Tech infused ballpark for Internet Age fans5 minutes
Baseball has long had the distinctive honor of being labeled as “America’s pastime.” The newest stadiums are being designed for those raised in an Internet Age, and also for fans who appreciate the sport’s traditions.
Relevant and varied content is now part of American sports culture, with people looking for unique experiences and seeking to be excited by the action on the field and by new forms of audiovisual entertainment. Fans who use Instagram and Uber as verbs now expect the same mobile connectivity and convenience from their ballpark as they do from their rideshare.
Total connectivity in a classic ballpark feel
The Atlanta Braves franchise understands this well, and welcomes fans way before the opening pitch. ESPN visited the Braves’ new stadium at the home opener against the San Diego Padres: “People mobbed the new bars and restaurants of The Battery, showing up early and staying late. Any reviews of the new park wouldn’t be complete without mentioning The Battery, a mixed-use development that combines a high-end hotel that looms over center field, bars, restaurants, retail, office buildings and apartments.”
Digital technology throughout the park and the mixed-use development creates an overall connected sensory experience. Kiosks prominently situated in the “lifestyle destination” of The Battery are programmed with stats, standings, new apps, offerings from local restaurants and info about special programs such as the Braves Kids Club—offering visitors an experience that flows from one venue to the next.
Tech on display and behind the scenes
The 41,500-seat SunTrust Park has 800 Wi-Fi hot spots, and another 300 in the Battery. More than 250 miles of fiber optic cable supports the stadium and the mixed-use development, and the two-sided kiosks are just one more element to engage fans and other folks visiting for the experience. The Braves’ control room staff programs content for the “BravesVision” video board, which is 121 feet wide and 64 feet tall, as well as about 18 other high-resolution LED displays including a 90-by-27-foot out-of-town scoreboard off left field, two bullpen displays, more than 700 feet of digital ribbon fascia, and special displays for the Kids Zone and Tech Club.
Miss a play or a promotion? There are at least 1,110 large flat-screen pro monitors to catch up. Behind the scenes, there’s a scalable security management system and security camera equipment to ensure the park and surrounding area are safe and enjoyable for all.
And while technology keeps people connected from The Battery to the ballpark, the feel is classic ballpark, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told the media on opening day.