Tampa Bay Goes Big With New HD Video Board

Lightning home installs 'biggest and baddest chandelier an arena can have'

  • by Matthew Coller
  • Published: May 9, 2012

Sideview of the new $5-million video display panel at the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times Forum.

For the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times Forum, the tip of the iceberg came in the form of a $5-million HD video display board.

After the completion of a season in which the Tampa Bay Lightning reached the Eastern Conference Finals, their home received a $42-million makeover during the 2011 off-season. This summer, the final touch to the reformation of the Times Forum will be what Steve Griggs. COO of the arena and team, calls the "chandelier."

"This is the biggest and baddest chandelier an arena can have," Griggs said.

The ceiling-suspended system includes four large video display panels in rectangular configuration, the two larger sides measuring 50-feet wide and 28-feet high or blue line to blue line. The smaller sides that face each net are 28-feet high and 20-feet wide. By comparison, the old video board measured only 16-feet high by 28-feet wide on all four sides.

The Times Forum's new display board was designed and built by Daktronics, which is responsible for display boards for the Little League World Series, The Armory in New York City and dozens of stadiums worldwide. For the Times Forum's new video board, Daktronics uses 144 quadrillion shades of color and nearly six million diodes, which are essentially three-centimeter-long indicator lamps.

"The imagery on the board is second to none," Griggs said. "Our goal is to continue to enhance the in-game experience for the hockey fan and other fans of other events in our building. It puts our in-game entertainment at a level that is tops in North America."

Outside of the upgrade in the clarity of images on the board, Griggs said the Lightning used research and fan polls to find out how to improve the experience best with their new toy.

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The new videoboard in use for a Tampa Bay Storm game.

"When it came to game ops, fans actually said they want to see more statistics and more replays," he said. "We are going to be able to provide a board that ultimately gives people exactly what they are asking for."

The increase of fans' desire for statistics is not unprecedented. Recently the Houston Astros added a statistic on a video board which estimates the number of total runs the team will score.

Lightning fans are not the only ones who will benefit from the new LED video board. The Times Forum will utilize it to increase sponsors' "bang for their buck" by providing more attractive and eye-grabbing advertisements.

"We have adjusted how we treat our sponsors," Griggs said. "We believe in 'less is more.' We want to have a larger impact with less sponsors. I guess this board is 'more is more' but it allows them to have a larger impact in brand recall, as well as in doing promotions, and people will be more attracted to them."

Events outside of hockey will benefit from the new video board. There are around 130 events each year, many of which will utilize the board.

"Concerts may not as much, but we will have graduations, the circus will probably use it, Disney On Ice, things like that," Griggs said. "It's another element that events can use to create their specific fan experience that people have not seen before."

Griggs said the new technology will make the video board easier to operate and will likely require fewer employees.

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The scoreboard at center ice.

“Before, we were running two systems,” he said. “We were running the high tech model and the electronics model. Now because we have everything on the Daktronics board, everything will run through their control. So it will either need the same number of people or less.”

The new chandelier will be installed in time for the Lightning's 2012-13 National Hockey League season.

Interviewed for this story: Scott Griggs, (813) 301-6500

  • by Matthew Coller
  • Published: May 9, 2012
event photos