Capital One Arena Shoots for Sharper Productions, More Opportunity

WASHINGTON—Major league sports franchises, whether moving into new arenas or not, understand the effect of offering enhanced video content for fans who can enjoy watching a game on their big screens at home—and thus demand even bigger, crisper images when they dole out their cash for expensive game tickets.

To that point, upgraded center hungs have also debuted at existing arenas in Chicago, Philadelphia and at Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s (MSE) Capital One Arena, home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

The Washington, D.C., venue’s new center-hung display, the third in its 22-year history and part of the arena’s $30 million arena upgrade, was built by Sunrise, Fla.-based Colosseo USA. It’s billed as “one of the largest 360-degree continuous video screens of any arena in the United States” and encompasses more than 7,000 total square feet of Smart LED display. With the featured eight-sided, multi-level display key to its total of 20 distinct display areas, it also delivers real-time stats, scores and updates.

And like the new center-hung at Chase Center (and others), the board at Cap One has LED screens within the underbelly of the 360-degree lower ring for the viewers seated on the floor and in the first several rows of seating.

MSE notes that the setup includes “the first-ever 4mm pixel pitch” within a display that takes up less space to store in the ceiling when not in use, as it retracts into itself; so while it’s larger than the previous board, “it requires less space” to store, said David Touhey, president of venues and vice president of technical broadcast operations for MSE.

Also part of the video experience are updated upper and lower fascia ribbon boards with 1,600 square feet of LED, plus two new end zone ribbons, adding more than 1,040 additional square feet of LED display; four two-sided, curved DualTV boards in the corners of the arena, with more than more than 2,200 square feet of HD LED video display arena-side and 1,100 square feet of the same for fans in the upper level; and “for the first time in an indoor arena” a SkyRing that features more than 9,000 square feet of LED video, wrapping the roofline of the arena bowl. At 390 feet in diameter, MSE calls it “the largest display in any U.S. arena to date.”

All told, Cap One offers 25,000 square feet of LED under roof.

For capture, MSE included five new cameras with the install: three SMPTE Sony HCD-2500s and two Fujinon XDCAMs. The controller used to load and playback content is supplied by Colosseo, which uses Colosseo proprietary software.

The upgrade is all part of keeping up not only with new venues and new installs, but the demands of the fans. “It gives us much more square footage to work with so we can deliver more content, stats,” etc., said Touhey, “as well as more inventory to sell to sponsors.”

Mark R. Smith

Mark R. Smith has covered the media industry for a variety of industry publications, with his articles for TV Technology often focusing on sports. He’s written numerous stories about all of the major U.S. sports leagues.  

Based in the Baltimore-Washington area, the byline of Smith, who has also served as the long-time editor-in-chief for The Business Monthly, Columbia, Md., initially appeared in TV Technology and in another Futurenet publication, Mix, in the late ’90s. His work has also appeared in numerous other publications.