Just over a month from now, soccer fans in the Heartland of America will get to inhale that plasticky / grassy new stadium smell inside the walls of MLS’ newly crowned flagship sports destination, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. If you are a regular reader of the Online Sports Marketing Guy blog, you know that I am a big fan of how Sporting Kansas City does business, and think they are a great benchmark for any online sports marketer to learn from.
Earlier today, Sporting’s VP of Stadium Construction, Rory O’Connor, conducted a live chat at sportingkc.com to discuss the progress on LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Rory was kind enough to answer my question regarding the digital elements of the stadium, so I figured I’d pay it forward by sharing a digital sneak peak of this premiere US stadium.
I believe my question earned the distinction of receiving the longest answer during the chat, so we have some really great insight into what we have to look forward to in Kansas City. Rory explained that the primary videoboard in the stadium will be located on the south end of the stadium. At 24 feet high by 84 feet long, the new, 100% high definition, videoboard will be the largest of its kind in all of US soccer. Even the complementary scoreboard on the north side of the stadium will be 12 feet high by 24 feet long, almost four times larger than the sole videoboard at their previous home, Community America Ballpark (home to the minor league, Kansas City T-Bones).
But wait – there’s more! Afterall, according to Rory, there will be 500 miles of wires running through the stadium.
Some of the new digital signage will also include boards running from goal to goal on the west side of the stadium. Standing 2.5 feet tall, these boards will provide excellent real estate for corporate sponsors, who can purchase ads on a rotational basis. Sporting Kansas City matches will be broadcast to a national television audience four times this season, including their home opener against the Chicago Fire, June 9th on ESPN2 HD.
All four of Sporting Kansas City’s nationally televised games will be broadcast on networks with high definition capabilities. Even their remaining games, shown on the home affiliate KSMO, are shot and broadcast almost entirely in HD. For these reasons, Rory’s team put an emphasis on creating a HD camera-friendly illumination of the entire field. As he explains, most soccer stadiums have an issue with filming certain angles because there is not enough light to properly illuminate the ball. Particularly from behind the net, which is a prime television shot, this can make the ball appear dark. Sporting Kansas City has distributed the lights throughout the stadium to capture any camera angle a producer can imagine. This consideration should really help Sporting Kansas City raise the bar in Major League Soccer for video material, both online and for those watching at home on television.
Of course the new stadium will also come complete with some of the luxuries we are becoming accustomed to, such as wi-fi capable areas of the stadium and HD televisions in the VIP areas, but it is the quality of the digital inventory and attention to detail happening at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park that are pushing the envelope for soccer stadiums in the US.
Read the complete online chat with Rory O’Connor.
What makes you most excited about June 9th?