For nearly a century, MacArthur Court served as home to the Oregon Ducks. A school legacy, “The Pit” or “Mac Court” was voted “best gym in America” in 2001 by The Sporting News and listed in 1995 as one of the 12 toughest places in the country to play at the collegiate level by Sports Illustrated.
Over the decades, the multipurpose arena for sporting and entertainment events underwent numerous modifications and upgrades, but it was time to replace the much-loved arena with a modern facility designed to give spectators a more engaging experience.
So, in January 2011, the Ducks migrated into the state-of-the-art Matthew Knight Arena. The history-making move has provided a memorable game-day experience using new technology and multimedia components, including: live coverage, instant replays, behind-the-scenes action, fan shots, and promotional messages to capture action on the court and in the stands.
Located on the Eugene, OR, campus, the 12,364-seat arena, completed at a cost of $227 million, is already making a name for itself. One of the most expensive college arenas constructed to date, “The Matt” is in the running for LEED Gold certification (which will make it among the first LEED-certified sports facilities in the nation) and boasts one of the largest college sports facility scoreboards ever installed — standing three stories tall, 36ft wide and weighing more than 60,000lbs.
Burst, a Denver-based systems integrator, worked with consultants Anthony James Partners (AJP) and Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WJHW) to provide detailed design and integration of the HD video replay system and control room. Several other parties were involved with the project as well, including: Ellerbe Becket, TVA Architects, Hoffman Construction, JMI Sports and IMG College.
The University of Oregon needed a versatile and robust system that could multi-task to handle a wide variety of sport and entertainment needs. The new arena meets those needs with a high-definition system that brings the spectator experience to a whole new level.
The video replay system is made up of a central equipment room, a main control room and an auxiliary control room. The facility supports five dedicated, high-definition cameras via patching at numerous JBT panels throughout the arena. Based on the camera location, an operator can shoot in a studio or with a handheld configuration. A camera at center follow position, another at slash and handheld cameras under each basket capture action on the court. A floating handheld camera provides images of the fans in the stands and behind the scenes.
Connectivity to the truck dock is available for sending and receiving feeds to and from visiting trucks. The system also accommodates live broadcasts and provides replays to the in-house audience.
The video production system generates video signals for the large center-hung displays and the in-house MATV system.
On the event level, a main control room houses a full production crew. An auxiliary control room — with a second Ross Video Vision control panel in the scoreboard/PA room — on the upper concourse is available for use during smaller scale productions. The main control room has numerous audio, video and intercom paths to and from the main PA room on the upper concourse, as well as triax, audio, video and intercom tie lines to the truck dock to facilitate resource sharing between in-house arena production and visiting production trucks.
The overall project schedule was tight, making logistics important. Considerable communication and coordination with other contractors was essential to ensure that all contractors were able to complete work on time, even when services weren't always available or reliable. For example, when electricians needed to kill site power to test various systems, it placed an additional burden on the schedule for completion.
Last-minute additions to the original plan called for the installation of two additional cameras, a second switcher control panel and frame synchronizers to allow operators more flexibility to run a show from the main control room or from the upper-concourse PA room. Regardless, all work was completed on time.
Equipment selection for the arena was carefully considered in order to provide the best images at a cost-effective price. This was a turnkey project, and all equipment was brand new.
Key equipment includes: Hitachi and Sony cameras, Fujinon lenses, a Ross Video production switcher, a Grass Valley K2 Dyno replay system, a Chyron character generator, a Miranda multiviewer, a Clear-Com intercom and a Snell routing switcher. Terminal equipment is dominantly from Ross Video, with additional conversion gear by AJA Video Systems and sync generation by Harris. Audio interface equipment is from Henry Engineering.
The Matt features a production system built to enhance fans' experience, regardless of the entertainment. Whether for basketball, volleyball, concerts or other functions, spectators get “front row” seats to the court, the stage and in the stands. The enormous screens fed by the HD system provide outstanding viewing for every fan, so there's not a bad seat in the house.
Don Rooney is vice president, engineering for Burst.
Tom Norman, senior design engineer
Don Rooney, VP engineering
Dave Stengel, senior project manager
Letha Koepp, project administrator
Christian Freeman, lead installer
Anthony James Partners (AJP): Larry Lucas
Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams: Todd Semple
JMI Sports: Dave Daterman
Technology at work
ADC: Video patch
Adobe: Creative Suite 5 graphic design software
AJA Video Systems: Frame syncs and conversion
Anton Bauer: Batteries and accessories
Audio Accessories: Audio patch
Avocent: KVM extenders
Belden: Audio, video, control and data cabling
Blackmagic Design: DeckLink Studio 2
Chyron: LEX3 character generator
Clear-Com: Four-channel partyline and Tempest wireless intercom
Ensemble Designs: Conversion
Evertz: HD2014 PassPort processors
Fujinon: 50X and 23X lenses
Gepco: Cabling and triax patch
Grass Valley: K2 Dyno replay system
Harris/Videotek: Sync generator and signal analyzer
Henry Engineering: Audio conversion
Hewlett-Packard: Edit workstation
Hitachi: Z-HD5000 triax cameras
JBL: Audio monitors
JVC: Blu-ray recorder
Middle Atlantic: Racks
Ross Video: Vision 2 switcher with two control panels, distribution and conversion
Snell: A/V routing
Sony: XDCAM, PMW-320K cameras and 47in LCD monitors
Telecast: Rattler fiber TX/RX
Vinten: Tripods and heads
Wohler: Audio monitoring
Yamaha: Digital mixing console