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Allegiant Stadium, One Year Later: Las Vegas Raiders Find Comfort Zone in First Games With Fans

22/10/2021

Allegiant Stadium, One Year Later: Las Vegas Raiders Find Comfort Zone in First Games With Fans Every week promises stellar acts, high-quality production elements By Kristian Hern ndez, Associate Editor

Friday, October 22, 2021 - 7:00 am

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On Sept. 21, the Las Vegas Raiders celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of Allegiant Stadium. Since that 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints in front of empty seats, one of the National Football League's two newest venues has roared to life with the return of fans and is beginning to create its own game-day experience in Sin City.

We spent a lot of time making improvements and getting operational feedback to create efficiencies, but, at this point, the resources and employees that Allegiant Stadium has allowed us to bring into this building are some of the best in the country, says Justin Lange, manager, audio, video, broadcast, and Cisco Vision operations, Allegiant Stadium. It has been a fantastic experience so far, and we're only at the tip of the iceberg.

Time for Teaching: Football-Hungry Audience Continues To Learn the Game In summer 2020, the production team was busy developing its creative identity before the start of its inaugural season in Las Vegas. By the time preseason and regular-season games came around, it had been announced that all home games that season were going to be played behind closed doors. This decision left a lot of the game-day-production strategy in question: content was put together for only the eyes of the players and coaches on the field - with social media becoming the main connection between franchise and fans and the control-room staff reduced to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Allegiant Stadium celebrated its one-year anniversary last month.

The delayed opening postponed Las Vegas-based fans' first-hand experience of professional football. They were able to get a taste by watching games on television, but, when they were finally permitted through the turnstiles, there were still finer aspects of the game to experience.

We're still learning our fans, and our fans are still learning football, but it's definitely great when you have their energy to support all that we're doing, says Justin Casserly, director, game and event presentation, Las Vegas Raiders. It was all speculation on what Raider Nation meant until you got a sense of it during our preseason game. Our players have said that they haven't played in a louder building. We're still working on training [fans] when to be loud and how to be loud.

Inside the control room at Allegiant Stadium during Raiders-Bears on Oct. 10

Some of that training is, for example, cheering loudly on defense to disrupt the other team's signal calling and being more subdued on offense to give quarterback Derek Carr the ability to communicate effectively. Up in the control room, the crew helping the fans with this learning curve has grown to a staff of 40. After a tough year directing a lot of the production alone, Casserly has reinforcements.

I was able to get through a full season last year without any team members, he notes. Now I have one full-time manager who I was able to bring over from Miami. There's a lot more traffic that we have to drive through, like partnership elements that require people to be in their position for the live shot to be staged well. I've had to bring in an associate producer to facilitate all the different information that comes through the control room as well as simultaneously teach [our crew] about what the NFL is since many of them have limited experience.

Super Bowl-Level Production: In-Venue Show Promises To Wow Fans Every Week It's hard to not have a good time in Las Vegas, and, in keeping with the city's natural vibe, Casserly and his crew present high-quality and high-energy content every home game. Some professional teams use the term show loosely, but the show at Allegiant Stadium is truly one in every sense of the word, including the use of a two-minute countdown to showtime.

Integrated by Alpha Video, an Evertz EXE 2110 router and IP and HDR workflows give the venue flexibility.

Since the start of the 2021 season, the run of show has featured a star-studded list of performers, as well as small nods to the aura of the Raiders. These nods include introducing each position group to the tune of The Autumn Wind as the players take the field for pregame warmups and the Star Wars Imperial March as they exit to the locker room. Before the game vs. the Chicago Bears on Oct. 10, the Raiders called on magician Criss Angel for a stunt in which he untangled himself from a straitjacket in under 30 seconds while suspended upside down 100 ft. over the field. Not only did he defy the odds, but his presence spotlighted the Raiders' efforts toward fulfilling the league's Crucial Catch initiative: Angel's 7-year-old son is in a fight against leukemia.

As game time nears, the Raiderettes, a coordinated light show, and a flashy intro video featuring many of the city's iconic buildings welcome the team to the gridiron. An activation that debuted last season is the ceremonial lighting of the Al Davis Memorial Torch at the north end of the venue. The gesture pays homage to the team's first owner and has been a tradition since his passing in 2011. The lighting on Oct. 10 was two days after the 10-year anniversary of Davis's death. Honorees who have ignited the torch include former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Las Vegas Labor Union Leader Tommy White, and the late owner's widow, Carol Davis.

While suspended upside down 100 ft. in the air, Criss Angel escaped from a straitjacket before the Raiders' Crucial Catch game.

Last year, we [used the torch to] recognize those who were big members of the
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/10/22/allegiant-stadium-one-year-late...
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