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.The Atlanta Braves franchise understands this well, and welcomes fans way before the opening pitch.
When the Atlanta Braves were planning their new stadium, they recognized the importance of providing a connected and immersive game day experience — one fans can’t get at home. But they needed to create the venue of the future in less than 36 months, which meant finding a tech partner who could deliver cutting-edge technology within tight deadlines. Observing our contributions to the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field stadium, the Braves’ leadership team was blown away by the unbeatable quality and viewing angles of Panasonic’s video board technology.
Panasonic was a single source solution provider to the Braves, not only playing a key role in the stadium’s technology design, but also in creating the entire visual experience. The technologies deployed to SunTrust Park and its adjacent mixed use site, the Atlanta Battery, are all digitally connected, with multiple LED displays, monitors, projectors, digital signage kiosks, and video security systems – all regulated from one central control room. And tech capabilities were only part of the package. Panasonic also had the expertise to integrate on all levels of the project, working alongside the construction company and the architects.
What should have been a 5-year project was completed in 36 months – ready for opening day – with Panasonic delivering a next-level, enhanced fan experience in record-setting time. SunTrust Park’s imposing LED video scoreboard boasts among the best sports viewing experience currently possible. And, thanks to 800 Wi-Fi hot spots connected to a network that’s five times faster, fans in every one of the stadiums 41,500 seats have no problem uploading photos to Instagram, sharing posts on Facebook, or tracking their favorite players’ live stats on a fantasy football app.
Total connectivity with a classic baseball feel
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.
The sports venue of the future
SunTrust Park sits within the Atlanta Battery, a 1.4 million square foot venue in Cobb County. Baseball is only part of the draw: boutique shopping, world-class restaurants, luxury hotels and residences combine to create a 365-day entertainment destination that goes far beyond the standard ball game.
Billed as the “sports venue of the future,” this is a visionary project that many professional sports team will seek to emulate in coming years. But Mike Plant, President of Development at the Atlanta Braves, didn’t have years. They needed to create the venue of the future in less than 36 months.
With an extremely aggressive timeframe, this is one of the fastest stadium builds ever undertaken. It should have been a 5-year project, but to be ready for the first game of the season in April 2017, it had to be completed in 9 months less than anyone before. This tough schedule called for a tech partner who could deliver cutting edge technology within tight deadlines.
To prove what Panasonic was capable of, we took the Braves’ leadership team to the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field stadium, where they were blown away by the unbeatable quality and viewing angles of Panasonic’s video board technology.
Going above and beyond
Technology capabilities were only part of the package. Panasonic also had the expertise to integrate on all levels of the project, working alongside the construction company and the architects.
The highly anticipated Battery Atlanta will met its extremely tight deadline—a feat the Braves believe they couldn’t have achieved without a responsive technology partner.
“Panasonic excelled on all fronts—tech, responsiveness, service speed,” confirms Mike. “It lowers our stress levels knowing we can reach out to them day, night, weekends, holidays—it doesn’t matter when, they’re there for us every step of the way.”
Tech on display 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.