Final Four fans score with digital signage assist

April 9, 2014 | by Christopher Hall

The NCAA Men's and Women's Final Four just wrapped up a thrilling March Madness — and digital signage was there to make enjoying the game possible for fans.

The Men's Final Four was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, which already has some of the most impressive digital signage scoreboards in sports. In fact, the stadium's video screens dwarfed the basketball court on which the games were played itself — measuring in at 72 feet by 160 feet, while the court itself was a mere 50 feet by 94 feet, or less than half the size of the screens.

But even those titanic screens weren't enough: Argyle, Texas-based customized LED sign supplier GoVision built and hung four massive LED screens beneath the stadium's own high-definition LED screens to let fans seated courtside watch replays and see the scoreboard. The four-sided, scale-model video wall was configured with two 18-foot-by-40-foot screens flanked by two 15-foot-by-18-foot screens comprising 468 Panasonic 8 mm tiles, GoVision said.

march madness digital signage

(Photo courtesy of Ladd Biro, Champion Management.)

"We are proud to have worked with the NCAA on the Final Four, and most of the regional tournaments, since 2008, and they are always a highlight of our year," GoVision CEO Chris Curtis, who also serves on the NCAA Local Organizing Committee, said in a company announcement. "Having the chance to work on this amazing event in our own backyard is just the icing on the cake. It's a genuine thrill seeing our screens hanging right above the court when the national championship tips off."

And all those screens were critical for fan enjoyment of the college basketball game played in an NFL football stadium, according to a fan who was at the Final Four. AT&T Stadium was not an optimal venue for watching basketball, Tim Clark, who traveled from Louisville, Ky., to root for the national runner-up University of Kentucky Wildcats at the Final Four, told Digital Signage Today. "I was [on the] 100 level and still needed the TV [to see the game]."

Clark said he was right behind the goal in section 145, and, while the screens were "incredible," he wishes he'd been able to see the game without having to rely on the LED screens. Still, he said, "without the TVs it would have been horrible."

"[The] technology was great and the screen had incredible color, etc." Clark said, but he prefers relying on the screens for replays — and since fans needed the screens to be able to see the live action, when they showed replays fans were missing the actual live-game action, he said. Clark had friends in the 400 section, he said, and they had no choice but to watch the whole game on the screens to be able to enjoy it at all.

"So in all, thank God for them," he said. "Final note: Imagine the game without the TVs. Impossible. So they were a huge asset for the fan. If it were 1980 it would have never been possible."

In addition to the Men's Final Four in Arlington, GoVision was going big across the country this week, the company said.

GoVision, which supplies customized modular LED walls and turnkey mobile LED units, said it was providing fans and spectators great views at more than 20 events — from Palm Springs, Calif., to Nashville, Tenn. — marking the highest-grossing week in its 11-year history.

In addition to the screens hanging below the scoreboard, GoVision said it provided a 3-foot-by-50-foot low-profile LED ribbon board for the five courtside scorers tables and two LED shot clocks above the goals. The screens hanging in the plazas outside AT&T Stadium also are part of GoVision's LED inventory, through its partnership with the Dallas Cowboys.

But the screens at the stadium were just the opening act. GoVision also built five LED walls — two measuring in at 48 feet by 24 feet, two at 9 by 16 and one at 24 by 60 — and all of the video production services for the three-day March Madness Music Festival featuring Bruce Springsteen, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, fun. and The Killers in downtown Dallas.

Bruce Springsteen in concert

(Photo courtesy of Scott McKinnon, GoVision.)

"The March Madness Music Festival is actually a bigger and more complicated undertaking than the games, especially since we're also responsible for production during the concerts," Curtis said in the announcement.

Add in two more screens (and video production services) at the Tip-Off Tailgate presented by Infiniti and four corporate events tied to the tournament, and a total of 8,000 square feet (and 11.5 million pixels) of GoVision LEDs were scattered around North Texas just for Final Four weekend, the company said.

GoVision also provided LED signage at several other events from coast to coast this week, among them the NCAA Women's Final Four in Nashville; the NASCAR Victory Lane at the Duck Commander 500 and O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway; the PGA Shell Houston Open; the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship in Palm Springs; and the Academy of Country Music Fan Jam in Las Vegas.

Courtside LED sign at Women's Final Four

(Photo courtesy of GoVision.)

"We began 2014 at the NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, worked the Super Bowl in New Jersey, provided screens for the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans and covered NASCAR races, PGA tournaments and dozens of other sporting and corporate events, festivals and more over the past three months," Curtis said. "We opened our first West Coast offices in Los Angeles in February, and we've hired several more talented employees. I'd say it's been a pretty exciting year so far, and we've only just begun."

(Cover photo courtesy of Ladd Biro, Champion Management.)

Topics: Display Technology , Entertainment Venues , LED Signs , Stadiums / Arenas

Christopher Hall / Christopher is the editor of A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.
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