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The digital advantage
Jeff Knapp, EVP, Sales CMO, Trans-Lux, delves into the origins of scoreboards, explains how LED lighting can be cost efficient and environmentally friendly, and tells us why Cowboys is his favourite stadium
What services does your company offer to the industry?
Trans-Lux offers comprehensive digital display LED, LCD and software solutions across all industries worldwide. In addition, our TL Energy division delivers environmentally friendly, cost- efficient LED lighting solutions. Trans-Lux Fair-Play is a full-service scoring and video display provider, offering solutions both on the field of play and throughout the stadium/arena. Our software enables flexible remote and local control of event content, messaging and advertising content on displays throughout the arena.
Could you tell us an interesting fact about your company?
Fair-Play is the ‘original’ scoreboard inventor and manufacturer – they were invented by our founder in a small Iowa community more than 80 years ago. When local schools saw what he had created, demand began to grow. When our founder approached his banker to request a loan to finance these opportunities, the bank would only loan him enough money to build 100 units; they didn’t believe that there would be a market for this type of product. Looking at the size and depth of today’s display and scoring market, I think it's fair to say that the bank was incorrect in their assumptions.
What trends do you see emerging in your particular sector of the stadium industry?
We anticipate tighter and tighter LED resolutions at even more economical pricing, along with totally wireless communication protocols for both scoring and video applications. We also envision continued integration with other stadium systems and ongoing advances in content and message management.
Can you tell us about a recent success story for your company?
We recently completed a large, seamless video retrofit at a major arena that incorporated new state-of-the-art equipment with older display and scoring technology. The deployment has exceeded the expectations of our client and greatly enhanced the fan experience by providing multi-dimensional scoring, video and sponsorship applications.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in your particular sector of the industry – and how are you overcoming them?
Our challenge is to continue to maintain exceptional product quality while introducing new applications that leverage advanced technologies and enhance the game and event experience that our stadium and arena customers deliver to their fan base. We are developing new functionality that will add to the fan experience and at the same time we are creating applications that will enable stadium and arena operators to more cost-effectively serve their sponsors and advertisers while delivering an improved game and event experience to their fans.
What new technologies or strategies have you used in any recent projects?
In addition to the integration with our comprehensive software, our LED lighting products enable us to provide an additional arena and stadium solution. When combined with our scoring and video products, our LED lighting gives our clients major utility and electricity cost-savings, an environmentally friendly solution, and a total game and entertainment solution.
What’s your favourite stadium/sports venue and why?
The new Cowboys Stadium is a tremendous facility that was well thought out. Being in the video business, we don’t think they missed a beat with the spectacular technology they have in place. Plus one of our partners has operated the scoreboards for the Cowboys for over 30 years!
Where do you see the stadium market in 10 years’ time?
The stadium market will continue to grow and stadium solutions will reflect the ongoing evolution of technology. This will include continued integration of operations, energy, retail, and fan engagement, increasingly targeted programming, advertising, and content management capabilities, and exciting new live, internet, and telecast experiences. We plan on developing and providing products that enhance both the game and fan experience. In much less than 10 years’ time, we believe Trans-Lux Fair-Play will be the first choice of all stadia and arenas.
Trans-Lux will be exhibiting at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, 8-10 May 2012. Visit the company at Booth 1048