LINCOLN, Neb. “Be Ready.” Two words capture the excitement behind the upcoming University of Nebraska football season. The Nebraska Athletic Department wants Husker Nation to “Be Ready” to enjoy the enhanced fan experience in Memorial Stadium for the 125th season of Husker football which kicks off on August 30, 2014.
The $12.3 million Memorial Stadium Fan Experience Improvements project is underway and includes replacing the stadium’s existing sound system; installing a wireless network system to improve connectivity; creating a game-day smart phone application for all fans in Memorial Stadium; and the installation of an IPTV system.
“Each of these Memorial Stadium Fan Experience Improvements are designed to provide the best college football fans in America with the best game-day experience possible,” Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst said. “It is extremely important that we strive to improve our fan experience and our customer service in all of our athletic venues. These initiatives in Memorial Stadium are a big step in ensuring that there is no better place to be on college football game day than at Nebraska.”
New Sound System to Improve Quality Throughout Memorial Stadium
The previous sound system at Memorial Stadium was more than 20 years old, and while it was still functional, the normal life expectancy of such systems is 15 years. With installation underway, a new, single-point source system will replace the current speaker cluster inside the stadium. It will use line array and beam focusing speaker technology that will provide consistent audio levels throughout the stadium. Voice and music intelligibility will also be much improved and will allow fans, in all parts of the stadium, to enjoy the full Nebraska game-day experience. In addition, all concourses, suites, and common areas will be driven by DSP (digital signal processing) technology. The DSP system will also deliver sound to the PA speaker amplifiers. Downs Electric has been awarded the contract for the installation of the new sound system with the assistance of BNT Productions and work began on April 14. Additionally, as part of the improvement, a new scoreboard design will be incorporated into the overall sound system structure. The scoreboard will display a 25-foot illuminated Nebraska “N” and topped with a graphic of a football, visible from both inside and outside of Memorial Stadium.
New State-of-the-Art Wireless Network System will be Largest Collegiate Stadium Installation
The new wireless network system has many advantages and will allow fans better access to internet applications from their smartphones, regardless of carrier or location in the stadium, which will also relieve volume to cellular networks for voice calls and text messaging. The system installed in Memorial Stadium will be the largest collegiate and second-largest Cisco Connected Stadium deployment in North America. Other stadiums with Cisco Connected Systems include Pinnacle Bank Arena, AT&T Stadium (home to the Dallas Cowboys and the largest Cisco Connected deployment in North America), Beaver Stadium (Penn State University), Stanford Stadium, Amon G. Carter Stadium (TCU), Yankee Stadium and Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers).
Wireless coverage will also extend beyond the stadium to allow for an even greater area of connectivity, including the Hawks practice facility and practice fields, the Ed Weir Track, Champions Club (Surface Lot Only), parking garages 1 and 9, and parking surface lots 3, 4, 5, 8, and 12. CDW has been awarded the contract for the installation of the new wireless system and work began on April 28.
Smartphone Application to Deliver Exclusive Game-Day Information and Video
Nebraska Athletics is extending its contract with NeuLion, a leading internet video technology provider for live and on-demand interactive content for any Internet-enabled device, to develop an innovative in-venue game-day experience. Through a smartphone application, fans will be able to access in-depth information about the games, including exclusive streaming video content only available to those inside Memorial Stadium. Also available will be rosters and player bios, real-time stats and venue maps with concession stands, restrooms, and emergency stations. This experience will be added to the Official Nebraska Huskers App that is currently available to iOS and Android users. NeuLion has broad experience delivering high quality sports video experiences on multiple devices, including work with the Big Ten Network on the BTN2Go app, the National Hockey League, Ultimate Fighting Championship, the National Basketball Association and more than 175 colleges.
When asked about the impact the improvements within Memorial Stadium will have on those in attendance, Husker Athletics Director of Digital Media Kelly Mosier said: “As technology continues to improve, fans are engaging with college sports across all platforms of social media during games. Specifically addressing Nebraska football, we are excited that the added connectivity we are providing for the 2014 football season will give fans in Memorial Stadium greater access to engage in the conversations which are occurring online.” The game-day application will be ready for use when the 2014 season begins.
The exclusive video content will extend the HuskerVision experience beyond the existing big screens inside of Memorial Stadium and give fans control of their video experience on their own mobile devices. To meet this new avenue of engaging fan content, HuskerVision will expand its control room in a project that was awarded to Alpha Audio & Video.
IPTV System Brings Game Day Content into Memorial Stadium Concourses, Clubs and Suites
The Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as a LAN or the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats. IPTV deployments tightly manage network security and performance to ensure a superior entertainment experience, including the delivery of significantly more content and functionality. An IP-based platform also allows significant opportunities to make the TV viewing experience more interactive and personalized. With the advancement of the IPTV system, every channel we provide to fans will be in HD. We are also able to ensure the ability to provide unique camera angles and live, in-game stats. IPTV is a component of the Cisco Connected Stadium solution and that is being installed by CDW.
West Stadium to Incorporate Brick Design Element
Memorial Stadium improvements also include the addition of brick on the base section of West Memorial Stadium. The brick has been donated by Endicott Clay Products Co. of Endicott, Nebraska, to match the brick they have provided for other parts of the stadium. With the addition of brick on the West Stadium side, the West, North, and East Stadiums will all feature brick as a cohesive design element.
Seat Yourself Program Concludes June 10
Nebraska Athletics was also pleased to introduce a new, online ticketing program earlier this spring for the upcoming football season called, Seat Yourself. The Seat Yourself process was designed to help current and prospective Nebraska football season ticket holders who wished to explore the option of moving their season ticket(s) or acquire new seats. The new system improved the ticketing process and included the ability to have a 3D view of Memorial Stadium, view available seats, and make changes to current seats or select additional seats. Donors, season ticket holders and those who placed their names on the initial Request List have been assisted with tickets and upgrades as part of Phase I, which ended on May 21. It was an extremely successful launch and will expand to other Husker venues in the future. Phase II will assist all those on the second Request List which began on April 1.
All fans interested in purchasing football season tickets for the 2014 football season can go to Huskers.com/memorialstadium to get on the Request List. Season tickets are $56 per game, or $392 for the seven-game season package, a savings of $113 over single-game prices. Beginning June 16, fans will be able to view remaining available seats and immediately purchase season tickets online at Huskers.com/memorialstadium with the Select Your Seat process. Don’t miss the opportunity to be inside Memorial Stadium for the 125th season of Husker Football.