Along with the stadium redevelopment came even bigger expectations for an improved fan experience. There was also a greater financial opportunity for teams through enhanced sponsor displays. As a result, the newly installed LED big screen and ribbon signage system was quickly pushed to its limit. The stadium was pumping out over 2000 advertisements during a single event day, as well as live scores, sponsored moments of exclusivity, and for the first time in Australian sports, large scale team entry showpieces. Adelaide Oval soon developed a reputation for having the best game-day experience in the country. However, the Oval began receiving requests from its tenants to further enhance fan engagement via live stats and dynamic broadcast-quality graphics. These requests were challenging for the Oval’s staff to produce or in some cases not possible, and this limited the opportunities that the teams were able to provide to their sponsors. Programming the game-day production to meet the ever-increasing requirements was tedious and manually intensive – it took system operators upwards of 12 hours to schedule the commercial signage alone. Moments of exclusivity were synchronized using a clunky ‘3, 2, 1, go!’ with multiple operators triggering their devices and hoping for the content to play in sync.
With the new Perth Stadium soon to open, Oval management was determined to ensure that their facility remained at the forefront of Australian stadiums, so in 2016 the decision was made to investigate new technology.
Venue production partner KOJO worked with host teams and stadium management to put together a list of expectations and then went to market looking for an appropriate provider. Key features that would be required of the updated system included:
Full venue integration: Single button-press to trigger all LED displays, IPTV and LED lighting systems with content remaining in sync for the duration of playback.
Data-driven content: Commercial playlists populated automatically by team supplied rundowns with minimal manual intervention needed, and no clip limits. Live data to automatically trigger ‘moments’ or dynamic graphics and signage (i.e. cricket ball speed or scoreboard update animations).
Efficient and flexible workflow: Automated content transcodes and distribution from drop folders to playback devices.
Customisable control platform: Simple user interface with advanced capability. Easy to add tasks and controls on the fly. Ability to control multiple systems and third-party devices.
Scalable: Able to add features, hardware and operators as required. One person must be able to operate multiple devices if required.
Preview: The ability to preview content before switching it live to air.
Live character generation: Real-time, no-render graphics and CG for display on the both big screen and LED ribbon boards. Ability to link multiple live stat sources.
Redundancy: Backup of control, content, and hardware in times of failure. Quick failover processes.
Proof of play reports: Play times and counts for when a piece of content is played to meet sponsorship obligations.
Over the course of 12 months, Ross worked very closely with KOJO to design and deliver a solution that would meet all challenges and integrate into the stadium’s existing Carbonite and XPression Studio production suite.
KOJO engaged Ross Video’s Rocket Surgery Creative Services team to help develop their custom DashBoard panels. The panels are used for everything from controlling cross points in the NK Router to triggering ribbon board content and stadium lights, as well as in-game scoring and timekeeping. DashBoard became responsible for technical failover, and with a few button clicks, XPression engines, router cross points and operator panels can be reconfigured to operate in backup with very little impact on the show. Ross also supplied the PowerPlay event control system, which allows operators to schedule tasks and commands to take place automatically at any time of day. These tasks can trigger anything that DashBoard can, allowing smaller events to be triggered without even requiring an operator, and ensuring that architectural lights turn on at the same time every night. THE IMPACT
The upgrade became big news in South Australia, and the stadium was keen to show off the system with a bang! An official launch event was held for VIPs and media where the integration and flexibility of the system was highlighted. By demonstration that the solution could offer more than just a digital signage and sports displays, it really did bring the Oval in line with the best entertainment venues in the world. The first public event was the first-ever day/night Ashes test cricket match between Australia and England in November 2017.
The new system allowed KOJO and the teams to quickly develop new methods to present information in ways that would engage fans and provide new and exciting opportunities for sponsors. With the Ross system, the Oval can run interactive games using real-time graphics and up-to-the-second live stats displayed on any screen. If it’s possible in professional broadcasts, it’s now possible at Adelaide Oval on the LED displays. With the addition of a third level of LED ribbon signage, teams were keen to leverage even greater sponsorship opportunities, selling up to 3 brands in each 30-second spot. The XPression Datalinq server enables these ad spots to be programmed in a matter of minutes and allows for last-minute (and even on-air) changes should they be required. RossTalk commands are triggered using a custom control on the Carbonite to allow the vision switcher to activate a ‘moment of exclusivity’ or ‘takeover’ with one button press. This enables AFL goals plus cricket 4, 6, and wicket content to be activated across all screens the second the umpire gives the signal. And because the system includes Tessera, everything stays in sync – no more ‘3, 2, 1, go!’ for three different operators on three different systems.