ANC Sports Brings Biggest, Baddest HD Board to Cleveland

Published: July 16, 2015

The Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to the NBA Finals this year, and you have to wonder how much credit the team’s biggest offseason addition should get.

No, we’re not talking about LeBron James and his return to his hometown team, but rather the 5,550-square-foot LED scoreboard at the center of Quicken Loans Arena. That behemoth represents the largest HD scoreboard in any arena in the country and was in the planning stages well before King James brought his talents back from South Beach in the summer, says ANC Sports executive VP of technology sales and service Chris Mascatello.

The four-sided, center-hung scoreboard has four enormous HD video screens that are tilted and curved to provide optimal viewing angles for all fans whether they are seated in the front row or in the balcony. The two sideline-facing screens measure 31.50 x 56.69 feet (height x width) and feature greater-than-HD video.

The two high-resolution baseline screens measure 29.92 x 33.07 feet. The arena is also illuminated with more than 11,682 square feet of new LED displays in the seating bowl and concourses. This included updating the four corner boards and 360-degree fascia ribbon in the seating area and replacing traditional backlit signage on the concourses with high-resolution LED technology.

Integrator Takeaways:
1. Stay flexible, keep in constant communication and be prepared for the client to change their mind.
2. Think in new ways to deliver something everyone will like—a giant video board loses impact if not everyone can see it.
3. Don’t be afraid of tight timelines; with proper planning you can do much of the prep work ahead of the big deadline remotely.

End User Takeaways:
1. Bigger isn’t always better; let the integrator guide the process and make recommendations.
2. Make sure you’re working with a partner who is as visionary as you are and who isn’t afraid to take risks when necessary.
3. New technology should stand out, but not overwhelm; in fact, it should look like it was always there.

Equipment Highlights:
Lighthouse Technologies LED video screens, ANC Sports content operating system, Grass Valley video switching,  Dyno replay units

ANC Sports installed the center-hung scoreboard, armed with the fan-favorite flaming sabers, and its new audio/visual systems in time for the 2014-15 season opener in October, and every home game the Cavs played gave the board more national exposure.

“We had been talking for a long time,” says Mascatello, noting the conversation started a couple of years ago when the previous board neared a decade old. “The Cavs wanted something unique and large, but you still have to do it in a thoughtful manner.”

With the installation, the Cavaliers boast the largest screen in a U.S. arena by about 8 to 10 percent, says Mascatello. The rectangular board was installed because square boards would’ve been so wide that fans in the front rows wouldn’t have been able to see them, says Mascatello. All four screens have a curve, he says, with the sideline screens more downward than normal.

“Curving the board in like that gives the fans a more immersive experience,” says Mascatello. Team owner Dan Gilbert was involved with the process and helped to encourage ANC to incorporate propellants and other devices that create flaming swords during pregame introductions and at other times during the game as appropriate.

Despite being twice the video square footage of its predecessor, the new Quicken Loans video board didn’t necessitate any ceiling upgrades, such as aluminum reinforcements, says Mascatello. The video board features “a very subtle curve with a 6-mm video screen,” he says.

Although the center boards get the most attention, ANC also replaced and upgraded the arena’s corner boards, ribbon board and fascia. As with many of ANC Sports’ installations, “the timeline was very, very tight,” says Mascatello. The Cavaliers, arena owners and Gateway Management had to wait for funding on the project as a “sin tax” (applying to alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) passed in Cleveland, he says, and that meant ANC couldn’t start its work until August, only a few months before the 2014-15 season started.

Photos: Up Close and Personal with the Cavs’ New Video Board

The arena was in use with concerts, a circus and other games during the summer as ANC kicked off its portion of the job. That meant 18-to-24-hour shifts by the end of the installation, says Mascatello. ANC Sports kept the previous video board intact at the beginning of its work and shrouded the new board during other events so fans didn’t see it before the Cavs’ opener.

Quicken Loans Arena also now boasts a new state-of-the-art HD video production control room, featuring a 6 ME Grass Valley video switcher, five cameras (including two wireless cameras for crowd interaction and contests), two Dyno six-channel replay units (including super-slow options) and four scoreboard-mounted robotic cameras to capture unique views of game action and additional crowd shots.

The HD video production system was designed by Comprehensive Technical Group (CTG). The new technology is synchronized through ANC’s vSOFT operating system. Under a multiyear partnership, ANC designed, installed, will create all content and is operating the entire display system through vSOFT.

“It was a pretty crazy environment,” says Mascatello. And, while Mascatello is proud of ANC’s work, he doesn’t focus on the record-breaking nature of it. “It’s big in terms of square footage, but it’s not an overbearing presence,” he says.

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