There is nothing quite like the sound that travels around Rogers Centre after the bat hits the baseball during a game. Information also travels around the stadium, but at the speed of light. The action is captured, replays created, graphics and player statistics are added along with sponsor messages. The results are displayed on screens all around the stadium.
Rogers Center is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays. Back in 2012, when Rogers Centre was first revamped, 4K televisions were a novelty. Now, they are the norm. Rogers Communications, who own the Blue Jays, are always looking to enhance the fan experience and it was time for an upgrade. Rogers Communications were looking for the most experienced and capable team for the job. Clark Wire & Cable is both pleased and proud to announce its role in the completion of the project in collaboration with Unity-SI, Alpha Video and Anthony James Partners (AJP). John Orona, Special Projects Manager for Clark Wire and Cable said of the collaboration: “Working with Alpha Video, Unity-SI, and Mike Martin of AJP was a great experience and it’s an honor to provide top-notch, quality products, on-time and even ahead of schedule.”
The company supplied the improved cabling and much of the equipment for the stadium’s new scoreboard and control room. The technology that was implemented as part of the project was both innovative and impressive. Clark supplied high-quality cable, custom panels, and assemblies to be used in the broadcast, AV and entertainment aspects of the project.
While AJP designed the system, Alpha and Unity-SI functioned as integrators, using their installation expertise and experience to help manage the complex project and guide it to a successful completion. One challenging aspect of the project was the use of single-mode fiber to significantly increase the capacity of the existing broadcast cabling.
“Working along-side the integration team we offered top-notch fiber optic solutions throughout the Rogers Centre to tremendously enhance the fan experience.” said Dan Collins, Director of Business Development at Clark Cable and Wire. “We’re proud and honored to have been selected as a supplier in this important project” Collins added.
The project went live in April 2022 in front of a sold-out opening day crowd cheering on the Blue Jays. It was originally put out for bids in 2018, but the pandemic lead to a postponement, and it began the day after the 2021 baseball season ended.
The size and scope of the project was extensive, to say the least. The scoreboard at the Rogers Centre is 8,076 square feet. One of the unique workarounds was dealing with the famous hotel in straightaway center. This meant that the space related to the scoreboard had to be maximized.
There were also new displays in the left and right field by the respective foul poles that had to be added, and the project involved revamping much of the technology in the control room as well.
The New Technology
One of the biggest challenges in this project was the installation of single-mode fiber technology to augment the existing broadcast cable infrastructure.
It provides the best possible bandwidth for broadband applications. Adding it successfully was a key part of making the project a truly state-of-the-art upgrade. Alpha and Unity-SI were key players in this part of the implementation, and their experience as
integrators was vital to the success of the installation.
Another important technology element was the addition of SMPTE camera fiber trunks, which were installed as part of the Central Equipment Room.
These trunks consist of a hybrid fiber/copper cable along with connectors of the same composition. It’s typically used in applications in which HD cameras are used to shoot live sporting events and live news feed.
The role of the fiber is to transmit the video signals, while the copper is used for both power and auxiliary connections.
The Broadcast Room
Integrating the state-of-the-art technology into the revamped broadcast room was another formidable challenge. The panels were designed and configured by Unity-SI, then built to exacting specifications by Clark Wire and Cable. These panels are essential for the interconnections between the cameras, the audio equipment feed, and the network. Without them a successful installation would have been impossible.
Another vital element of the project was the level of cooperation that was required to complete the project. This involved collaboration between the Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays, Unity-SI, and Alpha Video, among others.
Both the scoreboard and the broadcast room have now been updated and modernized to match or exceed the technology capabilities of other stadiums and teams throughout major league baseball. These innovations have considerably enhanced the fan experience.
“We are highly experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to supplying and implementing the kind of equipment needed for this kind of high-profile project,” Collins said proudly. “It’s a privilege to get a project that offers this level of visibility, and we believe our accomplishments and our ability to work smoothly and successfully with our partners speak for themselves,” he added.