Inside the Target Field Install
Apr 12, 2010 2:32 PM, By Dan Daley
Communication saves the build at Target Field.
Field Of Screens
Target Field’s video display system integrates video, scoring, and advertising across 50 digital LED displays, scoring and statistics systems, and fixed advertising panels, composed of 289 sections of LED panels. The displays are designed and built in sections, typically approximately 9ft. square, and shipped on semitrailers. All were developed by Daktronics, which also supervised its installation. The centerpiece of the video system is a 1080p high-definition display measuring 101ft. wide by 57ft. high, featuring Daktronics HD-X LED video technology. The largest display, the main videoboard, consists of 72 sections. The main videoboard took approximately six days to lift, mount, and connect the 72 sections into place on the steel structure. The videoboard can be operated as a single giant display or divided into multiple windows to show a variety of content including statistics, graphics, animation, and live and recorded video, with picture-in-picture capability. The displays are mapped so that the video content and other data is displayed on the proper sections.
Another aspect of the video system are the eight full-color Daktronics digital “ribbon” displays totaling more than 1230ft., in five different configurations, mounted to upper seating deck fascia behind home plate and along first and third base lines. The largest single-ribbon board is 523ft. long and located behind home plate. These displays provide in-game information, out-of-town scores, advertisements, and crowd prompts intended to create an interactive, immersive experience for fans, as well as creative opportunities for sponsors to get their messages across through motion graphics. Two of the smaller ribbon boards are dedicated to hearing-impaired closed captioning.
Yet another aspect of the systems is one of Major League Baseball’s largest out-of-town game scoreboards as part of the right-center field fence, measuring 109ft. wide by 12ft. high, showing up-to-the-minute information on the current pitcher, hitter, base runners, game scores and stats, game notes, and player head shots, as well as colorful graphics, animations, and video clips. Other system elements include full-color LED displays near the bullpen and at the entry plaza, 14 backlit fixed advertising panels, 37 small LED ticket window displays, and two long LED ticker displays in the ballpark’s restaurants.
Each of the 50 displays has a connection back to the scoreboard control room, with the longest cable run from the control room to display being approximately 1800ft., according to Daktronics’ project manager Aaron Louwagie. “There were multiple communication rooms that we had to route wires through, and the control room is six floors above the majority of the conduit/cable trays, so there was a long vertical run of cabling as well,” he says. “There were no major issues with the cable install, though.” High-definition video is sent to the screen on fiber-optic cable from the Bexel EVS IP Director System’s playout server and 6-channel XT2 slow-motion system. “It has the ability to send scores and stats to the IPTV system [that] they patch through to the LCDs,” Louwagie says. “We would send the layout with the stats and scores and other bumpers out as a video feed, and the IPTV system pushes it out.”
Target Field has a lot of subtle touches, including the possibility of heated seats, which are currently under consideration as an upgrade. Another one is the distributed antenna system, put together by Insight Technologies, that creates a cell repeater system that covers the entire stadium, giving it full coverage for fans to use their mobile phones. “It’s a convenience issue—no one wants to be without phone service these days,” Couture says. “But it’s also a part of the larger security strategy—event staff will be able to use their phones in the event of an emergency or security issue. It’s a convenience that becomes a life-safety issue.” Future expansion is planned for the wireless LAN that’s currently used for stadium operations, allowing enough bandwidth to let fans also surf the Internet. “The overarching thinking was to make the entire stadium as user-friendly as possible, for both the team and the fans,” he says. “And it is. It’s one of the most advanced stadiums in baseball.”
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