London Calling: Tonnage & Technology
Every venue required a different communications design.
Sports Technology Ltd (ST)
is a company formed to deliver services at large sporting events. Headed by
Damian Rowe as
MD — who has worked at seven Games dating back to Sydney — the company won the
contract to provide audio and wired communication services at all the venues in London and across Great Britain.
ST’s audio subcontractors for London included Dimension Audio,
The P.A. People, Brit Row, MCL and Delta
Sound. These subcontractors normally compete for projects, but when the RFP includes
380 sound systems spread across the country it’s too big a job for any one company.
All of the entities that provided Clear-Com
products were already linked by one thing: They are all part of the Clear-Com
Global Rental Group, managed by Laurence Estrin.
Bonner, MD of Delta Sound, the company that handled the installation of the talkback part of ST’s
remit at all 42 venues, said that his biggest concern a year before the Games
was simply the quantity of kit that would be needed. He said populating 42
venues with matrices, beltpacks, panels and other equipment was at least 10
times a normal job.
By way of example, he said Delta
Sound had used three of Clear-Com’s Eclipse Matrix systems while working the
Queen’s Jubilee celebration earlier this year. That’s the number of spares —
never used — on hand at the London Games. So 45 Eclipses were spread across
Great Britain in July and August.
P.A. People — a veteran of world-class sporting events dating back to Sydney — provided much
of the hardware for the venue comms, matrix systems and two-way
radio packages for many of the 42 venues.
“We were fundamentally a hardware systems supplier in London,” said Chris
Dodds, MD of The P.A. People. He said that equipment selection, which included
Clear-Com Eclipse Matrix with V-Series Panels and HelixNets, was based on what had
proven itself in big event communications over the last 12 years, with all
products selected on merit and reliability.
ORDER OF MAGNITUDE
“When the bidding was taking place
and we were talking about the project, its magnitude wasn’t a reality until we
actually started to do it,” said Bonner. Delta, a HelixNet beta site and
Eclipse customer with roughly US$1 million in equipment at the start of the
process, added an additional US$500,000 in communications equipment for this
Stadium comms control room.
ST received a
basic design to work from less than one year before the Games. From here, they
sat down with the governing body of each sport that was at that venue to refine
“Each sport is slightly different,” said
Bonner. “We have a basic design with common principles from venue-to-venue — Clear-Com
matrices for example — and from there we determine the number and location of
the panels, the number of headsets and so on.”
nature of big event productions is a bidding, planning and prep phase that
lasts a few years, followed by an intense few weeks of “delivery,” followed by
a rather rapid tear down. What remains is an expanded equipment infrastructure
for many contractors and, more importantly, the experience.
Add in a vendor with well-received gear and the knowledge of what these
events require, and the ability of an organization like ST to bring it all
together, and what remains is a beautiful coalition ready to take on the next
“The organizers could see the
synergy between a great equipment vendor, the local expertise of Sports
Technology and the Games time capability and experience of The P.A. People and
other partners,” said Dodds “It was a natural fit to join forces to deliver the
venues communications systems.”