By Vince Mammoliti, Director, Strategic Investments and Partnerships, Cisco Canada
We all know that hockey reigns supreme in Canada and this couldn’t be more true than in our nation’s capital. In Ottawa, the Senators are the pinnacle of entertainment and the Canadian Tire Centre (CTC) plays host to over 19,000 of their fans for every home game. The Senators have been working with Cisco to transform the CTC and provide their fans with the ultimate, next-generation fan experience. I sat down with the Ottawa Senators Vice President of Strategic Development, Geoff Publow to discuss the process and what Sens fans can expect the next time they come to a game.
Vince Mammoliti: Set the stage, so-to-speak, for us. What technology was in place within the Canadian Tire Centre before this announcement?
Geoff Publow: Our commitment to our fans to upgrade the HD viewing experience started with our centre- hung Bell HD screen. After that, we moved from updating the arena bowl to the general concourse to deliver HD content to our fans in suites, concessions stands and entrance gates.
VM: What inspired the Senators organization to invest in Cisco StadiumVision technology?
GP: When we started looking at video systems, we looked at StadiumVison deployments in other world-class stadiums across the NFL, MLB and Europe and focused on how we could utilize this technology in our building.
VM: Ok so take us through the new technology – what will fans experience differently within the CTC?
GP: From the time you enter the CTC through Gate 1, you’re going to be greeted by several high-impact, large format video walls that will display welcome messages, highlight clips of recent games and advertising content which will represent a whole new experience for the patron. As fans continue through the venue, they’ll find the fan experience follows them throughout the concourses, concessions, restaurants and suites. Every restaurant and suite in the building will have HD viewing capabilities and the ability to customize messages for our partners and sponsors.
VM: You are placing a tremendous priority on the digital experience with more than 700 HD video screens to be located throughout the CTC. Can you speak to the importance of replicating the in-seat experience inside and out of the arena?
GP: Our fans expect a world-class experience when they come to the arena. We’re not only competing with other forms of entertainment around town, but the great audio-visual systems that they have at home. It was really important for us to offer our fans an HD experience wherever they are at Canadian Tire Centre, and make sure that they can be connected to the game or event regardless of where they are throughout the venue.
VM: At Cisco we believe in enhancing the fan experience and connecting the previously unconnected through technology. Can you explain to the Senators fans out there how they will benefit from this new technology?
GP: This technology deployment is all about enhancing the fan experience. Fans are going to notice a vast improvement in video quality on our new Samsung screens and the integration of information that goes beyond just watching game. We’ve recognized the role of social media in professional sports and have included Twitter feeds as well as statistic screens that are updated in real time with unique stats that weren’t previously available during live events. The creativity of our content team is really starting to come into play and we are excited about all the flexibility that StadiumVision has in terms of delivering engaging content to our fans.
VM: Do you have any advice for other organizations and sports teams considering a StadiumVision implementation?
GP: The biggest piece of advice is to ensure you have the right partners. We’ve been working closely with Cisco, Bell, Samsung and Canadian Tire and this whole process has been one of working with those partners to draw on our collective expertise to deliver our fans with a great experience thanks to a great new system. Working with great partners has enabled us to achieve this in-venue enhancement.
I’d like to thank Geoff Publow and the Ottawa Senators for giving us a behind the scenes perspective of the Canadian Tire Centre and wish them luck this season.