The Ottawa Senators unveiled a massive new project on location at Canadian Tire Centre as Canadian Tire Centre Vision — a project brought to life in partnership with Cisco, Bell, Canadian Tire and Samsung — will bring over 700 new HD screens to the building in an effort to improvement the in-arena experience for fans and sponsors.
The technology has cropped up in several marquee stadiums across the world like AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), the new Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets), London's O2 Arena and Santiago Bernabeu (home of Real Madrid). Now, Canadian Tire Centre can be added to the list as the first venue in Canada and third in the NHL (the STAPLES Center and Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center) to incorporate the technology on a full scale.
Here's what Sens president Cyril Leeder had to say on the enhancement...
On the process to implement the system:
We've been working at it for two years now to get it to the point where we can launch it. You'll see the screens light up as of Saturday — in the main lobby (of Gate 1) you'll see some activity. It's a 700 screen install so it's going to take a few weeks but sometime in the New Year we'll have them all done.
On visiting other facilities with the technology:
We've toured a number, we've talked to a number of places that have it installed. We've been to Pittsburgh, we've been to New York, we've talked to the folks in Dallas, we've talked to the folks in Anaheim that have these systems. There aren't a lot of them yet, I think they'll become more common, but certainly for us I think this is the third one in the National Hockey League and the first of a major installation like this of any sports facility in Canada.
On the system as a complement to the Bell HD Screen:
It's similar, it's a complement to the screen but I think it's more than that. With the 700 monitors you can have one message on all 700 or you can have 700 different messages or combinations thereof. To a certain extent it's similar technology, but it's really going to help our fans and our partners from stuff that's happening outside of the bowl of the arena in the lobbies and other public spaces.
On the project generating revenue:
It's a dual goal. You never want to do something of this magnitude that's just going to help your revenues, but that's a good result. Ideally something that's going to improve the fan experience and help the revenue base is what we're striving for with this system. That's usually the best combination when it does both and it will certainly do that.
On it helping the live experience vs. HD at home:
We're always going to be trying to enhance the live experience here at Canadian Tire Centre. We don't see that as much as some of the other sports that are outdoors. We've got a pretty good environment here, pretty good live experience with hockey. I think it's probably less of an issue for hockey but you're never going to stop trying to enhance that fan experience at the live invent. We're going to continue to invest in that and make efforts there.
On how this benefits Sens fans:
First of all, they'll be able to catch the action any time they're out of their seat. We hear all the time "I had to go to the washroom, I had to go to the concessions, I had to go to the store — I don't want to miss anything." For sure they'll get that. We'll be able to deliver Twitter feeds, content, live stats, we'll be able to give them warnings when the intermission is about to end so they can get back to their seats in time for the start of the period, the 50/50 — we'll be able to announce where the jackpot is at. It'll be real time, live updates for fans.
On why there isn't more of this technology:
They're expensive and they take really good technology and integrators. Our building, quite frankly, is 18 years old. It didn't have the necessary technology to support the system so we've had to work closely with Cisco and Bell to makes sure we had the right infrastructure to handle the system. It's an expensive system but when you try to do something of this magnitude you need to invest a few dollars.
On the cost:
It's $5 million…it's a combination (of Sens investment and sponsorship investment), but it's a capital investment and we hope to recover it over three years through sponsorship.
You can watch today's unveil here...
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