Sport Facility Integration Summit: Breaking into sports-venue integration

As sports venues on both sides of the Atlantic attempt to meet fan demands for increased connectivity and enhanced production systems, systems integrators and technology manufacturers must respond. SVG’s inaugural Sport Facility Integration Summit, held last week in Amsterdam, featured a panel discussion on breaking into this burgeoning market.

Malcolm Robinson, director of media and broadcast solutions for systems-integration specialist Broadcast Networks, explained that one of the most difficult steps is getting the venue to realise what they want.

“[Sports venues] tend to come to this part of the business toward the end of the project, rather than actually bringing it to the project manager of the stadium when they’re building, which would make a lot of jobs a lot easier,” he said. “You’re going in as a last thought sometimes, but it’s getting better.”

When production systems are included in the overall venue design at the outset, systems integrators can plan for the amount of cabling required and the amount of connectivity desired.

In addition to systems integrators, traditional broadcast vendors are finding that the live-production market can be a perfect fit for their gear. For example, at last week’s Integrated Systems Europe show, multiple broadcast manufacturers demonstrated their wares working in a live-production workflow.

As sports-venue operators increasingly demand broadcast-level quality for in-venue video production, the two worlds are becoming increasingly blended. In fact, Blackmagic Design’s Craig Heffernan explained that his company’s products, such as digital miniconverters, are already in use in multiple live-production environments.

“We found ourselves being more and more drawn into live production and sports integration because those customers are now demanding that broadcast-level of production and the value quality that our broadcast history brings to them,” said Heffernan, who serves as technical sales specialist. “They also appreciate the accessibility of a system manufacturer in terms of the range of products we offer in the modular sense, the interoperability that we have working with third-party systems, and the systems-integration solutions we can provide.”

Whether systems integrator or technology manufacturer, the panelists encouraged anyone looking to gain a foothold in the sports-venue market to look to new regions and new sports for opportunities.

“Handball is a sport which will be bigger in the next year and the [venues] where handball is playing [require so much more] than the venues for shows,” said Norbert Labudda, managing director, Fulfil Engineering. “This is a very interesting field for us.”

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters