displayLED earns its stripes as Britannia Stadium installs new scoreboard system
When English football teams make it to the famously lucrative Premier League, the country’s top division, there is an inevitable level of expectation that the club’s facilities will be upgraded to match the hoped-for success on the pitch.
This was certainly the case for the Stoke City team, which was promoted at the end of last season and had fixtures against some of the world’s most famous teams to look forward to.
One of the most visible improvements a club can make is to its scoreboard. Stoke’s stadium, the Britannia Stadium, in Stoke-on-Trent, England, has recently replaced its old system with a state-of-the-art digiLED d11N screen.
Measuring eight modules wide by five high (8.448m x 5.28m), the 44.6m2 screen not only offers outstanding visual quality but, unlike a conventional scoreboard, can be used to provide a wide range of other information to match-goers and generate further revenue for the club by being used for advertising.
“Using displayLED’s modular and highly flexible digiSPORT software, we helped the club to devise a content package that includes score and player information, live half-time messages, web site content, goal replays when the match is being televised, footage of Stoke City’s greatest moments to get the crowd going, advertising and a range of other things,” says displayLED’s Matt Hassock.
“One of the real beauties of the system is that it is all run from a standard, reasonably powerful PC running Windows Vista with a fast graphics card. There is no need for dedicated media servers, the content is fed from the graphics card DVi port to a signal splitter, then to the digiLED transmitter unit, where it is fed to the screen by fibre optic.”
Indeed, such is the power of the system that the existing setup could feed content to a maximum of 16,000 screens throughout the stadium, which would be more than enough should the football club decide to link it in to the stadium’s corporate hospitality areas in the future.
The splitter feeds signals to two 19” monitors at the screen operator’s position - one with the digiSPORT controls, the other with the current screen content - a system which makes it extremely easy to operate.
“Once the system was installed, I spent around four days training staff on how to use it and by then they were more than capable of handling it on their own,” says Matt.
“It’s a very straightforward package to use and, if the client wants to add further modules and functionality to it, it only takes a couple of days extra training to bring staff up to speed. It also means that it can easily be used for a wide variety of events outside the football season, making it extremely cost-effective.”
Indeed, Stoke City Head of Development, Richard Smith chose the system because of its flexibility, as well as the excellent performance of the d11N screen.
The system was installed in time for two of Stoke City’s biggest home fixtures of the season - against Manchester United and Liverpool - and so it was essential that it performed faultlessly from the word go. Not only has it done so, but it also perhaps helped inspire the team on the pitch to do the same - gaining a highly creditable draw with Liverpool and coming within just seven minutes of also keeping a clean sheet against United, the current Premier League, Champions League and World Club Champions.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the system,” says Smith. “It looks great and really adds to the match day experience.
“We found displayLED a very easy company to work with. During the install itself Tonie Wishart and the displayLED team worked very hard to deliver and commission the system in the required time frame and they provided excellent support.
“Matt Hassock provided excellent training, which was borne out by how good the screen was on Boxing Day against Manchester United, the first time it was used. The match was also live on television, so we didn’t want anything to go wrong! Everything went absolutely fine and that’s a reflection on the quality of both the system and the training.
“Our guys have also been taught how to sort out any potential problems, but it’s very straightforward to use, so we don’t envisage any major issues.”