Cincinnati Reds Revamp Great American Ball Park with Sony, Daktronics

When the Cincinnati Reds open the 2009 baseball season on April 6 at Great American Ball Park, in addition to seeing a new team with a crew of young players, fans will get an enhanced ballpark experience thanks to new high-definition video production and LED technology from Sony and Daktronics.

The Reds’ HD upgrade is the first installation resulting from an agreement between Sony and Daktronics to jointly market and provide complete audio/video systems and services to professional and collegiate sports operations in the United States.

The stadium’s new HD control room has Sony HDC-1450 studio cameras, XDCAM HD optical camcorders (model PDW-F355), an MVS-8000G production switcher and LUMA 24-inch LCD monitors. The Sony equipment will be used to capture and produce video for playback during games on the stadium’s LED screens and the HD displays throughout the park. Plus, XDCAM PDW-HD1500 decks will also be used for video recording and mastering.

Daktronics installed its HD-16 high-definition displays, including a 38 by 137-foot main video board in left field, 768 feet of fascia board in the outfield and along the first and third base lines, and out-of-town scoreboard and Major League Baseball standings displays behind the left and right field walls.

In addition to the enhanced HD video technology, Great American Ball Park will offer fans an interactive entertainment experience. Each of the park’s 64 luxury suites will feature a Sony 46-inch BRAVIA LCD high-definition television connected to a VAIO computer running Sony’s StadiumView software application.

This software lets guests use a touch screen to select the feeds shown on the HD displays in their suites, for example, choosing the view from centerfield or behind home plate. The StadiumView Network Application Server also provides graphic signage, branding, and advertising opportunities, along with other features like replays.

A Sony Playstation mobile unit will also be at each Reds home game during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, as part of a fan interactive zone.

“Our goal is to create a memorable experience for all fans the minute they step foot into the ballpark,” says Jennifer Berger, the Reds’ senior director of entertainment, events and productions. “This type of technology, combined with the HD image quality across the whole park, will create a new level of enthusiasm and excitement for the fans and we hope that energy will also be felt by our players on the field.”

The agreement between Sony and Daktronics combines both companies’ sports resources to offer organizations a turn-key source for both stadium upgrades and new construction projects. The Great American Ball Park project is an example of Sony’s managed services approach, where Sony not only assembles, designs and maintains a system but also serves as a prime contractor. Diversified Services was chosen by Sony to provide integration services for the new HD control room.

“Our work with the Reds is a model for our future stadium and sports venue approach,” explains Steve Stubelt, director of Sony’s Solutions Group. “Teaming with Daktronics adds a critical component of a sports venue system and allows us to give customers a one-stop shopping experience.”

“Working with the Reds and Sony, we’ve put together an incredible system that will rival the best in Major League Baseball,” says Daktronics sales manager Will Ellerbruch. “The combination of HD-X technology on the high-definition video display and other LED displays throughout the ballpark will provide the Reds with unsurpassed flexibility to engage fans and activate sponsors.”

Stubelt added that a managed services project can also include multi-year contracts for hardware with built-in, regularly scheduled system updates, services and personnel training, as well as on-site technical service, professional services, consultation, project management, engineering and content creation for in-game use, and more.

“All these services can be provided for a fixed monthly fee,” Stubelt adds. “It gives customers a less expensive and faster entry into HD because they’re not laying out the capital expenditures all at once.”

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