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Columbus Crew's Lower.com Field Caps Off Trio of New MLS Venues

22/07/2021

Columbus Crew's Lower.com Field Caps Off Trio of New MLS Venues BeckTV was tapped as the project's systems integrator By Kristian Hernandez, Associate Editor

Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 1:19 pm

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One of the more decorated clubs in Major League Soccer, the Columbus Crew closed out their last full season at Historic Crew Stadium in 2020 with an MLS Cup celebration. Fast forward to this past weekend, and the organization welcomed supporters to the new Lower.com Field for their second home match since its opening on July 3. As the third of three soccer-specific that were slated to open this year, the building is suited for one of the founding members of the league.

This stadium is a huge accomplishment for the fans, the city, and our staff, says Kyle Millen, director, scoreboard operations, Haslam Sports Group. Our game day staff was in awe the first time they came because they now have a state-of-the-art control room with all the resources they need to put on the show that we want.

A Massive Improvement: Crew, BeckTV Develop Unique Plan for New Space Millen and Shear are at the helm of productions in the new control room.

When the club broke ground on their new $314 million home in Oct. 2019, the franchise were on the hunt for a reliable group of partners. Assigned to the hefty responsibility of putting together the brick-and-mortar structure and the technological backbone of the control room, the club tapped the services of WJHW and BeckTV. On the tech side, Beck TV had lengthy discussions with Millen and his colleagues to develop a strategy that would accomplish the production goals of the crew.

We were involved from Day 1, so we were able to say what we wanted the show to have and how we wanted the atmosphere to be, he says. Then, we reverse engineered [our plan] to make sure we included everything into the project.

On any of these large-scale projects, there could be a possibility of not being on the same page as the systems integrator, but in this case, BeckTV had a lot of familiarity with the production personnel at the Crew when they were brought onto the project last spring. As an added plus, the company has history with the club's ownership, Haslam Sports Group, after revamping the efforts of the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in 2014.

I've known Kyle throughout my entire career, and Haslam Sports Group likes to push the envelope on their show, says Brock Raum, project engineer, BeckTV. This is one of the best rooms in the MLS and it's ran by one of the best crews in the MLS. When you put those two things together, that's what makes jobs like this a lot of fun.

A rack room is situated right next to the control room.

With a sound relationship with the systems integrator, Millen and the club moved forward on bringing other key players into the fold. To differentiate themselves from the other 26 organizations and take their content to the next level, the team established a full-time producer position that would be dedicated to rethinking their videoboard material. At the end of their search, Scoreboard Operations Producer Erik Shear was the chosen individual.

We wanted someone who could really own and manage the show going on in this building, adds Millen. We were able to bring Erik on board, and he's been able to not only produce the show, but also build up our content.

In-Venue Firepower: Ross Video Solutions, Daktronics Videoboards Highlight Production Tech https://www.sportsvideo.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Field.mp4

Lower.com Field has a handful of notable production features that will capture the attention of both casual and avid supporters. Located above the main concourse, the brand-new space is a drastic upgrade from the team's former digs. In terms of the physical layout of the room, the team is currently working in a more streamlined environment without many obstacles.

Our server used to be in the middle of the old control room, so we'd try to have a production meeting, but we'd have to talk over the loud noise, says Shear. This new control room gives us ample space to operate, so we all have an individual station. Going from a cramped space at the old stadium to here is very refreshing, but it also allows people to get their job done efficiently.

In addition, the team is now working with some of the latest in production technology. Similar to Austin FC's Q2 Stadium, Ross Video has a significant presence in Columbus, including a Carbonite Ultra Black 2 ME production switcher with a TouchDrive TD2S Panel, OpenGear OGX for signal processing, an Ultrix FR5 router, Dashboard control system, Mira+ for replay and an XPression Studio graphics package.

It's a full 1080p system that's really driven by a lot of Ross Video technology, adds Raum. When we ordered and installed the new TouchDrive panel system, it was one of the first ones rolling off the line, so it was pretty exciting for us to integrate some new equipment that hadn't been out there yet.

https://www.sportsvideo.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Control-Room.mp4

The control room is configured with other household names around the industry, including two Blackmagic Design Hyderdeck Studio Minis, a Yamaha audio mixer, and multiple converters from AJA. Outside of the control room, the action is captured via four wired Sony HXC-FB80SN cameras with Canon CJ45ex13.6B lenses and a wireless handheld Sony HXC-FB80SN with a Canon CJ45ex13.6B lens.

Down below, Daktronics LED displays are lighting up the pitch during nighttime matches with 8,700 total sq. ft. of LED real estate. The two main videoboards will both have a 13 HD pixel layout. Adjacent to the league's second largest supporters' section, the Crew's Nordecke, a smaller 25-ft. high by 44.5-ft. wid
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/07/22/columbus-crews-lower-com-field-...
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