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University of Pittsburgh Decks Out Petersen Events Center With New Centerhung Ahead of Busy Fall Sports Schedule


University of Pittsburgh Decks Out Petersen Events Center With New Centerhung Ahead of Busy Fall Sports Schedule LED displays were placed in two other venues By Kristian Hernandez, Associate Editor

Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 8:30 am

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In the city of Pittsburgh, the fall and winter months bring temperatures below the freezing point and a sun that sets earlier than usual. With professional networks in the area enhancing their facilities, programs at the collegiate rank have made some major upgrades to bring some additional (albeit artificial) light into the lives of college basketball fans. Before the rush of an unrelenting fall season, the University of Pittsburgh went to work inside of The Petersen Events Center to install a brand-new Daktronics centerhung with 3.9mm LED line spacing.

The 3.9mm of LED line spacing is the lowest in college athletics.

Competitively, this centerhung really sets us apart in college athletics because we are now the only college in the country that has a sub-4mm board,' says Seth Graham, assistant athletic director, information technology, University of Pittsburgh. The centerhung has taken us from a college-type venue to one with more of a pro-style look.

Let There Be Light: Four Separate LED Structures Brighten Petersen Events Center

More affectionally known as The Pete , Petersen Events Center's crown jewel hovers just above the hardwood floor. At the center of it all, the centerhung features four noncontinuous LED slabs with the two 15 ft. by 28 ft. panels along the sidelines and two 15 ft. by 16.5 ft. panels along the baselines. At 654 sq. ft., the scoreboard can be experienced at a maximum viewing angle of 140-degrees.

Unfortunately, this wasn't always the case. Years prior to the installation, the in-venue production was hampered by a scoreboard that functioned with bulky and lackluster technology.

The old video boards were purchased about 10 years ago, so as we rebranded athletics, we identified these displays as antiquated, says Graham. They didn't offer us much value with enough real estate because the structure was a lot larger than the usable screen, so they didn't offer fans the best viewing experience. People mainly looked at the old video board for stats.

In addition to the main video board, a light-up Panther head is sandwiched in between two massive 16.5 ft. by 31 ft. video displays are plastered against the arena's back wall above the concourse area. These large screens can project detailed statistics of key players and provide pertinent game information. Lastly, a new 2.1 ft. by 50 ft. scorer's table comes with six 2 ft. by 8 ft. panels of lighting that allows sponsorship and other messaging to run along courtside.

Now, pristine video quality and motion is at a premium inside of The Pete. With a total pixel count of more than 4.6 million, the entire arena is lit as bright as a light bulb. As for content consumed on any given night, the entire layout allows Graham to up the gameday atmosphere.

The Petersen Events Center also includes two additional LED displays and a light-up Panther head above the concourse.

What we have now is a more video-oriented structure. Our rallies look better because before we could only show them on the fascia, scorer's table, and the top boards, he says. The sequence of playing the intro video and introducing the players have become 10x better. It's become an integral part of the game presentation.

Three-for-One: Pitt Juggles Simultaneous Projects at Other Athletic Venues

Although the overhauls at Petersen Events Center lead the headline, two other venues (Fitzgerald Field House and Ambrose Urbanic Field) were given a revamp in the visual department as well.

Hosting the school's volleyball, wrestling, and gymnastics teams, the former now includes two 10 ft. by 23 ft. end-wall videoboards after 15 years of operating with the older videoboards from The Pete. As the dwelling place of both men's and women's soccer teams, the latter was outfitted with the venue's first-ever visual display of any kind in the form of a singular 17 ft. by 30 ft. videoboard of its own.

In any other season, the extensive project of constructing multiple displays would have more time to marinate, but because of the timing of it all, Graham and the rest of the staff needed to operate quickly.

The RFP [request for proposal] went out and the selection was made in June of 2019 to go with Daktronics and a lot of the fall sports start in August, he says. We went by the start of each season, so we prioritized soccer and volleyball first since they both happen at the same time. Those video boards were installed during the last week of July.

Although the displays weren't anywhere near the field of play inside Ambrose Urbanic Field and Fitzgerald Fieldhouse, the university developed a give-and-take solution to make progress in the Petersen Events Center.

We needed to be conscious of access to be able to work, so we had to get a [temporary] floor down to support the weight of the lifts. We had to work with both of our basketball teams and also our volleyball team because their practices are sometimes down at The Pete along with their summer camps. We have concerts and other events at this building, too, so we had to get to a point where the centerhung is complete enough to be raised and lowered.

The Next Phase of Video Content: University's Mission to Enhanced Productions

It's been a period of immense growth over the past year. In the classroom, the university established a partnership with nearby NEP Group to foster the next wave of AV professionals. For the sake of the program and the then-upcoming launch of the ACC Network, the program redid their production studio to become a central hub of operations inside of t
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