Venue News: Pac-12 Confronts Championship Challenge; UND Replaces Fire-Damaged Video Boards

The Pac-12 Conference has hired a team of experts to produce its first football championship, which will be staged at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the best record in conference games, rather than awarded through competitive bids. Depending on how the season unfolds, the site may not be decided until five days before the Dec. 2 championship. To confront the challenge, the group, which consists of Olympic, Super Bowl, and bowl game veterans, will start making site visits to 11 stadiums next month (USC is ineligible for championship). According to Jim Steeg, a consultant tasked with selecting the group, as the season progresses, they will focus on the five to six schools with the best chance to compete for the conference title, paying particular attention to signage concerns. For the title game, the Pac-12 requires that all existing advertising inside the stadium gates be replaced with signs displaying brands of the event’s as-yet-unannounced founding sponsors, which would prove especially tricky should California or Washington reach the title game. Both are currently playing in NFL venues while their on-campus stadiums undergo renovations…

… After the center-hung scoreboard at Ralph Engelstad Arena was damaged earlier this year in a fire that broke out in the speaker cluster above the ice, the University of North Dakota replaced the video boards with new large-screen displays.  The displays, measuring 9 ft. by 16 ft., will provide spectators with an enhanced viewing experience of men’s and women’s hockey with more than twice the resolution of the arena’s previous boards. The new displays will offer vivid image detail and wider, more flexible viewing angles, a darker display face, and unparalleled brightness and contrast levels for sharper images, deeper colors, and a brighter display picture. The facility will be ready for the start of the UND men’s and women’s hockey regular season…

… According to AEG, the planned Farmers Field will be “the most environmentally sustainable stadium in the world.” The company plans to partner with the US Green Building Council and the National Resources Defense Council to make Farmers Field the first ever NFL stadium to achieve LEED certification. AEG, a partner in the recently formed Green Sports Alliance, has already invested $1 billion to build the 72,000-seat stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The California State Senate and Assembly passed a bill requiring AEG to make Farmers Field carbon neutral, including emissions generated from fans’ cars. The company plans to work with the city on transportation, with the goal of giving Farmers Field the lowest “cars per football game ticket holder” ratio of any NFL stadium, and to prioritize on-site and regional alternative energy projects over purchasing carbon credits to achieve neutrality. The company is currently conducting a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which will be used to craft the environmental program and should be completed by June 2012…

…Sporting Club, the company that owns Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City, has launched a technology and entertainment business designed to use the knowledge gained from the club’s tech-friendly Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting Innovations, a consulting firm that will be unveiled Wednesday, comes just four months after the club opened Livestrong Sporting Park. The new business will consult with other pro sports teams and leagues on how to use high-density wireless technology and ultra-high-speed broadband networks. Livestrong Sporting Park was built with two one-gigabyte broadband feeds and 196 wireless routers. It is the only Major League Soccer stadium to use Cisco’s StadiumVision customized-video distribution product. In November, the company will debut a mobile application that allows fans to watch live video feeds on their smartphones from various camera angles.

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