Ross Video edge-of-the-seat action for fans



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Harry Sampson on Coliseum Europe Image: Harry Sampson & MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Harry Sampson is the Business Development Manager of Sports and Live Events Solutions, Ross Video, UK. Operating out of EMEA’s Reading office in the United Kingdom, Sampson has over 10 years of live sports television and entertainment production experience.

He has a rich experience of working for several television companies in different broadcast roles. Prior to joining Ross Video, Sampson worked as a staff Vision Mixer for Sky Sports.
 

Ross Video

Ross Video Limited is a privately-held Canadian company that designs and manufactures equipment for live event and video production.

Passionate about live production, Ross Video designs, manufactures and delivers dependable technology and services that power exceptional live video productions seen by billions of viewers around the world every day.

The South Dundas (Canada)-based company was founded in the year 1974 and boasts about 1,000+ employees.

In an exclusive with ‘Coliseum’, Harry Sampson, BDM Sports and Live Events, EMEA, Ross Video, UK, provides a behind-the-scenes look at three venues’ successful case studies powered by Ross Video – SoFi Stadium, Principality Stadium and Nokia Arena.
 

Principality Stadium

The Principality Stadium, located in the City of Cardiff (UK), is the national stadium of Wales and home to the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

Having first opened its doors in 1999 for the Rugby World Cup Finals, the previously named Millennium Stadium seats 74,500 and was the first multipurpose sports and entertainment venue in the United Kingdom to be built with a fully retractable roof.

In the Fall of 2021, the Principality Stadium was set to host several high-profile fixtures as part of the Autumn Nations Rugby Series.
 

Ross Video to the rescue

The Principality Stadium team tasked the PMY Group to manage the in-venue technology upgrade project at the Principality Stadium and make the stadium UHD-capable. With countless stadium projects completed in North America and a proven track record of success, PMY Group immediately reached out to the Ross Sports and Live Events group to come up with a plan.

Put in Harry Sampson, “We presented the Ross Unified Control Solution, and the Principality Stadium immediately recognized the creative, technical and business benefits of integrating the production control room technology with the LED content management system. Specifically, by tying these systems together through the power of the dashboard venue control software, in- venue operators would be able to trigger fully synchronized events and graphics across all in-venue displays with the press of a button.”

The first match at the Principality Stadium with the return of fans offered a thrilling tie between the Welsh Rugby Union and the legendary New Zealand All-Blacks. For such a highly anticipated fixture, the Principality team ratcheted up their gameday presentation with the support of Ross Video’s Creative Services team, Rocket Surgery.
 

Ross Feat:

  • The in-house production team of Ross Video wowed the audience with compelling full-screen visuals after every try and conversion;
  • Fans were drawn deeper into the game throughout the 90 minutes thanks to Rocket Surgery’s full suite of dynamic visuals, including score-bugs, match timing, team lineups, statistic reports, and team entrance hype sequences; and
  • Another impact of the Ross Unified Control Solution is its ability to connect with third-party data providers to tell an even more compelling story to fans in the stadium. Integrations with Swiss Timing, Opta /Stats Perform and the IPTV systems at the Principality Stadium meant that the production team could publish important match data in realtime across a variety of screens.

 

Modus Operandi

Elaborated Sampson, “Ross Video essentially makes a lot of tech products – cameras and robots, clips and replay that is the instant replay sports, analysis tools, getting video signals. The application is on the top of these products. So, essentially you can pick and choose the right products. We also have greater services on to the business so that we can design graphics and we sell tools for different markets. We finally develop 50 to 60 percent of our business in the broadcast market in Sports and News. We are seeing a big upswing in Esports and then Government, Corporate, Live Events, and Education as well.”
 

The Sports and Live Events Team

 

How Ross Video Can Help

  • Consult;
  • Solution Design;
  • Deployment;
  • Creative Services;
  • Training;
  • Event Launch Support; and
  • 24/7 Tech Support.

 
He added, “We sit down and discuss what the business has to achieve and how do you do that with the help of technology. We can draw our solutions and we have teams in deployment and creative services and teams can come and teach on how to keep making the content and we also have teams that ensure that events are a success. We also boast a tech support team.”

Some of the venues where Ross Video technology is being used:
 

Customer Sites

  • The 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium (NFL) in Paradise, Nevada, US;
  • The 23,500-capacity United Center (NBA/NHL) in Chicago, Illinois, US;
  • The 22,000-capacity Banc of California (MLS) Stadium in Los Angeles, California, US;
  • The 21,000-capacity State Farm Arena (NBA) in Atlanta, Georgia, US;
  • The 50,398-capacity Coors Field (MLB) in Denver, Colorado, US;
  • HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas, US (Esports);
  • The 18,500-capacity Rogers Place (NHL) in Edmonton, Canada;
  • The 18,064-capacity Chase Center (NBA) in San Francisco, California, US;
  • The 53,500-capacity Adelaide Oval (cricket) in North Adelaide, Australia;
  • The71,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium (NFL/MLS) in Atlanta, Georgia, US;
  • The 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium (NFL) in Inglewood, California, US;
  • Confetti X (Esports) in Nottingham, England, UK;
  • The 13,455-capacity Nokia Arena (ice hockey) in Tampere, Finland; and
  • The 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium (rugby) in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

 
Stated Sampson, “The above points out that we do a lot of work with a lot of different sports and we have a wealth of experience on the same. We have a lot of experience even with multipurpose stadia. Ross Video also has a lot of market share in North America and 80 to 90 percent of our sports venues are in North America. We also know about venue experience and fan engagement.”
 

