University of Kansas
The following project description is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the April 2011 issue of Sound & Video Contractor
The video side of the retrofit equation is equally important. The University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium is less than an hour's drive from the newly refurbished major league stadiums for the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs. Jeff Volk, Director of the Sports and Entertainment Group at Alpha Video, says that proximity played a large part in the school's decision to install an 85'x28' Daktronics HD-X15 high-definition scoreboard display that is larger than all of its previous signage combined. "The facility was ready for a video systems upgrade [the stadium was originally built when Thomas Edison was still a major player in films], but the extent of the upgrade was really driven by the need to try to give KU fans an approximation of the major league stadium experience they could get in the Kansas City Metroplex, because they all share a fan base," Volk says.
The new display at Memorial Stadium is worthy of any major league venue, but the overall budget of about $1.2 million for the new video control room and extensive cabling and framing infrastructure to support the display was less than half the approximately $3 million to $3.5 million that a similar systems integration would cost in typical major league stadium. Behind the brilliant display is a series of carefully calculated compromises that maximized that budget. The decisions became clear when compared to a typical major leagues system, such as the one Alpha Video installed at the Minnesota Twins' Target Field. Memorial Stadium uses three Sony HD cameras compared to the seven at Target Field; there is a 4-channel EVS replay server in the college venue versus the 6-channel EVS at Target; and Memorial uses a Ross Video Vision 2MLE video switcher versus a 4MLE switcher at Target.
"The trade-off is in the number of cameras and the number of replay angles and so on that you have can have," Volk says. "The key to making the work long-term, though, is to build cost-effective expansion capability into the system." For instance, inputs for up to five native HD cameras were allowed for, as were two additional channels for the four slo-mo channels of the current system online. "This allows them to expand the systems as their needs and budgets change," Volk says.
Times are tight and probably will be for awhile, but collegiate sports venues and integrators are finding cost-effective ways to keep the lid on spending while still meeting fans' high expectations.