First Direct Arena

With an award winning design and space for 13,000 spectators, the First Direct Arena is an impressive addition to the Leeds skyline as well as to the UK music and events circuit. Opened in September 2013, the arena has already hosted a wide variety of world-class music artists including Sir Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Andrea Bocelli and Eric Clapton and high profile events including Le Tour de France Opening Ceremony and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.



With around £65million invested in the unique construction, the first fan shaped auditorium built in the UK, it was essential that the technologies used within the venue would add value for both sponsors and the venue owners.

As a result of this need SMG Europe, who manage the First Direct Arena, decided that a digital signage solution would be an ideal first technological step, enabling the promotion of upcoming events and sponsor advertising whilst also creating more eye catching digital menus within concourse food and drink outlets.

First Direct Arena needed to find a technology that would be simple to deploy, fit within its budgets and offer technological future proofing; Tripleplay’s server based digital signage software solution, TripleSign, and Tripleplay’s IPTV platform, TripleTV, were chosen.

“We did not want to provide our customers with a substandard product, so ensuring we chose the correct technology products became a major concern for us,” commented Ailsa Oliver, Assistant General Manager for the First Direct Arena.

Future proof and flexible

The solution needed to offer flexibility in terms of services offered and had to be future proof, ensuring First Direct Arena had the option to develop the solution as and when new features were required.

Ailsa added; “It is estimated that the arena will bring in millions every year into the surrounding area proving hugely valuable to the city as a whole. For the arena itself we wanted a solution that would enable us to offer a variety of digital and TV services which could be developed over time.

“We knew the Tripleplay system would provide us what we initially needed, at a suitable cost, while allowing us to develop the offering as and when the venue is ready for further investment.”

Initially, the Tripleplay digital signage and IPTV platform is being used to deliver targeted advertising content to the arena concourse, digital menu boards in food and drink kiosks, advertising and TV services to bars and restaurants whilst also providing a selection of television channels to artist dressing rooms, corporate boxes and meeting rooms.

Working with strong partners

The solution has been implemented at the First Direct Arena by Tripleplay Authorised Reseller Clear Visual Communications, a partnership that has been key to the success of the project so far.

“Working with a partner like Clear VC and knowing that they have a great relationship with Tripleplay is a comforting factor. They understand the product and they understand our business challenges; which has made the implementation easier.

“As with all things, there were some initial teething problems, but working with Tripleplay and Clear VC we soon had them ironed out and we were on target for an earlier than expected opening night following a request by Bruce Springsteen to be the first to perform at the arena during his UK tour in September 2013, ” added Ailsa.

Simplicity and Versatility

First Direct Arena has handed control of content creation and upload to its marketing department, confident that the solution’s in-built digital signage content creation software was user friendly enough for users in-house to operate.

Ailsa commented; “It really is not a difficult solution to get a basic grips on, which is what the majority of users need. We have managed to allocate control and management to several members of staff which ensures that we always have fresh content when and where we need it.

“The fact that the same system provides TV services for the corporate hospitality areas, back-stage and bars is fantastic. Why would we want to buy two solutions when one will do? We are very pleased with our decision to choose the Tripleplay solution and look forward to developing the solution in future with both Tripleplay and Clear VC.”

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