Minnesota Wild to Partner with Daktronics to Provide Technology Renovation at Xcel Energy Center

The Minnesota Wild has partnered with Daktronics to manufacture and install a comprehensive technology upgrade at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., that will include a new custom HD LED center-hung video board.

Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, MN.

Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, MN.

Daktronics was the original provider of the video boards and other LED displays at Xcel Energy Center in 2000, displays that at the time set a new standard for the in-arena experience across the country. Daktronics was selected again this summer and challenged with a renewed goal: to create a new standard and take the fan experience to a new level.

“Daktronics is a proven leader in this industry and we are confident and really excited about adding these new technologies and what they will mean for in-arena opportunities,” said Matt Majka, Minnesota Wild Chief Operating Officer.  “We want to enhance our home ice advantage and give back to the fans what they give us each and every night.”

The new center-hung video board will be nearly six times larger than the current one, stretching from blue line to blue line. Although larger, its size was intentionally selected to complement the game or event, rather than dominate it. The design will feature the latest technology available and incorporate the North Woods motif already conveyed throughout the arena.

Additional upgrades will include replacement of outdoor marquees and ribbon displays that encircle the interior arena fascia.  The new elements will be largely manufactured in Minnesota and installed over the summer, with the official unveiling planned for the Wild’s first home preseason game on Sept. 27 against the Winnipeg Jets.

Xcel Energy Center first opened its doors in September 2000 and has operated with its original LED signage technology ever since. The technological improvements are the first of two significant projects planned to ensure the arena can continue to attract world-class events that generate significant economic impact for Saint Paul and the surrounding region, in addition to extending the arena’s longevity.  A full seat replacement is scheduled to begin in 2015.

“We want to ensure that Xcel Energy Center continues to be one of the best arenas in the world,” said Jack Larson, Vice President and General Manager of the venue. “It’s vital to attracting the best events and keeping fans coming back to Saint Paul year after year.”

All displays will incorporate excellent image clarity and contrast; wide-angle viewing capability will provide fans with a clear view of the displays from any seat in the arena.

The new center-hung configuration will consist of 10 LED video displays. The two main displays will each measure approximately 19 feet high by 37.5 feet wide. The two end displays will measure approximately 19 feet high by 24 feet wide. The top ring will measure 3 feet high by 145 feet wide and the bottom ring will measure 3 feet high by 120 feet wide. Four circular displays, two on each side of the main video displays, will each measure more than 4 feet in diameter.

The main displays and end displays can show one large image for maximizing live video and instant replays, or they can be divided into separate windows to show a variety of statistics, scoring information, graphics and animations, and sponsor advertisements. The rings and circle displays will provide the opportunity to supplement information shown on the main displays with additional statistics, advertisements and other graphics.

“We’re honored to continue our partnership with the Minnesota Wild and improve the fan experience at Xcel Energy Center,” said Tony Mulder, Daktronics sales. “It’s a testament to our American-manufactured product and continued customer support that the team has selected Daktronics to meet their video display needs more than a decade after our initial partnership began. We’re excited to accept the challenge they have presented us with and we look forward to seeing the successful installation making an impact this fall.”

Daktronics will also be including its powerful Show Control System with this installation. This industry-leading system provides a combination of display control software, world-class video processing, data integration and playback hardware that forms a user-friendly production solution.

Gran Canaria Arena with Integrated Daktronics LED Display System Inaugurated
Although the official inauguration took place on March 15 by the Spanish Government President, Mariano Rajoy Brey, the brand new Gran Canaria Arena in Spain was opened to the public with the first official ACB Basketball Spanish National League game between Herbalife Gran Canaria and FC Barcelona on May 1. The arena was full with more than 10,000 people who attended a special show event prior to the game in which the main attraction was the recently installed Daktronics centerhung video display system. This show, along with the game, was broadcasted by TVE, a Spanish National TV broadcaster.

The Gran Canaria Arena, belonging to the Cabildo de Gran Canaria government, is a very impressive multi-purpose hall building in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which will serve as one of the six venues for this year’s Spain 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. The arena will also be used for cultural and convention events, including Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion show this summer.

As the Insular Sports Counsellor, Lucas Bravo de Laguna, points out, “When we were planning the beginning of the Gran Canaria Arena construction, the responsible technicians travelled to visit other sports pavilions with similar characteristics and purposes with the intention to confirm the aspects that, in each model, were worth considering and those that could be improved. From these visits, the ideas were taken to create this great building complex with exceptional characteristics.”

At the end of the last general arena testing day, Bravo de Laguna commented, “Today is an important day for the Gran Canaria Arena because … we have been able to check the high quality of the signal shown on the different displays that integrate the video-scoreboard … that will be important for the celebration of events with day light, because maintaining the skylight roof open does not reduce the quality of video images shown on the scoreboard displays.

Daktronics designed, manufactured and installed a complete LED video and scoring solution in a centerhung configuration, including FIBA Tier 1 certified lateral scoreboards and an IPTV system with video screens in the main access and distribution corridors, VIP lounges, and media rooms.

The centerhung display configuration consists of 15 individual video displays, all featuring 10 millimeter line spacing, including the following:

  • An upper ring display measuring 0.7 meters high by 28 meters wide.
  • Four main displays in the center, each measuring 3.5 meters high by 6.1 meters wide.
  • Four corner displays, each measuring 3.5 meters high by 0.95 meters wide.
  • An octagon of outward-facing displays below the main displays, each measuring 1 meter high by 2.5 meters wide.
  • Two displays on the bottom measuring 0.9 meters high by 6 meters wide and angled towards the sidelines for better visibility to those sitting courtside.

All of the display systems are controlled with Daktronics Show Control. This industry-leading system provides a combination of display control software, world-class video processing, data integration and playback hardware that forms a user-friendly production solution.

“With a total surface of 150 square meters of display, it offers very impressive video quality, making it a unique installation in Spain,” said Daktronics Spain Regional Sales Manager Ivan del Rio. “The Cabildo de Gran Canaria original intention was to have an NBA-type basketball arena and now they have it. It has been a great experience on a very sophisticated and complex project that presented very demanding challenges, but with a high level of technology and great support from Daktronics’ whole team, it has been a complete success. This project is now one of the most important centerhung display references in Europe.”

Daktronics completed the installation ahead of schedule, leaving a great impression on the main contractor and the client. The project was completed by working with a local partner, Audiovisuales Canarias, which is also a Daktronics mobile and modular display user.

The four main displays are capable of showing one large image to highlight live video and instant replays and can also be divided into separate windows to show a variety of vivid graphics, colorful animations, up-to-the-minute statistics, scoring information and sponsor advertisements. All other displays will supplement the content shown on the main displays while also providing the opportunity to showcase sponsors throughout events and provide up-to-the-minute statistics and game information.

The centerhung will be raised and lowered using a custom-designed, permanently-installed hoist system from Daktronics. This system, which incorporates the latest in hoisting technology and safety, will be used to support the display at varying elevations depending on the arena’s needs.

“Daktronics is proud to partner with Gran Canaria Arena on this project,” said Daktronics Vice President and Director of EMEA Pete Egart. “This installation will provide the best in LED display technology for the 2014 World Basketball Championships. This will also be a great showcase of what Daktronics displays can provide for large-scale live events and the impact it can have on people attending these types of events.”

Daktronics LED video and messaging display technology offers a long lifetime with minimal maintenance and low power consumption, providing value and excitement for years to come.

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