AVVIT serves at Flushing Meadows

By Andrew Lippe

The USTA Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows played host to the 2006 US Open. It supported many international broadcasters and maintained a fun environment for
the thousands of fans that attended. David Burnor details what it takes to run one of the largest event facilities in the world.

We divide our system into
three categories audio, video and television, said David Burnor principal of
AVVIT Consulting organization. His
organization helps design the systems at the Flushing Meadows tennis facility.

The cable television system serves the whole
facility. In 1997 they had approximately 17,00 televisions. Today we have
probably over 2,000 televisions; it s like a little town, Burnor said. The
video systems or the broadcast cabling system allow broadcasters to
efficiently connect throughout the site. And while the focus remains on Arthur Ashe stadium direct lines can be found all over the facility to deliver video to fans waiting to get into a court.

Though we live in
a digital age the cable wire at Flushing Meadows since 1994 has been copper. But a major project is underway to add fiber to all direct links..

The USTA also installed new screens in Arthur Ashe stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium and the Grandstand. Up until this year
there has never been large video screens in stadiums 2 or 3, said Burnor.The large video display in stadium two doesn’t have video but it does alternate scoring information and show challenges.

In [Louis Armstrong Stadium] the screens were limited by the size of the structural tower and its ability to support what was there,
said Burnor. The screen in stadium two now measures 25 ft wide with a 16X9 aspect ratio while the stadium one screen is also new and measure 35 1/2 ft wide with a16X9 aspect ratio.

The USTA also installed a screen outside of stadium two that faces the food court and installed a screen outside of stadium one whose images face the south plaza. A few new speakers were also added.

Many headlines and events captivated the US Open. There was Andre Agassi s retirement, the tennis center being renamed for Billie Jean King, the resurgence of Andy Roddick and the continued dominance of Roger Federer. The most prevalent issue to the sport of tennis and to the facility was the use of Hawkeye Instant Replay.

To accommodate Hawkeye was our biggest change, said Burnor. The Hawkeye system can be found in stadium one and in stadium two and all calls are made in real time. The scoring device and instant replay system are both located in the control booth. A simple switcher switches between one and the other, said Burnor.

Hawkeye uses 3D graphics programs to present the challenge. Using your mouse you can actually change your point of view simply by moving your mouse so can look at it from the front or the side or look all around it at any point, explained Burnor. The court image is built in a computer graphics program so they have the ability very quickly to change their point of view.

The entire match is continually record and each shot is continually logged for immediate playback. Instant replay truly has evolved and so has the remarkable
facility.

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