Recent Projects

  • Nokia Arena, Finland (ice hockey); and
  • SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles (Super Bowl LVI).

 

Nokia Arena

The Nokia Arena is a world-class sports and live entertainment center located in Tampere, Finland, and is home to both the Tampereen Ilves and Tappara of the Finnish Elite Ice Hockey League.

As one of the most modern multipurpose venues in Northern Europe, the Arena features a state-of-the-art live production technology system that is flexible enough to give in-venue operators the freedom to produce a wide variety of events with ease.
 

Ross Video to the Rescue

Ross Video has helped in designing the in-venue broadcast technology solution for Nokia Arena and its wideranging suite of products combine to create a flexible, scalable in-venue solution that merges the traditional production control room with LED display control.

By consolidating the production control room and LED display control systems, the Nokia Arena team can coordinate various elements of their production to draw fans deeper into the action.

Another advantage of the Ross Unified Venue Control Solution is the ability to take realtime data from an event and translate it into visually stunning effects with the XPression Tessera system.

Sampson termed the Nokia Arena as a “supercool venue” and mentioned how the Ross Video team was able to wow fans by its display projections.
 

SoFi Stadium

Described as the most technologically advanced sports and entertainment venue on the planet, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, plays host to both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League, as well as some of the biggest live concerts in the world.

A marvel from both a technological and architectural standpoint, the low-slung stadium sits on the former site of the Hollywood Park racetrack and features an asymmetrical roofline containing a network of LED panels. Inside the venue, the centerpiece of the stadium is the 360-degree double-sided videoboard that spans 120 yards and contains nearly 80 million pixels.

As a multi-purpose venue that plays host to two separate NFL teams, SoFi Stadium’s production team requires tools that are flexible enough to transition from hosting an L.A. Rams game one week to an L.A. Chargers the next week and a mega concert event in-between.
 

Ross Video to the Rescue

The combination of Ross Video’s production control room technology with the XPression Tessera LED Content Management System and the DashBoard Venue Control Software delivers on the requirement of flexibility.

From the management of multiple internal LED displays, concourse feeds and external displays to the control of third-party devices like video processors, LED lighting and audio systems, the Ross Unified Venue Control Solution provides the SoFi team with complete control of their production and enables them to deliver a truly immersive live event experience for fans.

Specifically, the multiple Acuity production switchers allow the SoFi production team to cut pre-game, in-game, and post-game feeds simultaneously.

Inception is also used to draw fans closer to the action as it allows the stadium crew to publish fan-driven social media content to their ribbon boards in realtime.
 

More on Principality Stadium

Sampson stated that international matches are played at the Principality Stadium and it boasts an amazing ambience and the atmosphere is great. When Ross Video provided its solutions to the venue, the team knew that it was very important “To get those fans in and engage them”.
 

Principality Stadium

  • Technology refresh;
  • LED screens and IPTV;
  • UHD-capable broadcast facility;
  • New-look graphics; and
  • Focus on the fans.

 
He continued, “We were required to refresh the technology of the stadium. We bought in new equipment into the venue. A big requirement was the UHD-capable broadcast facility and it was loaded with TV around the venue. The venue was in dire need of tech upgrade. There was also the graphics engine which was going to drive all these LEDs and we helped them organize that as well. And really it was all about focusing in on the fans. They hadn’t been to the venue for two years and it was about welcoming 75,000 fans back to play.”
 

Project Timeline

  • Data integration (clock, DPTA, social);
  • Legacy equipment; and
  • Simplify.

 
He further stated that it was crystal clear from the very beginning that the project would be a big challenge – “The Principality Stadium operators wanted to put that clock data into the matchday experience and they wanted fans to gather that data and put that into the matchday production as well. There was a lot of legacy equipment – they wanted to make things easier and utilize those pitch ribbons as part of the venue experience.”
 

Finished Project

Ross Video technology helped Principality Stadium to “End up with this amazing UHD broadcast facility”.
 

Unified Venue Solution

  • LED display control;
  • Venue control; and
  • Production control room.

 

LED Display Control

  • Scalable LED display content generation;
  • Pixel accurate;
  • Real time rendering and dynamic takeover;
  • Synchronized the entire venue;
  • Dashboard unified venue control;
  • Simplified and customizable user interface;

 

Venue Control

Sampson explained that Venue Control can help one to “Track the button, assign the task and you can make it trigger the entire graphic as well as create these looks inside venues. You can also do data integration, score updates and one can really do whatever they wish to do.”
 

Production Control Room

 

Equipment

  • Vision mixer;
  • Graphics;
  • Replay;
  • Clip playback;
  • Routing;
  • Multiviewers;
  • Audio mixer; and
  • Low latency.

 
Doing everything pre-match, middle of the match and post-match.
 

Lessons Learnt and Final Thoughts

 

Data Integration

  • Where is it from?
  • How is it accessed?
  • The end goal

 

Behind the Screens

  • Content strategy; and
  • AV team.

 

The Competition for Business

  • Venue experience;
  • Fan engagement; and
  • Ownership.

 

In-venue Audiovisual

  • Bigger LEDs;
  • More content;
  • Real time; and
  • Broadcast style.

 
Ross Video has taken up case studies of several high-profile venues and it has proved its technical mettle with the Principality Stadium, SoFi Stadium and Nokia Arena, to name a few.
 

Sampson mantra:

  • Venues should have a well crafted content strategy;
  • Venues should produce their own content; and
  • Realtime graphics and realtime data helps in fan engagement and provides them an enthralling experience.

 
Ross Video indeed designs, manufactures and delivers dependable technology and services that power exceptional live video productions.

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