SBD/Issue 146/Facilities & Venues

HP Pavilion Becoming Tech Testing Lab For Arena Improvements

HP Pavilion's Technology Includes $17M
HD Audio/Video Upgrade
New sports venues are "popping up all over the nation, some costing over $1(B) to build, not just because of the facility, but because of the technology now being deployed to improve the fan experience," and the Sharks' HP Pavilion is becoming a "kind of tech testing lab for so many new gizmos" due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, according to Jim Goldman of CNBC. The arena's technology includes a $17M HD audio/video upgrade that features a "massive video scoreboard from Daktronics and cool replay system from EVS that turns the 'Shark Tank' into its own television station." Goldman: "It's not just about the fans anymore. It's very much about the bottom line." Sharks President & CEO Greg Jamison said the investment in technology "pays back in the fact that people want to come back." Jamison added, "You don't sell space anymore. You sell time. ... (But) at the end of the day, what's going on on the ice during play, that's the key factor and everything else should enhance that. Not overshadow, but enhance." Goldman: "The Sharks' tech partners are as much a key to the team's success as the players on the ice" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 4/15).

TEST RIDE: In Seattle, Brier Dudley Tuesday tested Nintendo's DSi game system at Safeco Field, "trying the new ESPN news feeds (fine but a little underwhelming, basic RSS feeds); the real-time streaming game video (great, but a few brief network pauses); and the nifty pitch tracker that instantly shows whether the ball is in or around the strike zone." Dudley on the DSi ordered a hot dog and soda, which included a 17% service charge, and the food "arrived in 12 minutes, delivered in a cardboard takeout box." Loading the software initially "took several minutes, and the connection had to reconnect a few times in the concourse and in the stands" when lowering the unit below the seat backs. The system "would periodically need to reconnect, and there were pauses of sometimes 10 seconds when connecting to the video feed" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/16).

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