Digital signage lights up dowtown Phoenix (Video)

The City of Phoenix faced a dilemma not unusual for large metro areas with significant suburban populations — how do you get people back downtown to revitalize the city center?

For Phoenix, digital signage held part of the answer.

Inspired by other cities that have created entertainment districts, such as L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Phoenix partnered with two of its major sports franchises to create the Legends Entertainment District in the city's downtown area, charged with changing the perception of the city's center.

Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks and the National Basketball Association's Phoenix Suns have collaborated with the city over the last year and change to transform the Jefferson Street corridor in downtown Phoenix into something more bright and vibrant than before.

Combining approximately 7,000 square feet of full-motion LED digital signage with about 55,000 square feet of new static signage, the Legends Entertainment District has created quite a splash in the downtown area, said the district's general manager, Judd Norris, and digital signage has played a major role.

"The digital format allows the creative resources and content resources that we have in house between the two teams to really design some visually appealing things, that quite — frankly what we're really trying to do is to get poeple to have a reason to come down to the games or events earlier and stay later and if you create a vibrant energized area its going to make them want to do that," he said.

With the Diamondbacks' Chase Field, the Suns' US Airways Center and the Phoenix Convention Center all set along the Jefferson Street, the number of events at all of the venues together provides plenty of compelling content for the LED signs, Norris said.

The convention center boasts a mid-size LED display standing just above street level, facing the two sports stadia across Jefferson Street. On the street side of Chase Field hangs a 35-foot-by-73-foot LED board, dubbed the "Big Board," that shows district content and advertising.

There are also three 50-foot towers outside Chase Field and the US Airways Center, each featuring three 13-foot-by-22-foot LED boards, in addition to top and bottom LED halo rings. The towers display 30-second content segments from each facility's respective team, the Legends Entertainment District and content partners, and the bottom halos also feature scrolling tickers.

And there are two massive, 4-foot by 125-foot LED tickers on the Jefferson Street parking garage set between the US Airways Center and Chase Field.

According to The Arizona Republic newspaper, the district's first phase was an $8.6-million, first-year investment, with the city providing $2 million for the initial investment and the rest coming from the Suns, Diamondbacks and investors.

"We could not be more pleased with the look and the results," Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall told the paper. "There's definitely a continuous flow of energy."

All of the signage is centrally managed from a control center in Chase Field, running X2O Media software to power content on Panasonic LED displays installed by YESCO, Norris said.

The choice to go digital was an easy one, Norris said, especially once the city gave permission to use full-motion, full-color digital displays, essentially digital billboards, in the district, as opposed to the run-of-the-mill static images that change every 8 seconds mandated on many digital billboards.

"It was the immediate choice for us to choose large-format full digital because we could visually let the consumer, whether it be a pedestrian or someone who's in a vehicle or someone who's visiting us from out of town, see visually what happens in these multiple blocks," Norris said. "You see downtown, you see light, you see vibrancy, you see energy; it makes it be a place to want to go, and it's all done by technology. It's a perception changer."

Watch a time-lapse video of the district below:

Read more about LED digital signage.

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