Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
HD screens go live in Chicago’s revamped ESPN Zone
Chicago sports fans kicked off the fall season in HD at the city’s newly renovated ESPN Zone. The downtown Chicago location recently completed a conversion of all of its video displays to HD, outfitting its main viewing rooms with 52 Panasonic HD professional plasma displays — including forty-four 42in and eight 50in plasmas.
Built in 1999, the bi-level, 35,000sq ft sports entertainment complex was voted the No. 1 sports bar in Chicago for 2006 by AOL City Guide. Featuring several sports-themed dining and viewing rooms enhanced with HD sports broadcasts, the facility also boasts a 10,000sq ft sports arena filled with interactive sports games and attractions.
ESPN Zone Chicago incorporated the Panasonic 42in and 50in HD displays in a variety of innovative viewing installations throughout the facility. For instance, in the studio grill, the facility’s largest dining room, three 50in HD units form a triangular ring. The Screening Room provides a “hardcore sports viewing room” with 12 Panasonic 42in plasmas surrounding a 16ft projection screen as the centerpiece, along with plasma displays around the room showing dozens of game feeds.
Installation involved routing 20,000ft of CAT6e video cable, eight new satellites and switching equipment to receive and control the HD feeds. All games broadcast on the plasma displays are controlled from a central production booth integrated into the main floor design. Production staff and daily/weekly game broadcast schedules ensure customers get continuous action of dozens of major sports broadcasts.
For more information, visit www.panasonic.com/proplasma.