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Atlanta Hawks

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Atlanta Hawks
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State Farm Arena is a multi-purpose venue in the heart of downtown Atlanta, next to Centennial Olympic Park and is home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. The 21,000-seat arena – which also previously hosted the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers and the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream – opened in 1999. The arena received an extensive $192.5 million renovation in 2017-2018 season to maintain its position as a premier entertainment venue for sports, concerts, and shows in the Southeastern United States.

During the arena renovation, the Hawks moved training and operations to a brand new, $50 million Practice Facility at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex. The renovation included plans for an IPTV system that could be deployed across both sites, with live game feeds and digital signage a priority. The arena hosts more than 350 displays, and the Practice Facility features more than 90 displays – and the requirement included the ability for each facility to be connected to a single IPTV platform.

The challenge

The Hawks began looking for an IPTV solution to be installed in its new, dedicated training and Practice Facility, located eight miles away from the State Farm Arena itself.

They sought a flexible IPTV solution that would provide centralized control and the ability to display both signage and IPTV, with local sources via cable and satellite TV providers.

The solution

VITEC was awarded the initial tender for the first phase deployment at Emory Sports Medicine Complex. The main VITEC server was installed at State Farm Arena during the venue’s renovation period in this same timeframe.

“This was a very beneficial step in the process as the Practice Facility was one quarter the size of the system that would be installed at the arena, allowing us to adapt to the new system on a smaller level before scaling up to deploy in the full venue,” says David Collier, Sr. Manager AV Systems & Operations, Atlanta Hawks. “Both facilities are run from the same server at State Farm Arena, which has enabled us to have a very simple ease of operation between both locations.”

The second phase of works – also awarded to VITEC – saw a continued rollout of the IPTV platform, this time at the State Farm Arena. The system runs from one head-end controlling the two sites, and VITEC end-points power all displays throughout.

There are 350+ end-points at State Farm Arena, with a separate Comcast and local source system. The end-points at the arena are deployed along the concourse, which features an array of concession stands. Displays are in VIP suites, premier club spaces, the the owners’ lounge and the Delta Sky360° Club. The Practice Facility has 90+ VITEC end-points, including a theater and dual deployments in the head coach’s office with local sources via Comcast and DirecTV.

These displays are available throughout the facility from common areas to locker rooms, with digital signage for player communication on practice schedules and information.

The Result:

The IPTV system ensures consistency across both sites, which simplifies operations because the IT team manages one system that can support both facilities. It provides a low latency, highquality solution over the existing network.

A key benefit of the VITEC system is the flexibility and ease of controlling end-points. It has enabled the Hawks to offer an enhanced fan experience, showing live streams of the game around the concourse to ensure fans never miss the action, as well as providing customized graphical overlays, with greater opportunities for sponsorship and advertising, including analytics.

“VITEC is very valuable for the Hawks and State Farm Arena as it gives all of our global partners flexible creative opportunities with their media assets, and an ability to dynamically showcase their brand throughout the concourse, club levels and beyond,” says Michael Drake, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships.

A further benefit to the system is enhanced automation to help streamline operations. The on-site team makes use of VITEC’s scheduling system to automate day-to-day event setups, while keeping equipment running for as long as possible. There is a command scheduled to run daily at 2am that turns off end-points to reduce power consumption and preserve the lifecycle of devices, including displays. This command can be easily turned on and off. Further commands include blackouts for concerts to turn off TVs to reduce light and maximize the show’s impact. An Active Data Solution is being implemented, which will change menu information building-wide in just a few clicks, further reducing workload.

“Everything that we have established with VITEC has given us a foundation to continually connect with our fans throughout their time at State Farm Arena,” says Joe Abercombie, Senior Vice President, Live Experience & Production. “We are excited by the opportunity for us to grow with VITEC. VITEC is a platform and technology that help us evolve and enhance our overall guest experience through traditional concourse displays, concourse LED displays and concession menu boards. As we continue to deploy more digital displays at our venue, VITEC is going to be our backbone for creating enhanced communication and a visual experience with our customers.”