Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club (BHAFC) is a leading English Championship club, which has recently completed a £93 million development of their 22,500 seated venue, known as the Amex Community Stadium. This state-of-the-art development is one of the most interesting new buildings on the south coast of England since its summer 2011 opening and is the winner of the Structural Steel Design Awards 2011.
The brief was to provide an end-to-end video platform and deliver all their communication and data services through a site-wide IP network.
Designing and building a new stadium is all about conceiving an entertainment space and experience to suit audience needs. And in the age of video and digital media, when developing a venue worth £93 million, boasting 22,500 seats, nine stunning lounges, five concourses, as well as outside space for team building activities, the delivery of television, video and information services becomes a key requirement.
In particular, BHAFC considered it paramount that fans within the concourse area had the optimum viewing experience and a screen to look at wherever they were standing.
The club was looking for an end-to-end video delivery platform that was flexible enough to provide all of its current and future requirements. Additionally, the solution needed to be tailored to the various target audiences who visit the stadium for matches and other events, including conferences, team building days, dinners, graduation ceremonies, corporate receptions, private parties, civil ceremonies and wedding receptions.
The Amex Stadium project had a fixed end date and the venue had to be ready for its first live football match, whilst respecting a fixed budget and tight milestones.
“Due to their previous experience in providing IP television and digital signage solutions for stadia both here in the UK and overseas, and their ability to meet our timescales and requirements, we appointed Tripleplay Services,” says Martin Perry, Chief Executive, Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.
After an open tender process, Tripleplay was appointed to provide the complete end-to-end IP television and digital signage platform for the stadium, which included the supply and provision of the television sets, the television and signage IP distribution system and the server platform.
Tripleplay’s system was delivered over the stadium’s core data network using multicast for live video and standard IP protocol for on-demand content. Television screens were installed in all parts of the ground ranging from the concourse areas, executive suites and Corporate Hospitality to staff areas, the club shop, restaurants and bars. The television channels and digital signage information had to be zoned into several areas of the complex to provide different services to users of the club’s facilities.
Tripleplay’s TripleTV software had to capture and deliver a range of television sources from live match day feeds to be displayed within a second of the signal being captured, to digital satellite and terrestrial channels and recorded content. This was then integrated into Tripleplay’s digital signage software, TripleSign, which combined these feeds with the delivery of real time transport information, way finding and advertising. The system had to provide feeds to over 200 screens throughout the stadium with performance and resilience assured. Each screen was connected to the IP network through a set-top box which enabled BHAFC to control the screens centrally using Tripleplay’s software so that they could be switched on and off at pre-set times during the day.
Tripleplay provided a centralised management system that would allow the administrators to obtain and control the status of the 200 plus screens dispersed throughout the stadium complex. This was achieved through the use of system TV features of the screens using the TripleCare serial interface which was connected to the set-top box. From the Tripleplay web management interface, the status of each screen could be interrogated and switched on and off. This not only saved time, but provided an environmental benefit by ensuring that screens were only being used when required, thereby saving power and increasing the longevity of the screens. Another requirement achieved by Tripleplay’s Product Suite was integration of emergency override into the building management system in case of an incident.
Furthermore, as different users with various roles within the club were required to alter the digital signage screens and other aspects of the system according to the event and target audience, Tripleplay had to ensure that there was a consistent and easy-to-use interface across all of its systems. This helped to minimise training needs and skills transfer, whilst ensuring that users could quickly become familiar with its platform. The web-based management system allowed authorised users throughout the stadium to access the system on any workstation.
“The flexibility of the platform has enabled us to manage our content and target information to specific audiences, at different locations, at different times within the stadium. We couldn’t have asked for more and kicked off the new season in our brand new high tech stadium with an IPTV system that has met our needs perfectly, “ says Martin Perry, Chief Executive, Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.