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New Sports Paradigm

May 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman

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InfoComm's presence in Anaheim, Calif., this year returns me to my old stomping grounds. That's where I spent chunks of a former lifetime, dwelling in an AV universe far removed from today's, as a sportswriter. Back in those days of trolling Anaheim Stadium (currently Angels Stadium), facility needs from the sportswriter POV involved knowing where the press box, free food, bathrooms, locker rooms, and field access routes were, and little else. We had SD TV monitors in the press box — early giant screens might have started appearing before I left that world (I'm not that old) — and we had first-class telephone access to let us alligator-clip and fax data from our word processors back to the news room, but that was pretty much it.

Fast forward about a millennium, and I don't have much time for the ballpark anymore — but then, I no longer get in for free. Instead, I'm editing Sound & Video Contractor, and dedicating this issue to sports facilities. In so doing, I spot another one of those pesky trends.

That trend: the transformation of dusty old ballparks into state-of-the-art entertainment and media centers swirling at the center of an exciting business and technical revolution. What I learned — and you will too in this issue, if you haven't figured it out already — is that the installation community is directly pushing forward a major paradigm shift. Installation professionals are, in fact, the ones physically transforming sports venues to offer such things as kid-friendly zones, mega-shopping areas, secondary entertainment centers, concert stages, world-class audio and video, and space-age fiber optics.

Those operating Miami's Dolphin Stadium, Turner Field in Atlanta, Toyota Park in Chicago, Anaheim's Honda Center, The Nashville Arena, The Fargodome (all discussed in this issue), and hundreds of others clearly comprehend the added-value possibilities in reconfiguring their facilities. It's all part of an unquenchable thirst to flexibly find more fan dollars.

I'm eager to see what offerings are on display at InfoComm for this growing market. See you there.

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