Audio Makes The Stadium Experience
In the past, audio systems in sports stadiums and arenas were primarily used for voice-over announcements. Big screens and Jumbotrons are also common fixtures in stadiums and arenas. But with the evolution of sports, the increasing sophistication of audiences and fans, combined with the advancements in technology, today’s ultimate theater experience is all about having clear, audible sound throughout the facility. Sports entertainment has become more experiential. Owners of stadiums from local high schools to the big leagues aspire to keep fans entertained while also making sure that they do all they can to connect and engage with their fans. Quite often, the secret to maintaining high energy during down times is through the use of music and videos. And, it goes without saying that if you want high energy and high impact experience, that’s absolutely going to require crisp sound.
Challenges in creating the perfect stadium experience
Sports fans attend events with very high expectations. And in many instances, those high expectations go well beyond what’s happening on the field. Fans are also interested in excellent lighting, crisp video presentation and high-tech sound. After all, it isn’t just a sporting event they’re attending; it’s an experience.
Every stadium’s sound design is unique as the stadium itself. Outfitting each facility comes with its own challenges. Let’s look at the three of those challenges a little more closely.
1. Understanding the importance of good sound design in a stadium environment.
Nowadays, it’s not enough to just offer splashy high definition video screens and massive illuminated scoreboards. Sound plays an important role in the overall guest experience in a modern stadium environment. Many facility owners spend big on the visible amenities such as video screens and luxury boxes, but sound design often takes a back seat, even though it’s highly important to the visitor experience. Not too long ago, all that was required of the in stadium sound system was
for it to function as a basic PA system to announce the score of the game. Fast-forward to today and the typical stadium sound system is now at the heart of the overall stadium audio/video system. Not only does it serve as a PA system, but also functions as a full featured fan entertainment system.
2. Determining the type of audio system best suited for the venue.
Owners of stadium facilities need to pay attention to sound design to ensure the audio fan experience is up to the same standard as the visual experience. This process begins with determining the best sound system for the venue. Working with a qualified sound engineer is imperative to ensure selection of the proper equipment and installation.
3. Proper design and installation of audio system.
It is important to factor in the size of the venue into the equation, and it’s extremely important to avoid installing a system that is too small and inadequate for your venue. Also, things such as speaker placement play a key role in overall audio quality. Nothing is worse than skimping on the initial installation only to re-visit a few years later to make costly retrofitted improvement and upgrades. It’s best to allocate the necessary resources up front to ensure a top-notch audio experience for the fans.
A complete entertainment experience
Today, the stadium experience is about much more than just the game being played on the field. The overall entertainment experience is just as important. With advances in home theatre technology and high quality 4K projection and surround sound systems in many movie theatres, entertainment consumer expectations are higher than ever. People know the difference between a high quality audio experience and an average one. Even high schools are spending tens of thousands of dollars to outfit their football stadiums with the latest in sound system technology, often rivaling big time colleges.
Outdoor stadium operators may feel a bit overwhelmed in planning their sound system installation, but with the proper allocation of resources and partnering with a qualified sound design engineer, a first class audio fan experience can be achieved for many years to come.