Chris Smith, senior manager at LG, talk to AVTE about their work and involvement on the new White Hart Lane stadium.
When did you first become involved in the project?
CS (Harman): In 2017, Harman’s UK distributor Sound Technology responded to the tender specification produced by consultants Vanguardia. The spec called for a wide variety of loudspeakers to cover the different areas within the stadium, both within the bowl and for the hospitality, concourse and back-of-house areas.
CS (LG): When Tottenham Hotspur was looking to upgrade its stadium’s signage in 2015, we pitched them LG’s latest innovations and our bespoke stadium offerings. It’s been a partnership for the last few years and we are in the middle of a major display installation.
Why were you chosen?
CS (Harman): New build stadia don’t come around very often, so we were in competition with a number of leading audio brands. Ultimately through the tender process HARMAN provided an excellent technical and commercial proposition. Key to our success was our broad product portfolio which met the loudspeaker requirements of the many different areas within the venue whilst guaranteeing consistently good audio performance.
How involved were you with the decision making and design on what technology was to be deployed?
CS (Harman): The intensive pace of the project required a dynamic approach to the evolving needs of the club. The HARMAN and Sound Technology applications teams supported integrator SSE audio group through design and delivery with consultant Vanguardia overseeing the process.
CS (LG): We showcased the entire LG range at our showroom and began specifying what might be possible, since then we have worked with designers and consultants and helped support technically to advise on the application of the products.
Tell us about your technology being used in the stadium.
CS (Harman): First and foremost the PAVA system is critical to fan safety therefore audio quality and speech intelligibility are paramount. Each loudspeaker used within the stadium was chosen to best match the acoustic environment it is placed within and the Dante signal path ensures there is no degradation to the audio signal as it is distributed throughout the site. From the beginning it was the clubs aim to enhance the fan experience through the seamless integration of AV technology, audio of course plays a large part in achieving this. By using a single system to deliver paging, production audio and emergency announcements, Tottenham invested in a single set of high quality loudspeakers which meet all these requirements. Coverage within the stadium is exceptional with around 4,000 loudspeakers deployed in total, separated into over 250 zones.
Pictures courtesy of Sam Marks
Specifically, what products have you chosen?
CS (Harman): Tottenham Hotspur is the first installation of the new JBL VLA-Compact loudspeaker system. Built upon the technology of its larger siblings, from the very successful VLA series, the VLA-Compact is an installation specific line-array loudspeaker system providing concert quality sound at the medium throw distances typical in European stadia.
Along with the bowl, JBL loudspeakers are used throughout the venue, including within the many high-spec hospitality spaces, the press conference room and concourse areas both internal and external. Powering these loudspeakers are Crown DCi amplifiers all connected over Dante. Using the DCi series allows for monitoring of all amplifiers and loudspeaker circuits over IP which is essential in a life safety system.
CS (LG): The displays selected suit stadium applications due to their high performance and market leading reliability. The OLED displays are one of a kind and due to their picture quality and ability be flexed into concave applications. The digital signage screens feature IPS which gives a wide viewing angle and great colour reproduction, which means that wherever the screens are approached from, the audience member does not miss a minute of the action on screen.”
What about maintenance and longevity?
CS (Harman): HARMAN Professional have been providing loudspeakers and amplifiers into the large venue and hospitality market for decades with a reputation for audio quality and reliability. The VLA-Compact loudspeakers as used within the stadium bowl are fully incorporate a weatherised fibreglass enclosure which is IP55 rated and perfectly suited to outdoor installation in the prevailing conditions. Furthermore the monitoring and integration capabilities of the complete system enable integrator SSE a clear picture of system health at all times.
Who did you work with for the installation?
CS (Harman): SSE audio group
CS (LG): We have worked with Tottenham Hotspur, AV designers Vangardia and AV Integrators AVI-SPL.
We are starting to build up a reputation in football communities having previously worked with Manchester City, Wembley Stadium and Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol which boasts the largest video wall in any sports bar in Britain.
We are also currently working with the FA, to specify development to the Wembley Stadium digital signage solutions. Across these projects we specified products for different areas such as hospitality, changing rooms, pitch-side, retail areas and in concourses.
Given Tottenham’s desire for a multi-purpose arena, how did this impact your decision making?
CS (Harman): Modern stadia are far more than the seats and tribunes that surround the pitch. Clubs and Architects are designing mutli-use destinations which maximise the potential use of the space within the stadium to maximise revenue streams. HARMAN are perfectly positioned to offer the solution for audio, video, control and lighting for these venues whether it be in the stadium bowl, within hospitality spaces, hotel rooms, conference suites or the clubs offices.
How would you describe the new stadium from an AV perspective and as a venue?
CS (Harman): The new stadium is truly impressive from an AV standpoint. The club, lead by chairman Daniel Levy and PAVA & AV consultants Vanguardia have aspired to create a fully connected stadium utilising IP connectivity throughout. Using Dante audio-over-IP technology both the PAVA and AV systems provide new levels of integration and a seamless user experience. Each AV zone, which can broadly be defined as an individual hospitality space such as a restaurant, box or loge and individual concourse areas can have its own separate audio feed with audio following video or being routed separately.
CS (LG): We are working with stadium clients to create a full smart stadium experience for fans. From when they enter the stadium and are greeted by statement LED screens through to their food and beverage experience, which features digital menu boards, to gamification and a two-way interactive experience with displays during the match. Tottenham Hotspur will be multi-functioning venue so its displays need to be flexible to suit a variety of applications.
Where does this stadium rank in terms of venues you’ve worked with?
CS (Harman): It has been a pleasure working with a customer such as Tottenham with such a clear vision of how technology can enhance the sport entertainment experience and how to utilise a stadium both on and off match days.