Why LED Video is No Longer an Option

How can a professional sports owner, athletic director or facility manager re-establish their event as the only game in town? By understanding the true competition and realizing that, in order to beat ’em, you’ve gotta join ’em. With LED video.

Lighthouse at Michigan Stadium

Lighthouse LED Video at Michigan Stadium

Not so long ago many stadiums and arenas presented sports and entertainment events without giant-screen, full-color LED video. Today, it’s difficult to find a modern facility in which LED video screens and fascia displays aren’t a major element of the entertainment mix. But why has LED video in your local venue become an apparent necessity, rather than a flashy luxury? For the answer, you need look no further than your living room.

The Competition

Possibly the largest contributor to the popularity of NFL and college football has been television. Football is a sport played out amongst the elements, and though there are regularly large crowds for football games in the snow and sleet and rain, far more people watch the same football game from the comfort and warmth of their living room, with instant replay and statistics. This is not only because football is a cold weather sport. It’s because television – with instant replay, a broad range of statistics, highlights, and knowledgeable announcers – delivers football better than the live, no replay version at the stadium.

Hockey and basketball are played indoors, and both sports are easier to follow in person, with the entire court/rink within view. Still, the perks of televised hockey and basketball are undeniable. Slow motion enables the translation and deconstruction of lightning-fast hockey plays. Shot charts and passing analysis enable the casual fan to understand the triangle offense.

Unlike football, weather is not a factor in baseball. Baseball is (usually) played on nice days and, again, is arguably a better experience in person. Baseball at a ballpark has romance and nostalgia that other sports don’t possess, and that television doesn’t convey. But, as with the other three sports, television effectively presents the details and minutiae that not only make the game more understandable, but are exactly the sorts of deep knowledge the serious baseball fan wants… the same fan who is most likely to spend disposable income on ticket purchases.

Television is the competition for fan attention and fan dollars. By presenting the game in a more in-depth fashion, television appeals to “true” fans along with those not committed enough to the game to go through the perceived hassles of long lines, parking, etc.

Lighthouse LED Video at the Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Lighthouse LED Video at the Bradley Center

Fan Expectation

Because of television, the modern fan needs media and statistical support to fully appreciate the game. Without it, the game lacks depth. Expert analysis increases enjoyment, as do pertinent statistics and timely replays and highlights. The slick orchestration of sports broadcasts and the underlying truths of extensive statistical analysis have managed to render the game itself “not enough.”

So how can stadiums and arenas compete?

The Advantages of Live Sports

Watching football with 70,000 other fans, being one with the crowd, smelling the hot dogs in the open air, and feeling the momentum shift on the field and in the crowd as if it were a living thing, are impossibilities in front of a living room flat screen.

The weaving, positioning, passing and playmaking of hockey are far better witnessed live. Whereas television replays are bonuses in football, with hockey they are necessities to truly grasp what is happening on the ice. Though basketball is less dependent upon replay for appreciation on television, in the arena the natural rhythms of the game, the sound of the dribbled ball, and sneakers squeaking on wood make for a more complete experience.

Lighthouse LED Video at McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket Red Sox

Lighthouse LED Video at McCoy Stadium

Baseball’s casual pace is perfect for watching with other baseball fans. Because of breaks between pitches and innings, baseball can be the most social experience of the major sports.

Overall, what the live sports experience offers to the fan is camaraderie and immediacy, and the feeling of being there. But it lacks the depth of televised sports and, when television is at its best – filling the gaps between the action and adding historical/statistical perspective to the game – live sporting events experience dead air.

These are the moments Lighthouse LED video excels.

LED Video Delivers

When used to its capabilities, LED video enables stadiums and arenas to equal television in the broad categories of statistics and replay. In addition, most facilities display the game on their main LED video screens as it occurs. This leaves only expert analysis as an advantage television holds over live sports events at venues with LED video displays.

In addition to game action, many facilities coordinate their main displays with LED video “ribbon” displays, offering entertainment and motivational animations and video to their fans. So while video is the beginning and end of the televised sports experience, LED video enhances the live sports experience, adding depth to the game’s immediacy and perspective to crucial moments.

Lighthouse LED video enables modern venues to compete with television for fan dollars by enhancing the fan experience beyond television’s limits. Used properly, LED video helps teams and facilities attract fans by elevating the game.

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