There’s nothing quite like the sound that reverberates through Rogers Center 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 are created, graphics and player stats are added along with sponsor messages. The results are shown on screens throughout the stadium.
Rogers Center is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2012, when Rogers Center was first renovated, 4K TVs were new. Now they are the norm. Rogers Communications, who own the Blue Jays, are always looking to improve the fan experience and it was time for an upgrade. Rogers Communications was looking for the most experienced and capable team for the job. Clark Wire & Cable is 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 AJP’s Mike Martin has been a great experience and an honor to deliver premium, quality products, on time and even ahead of schedule.”
The company supplied the upgraded wiring 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 modules 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 experience and expertise to help manage the complex project and guide it to successful completion. One challenging aspect of the project was the use of single-mode fiber to significantly increase the capacity of the existing broadcast wiring.
“Working together with the integration team, we have delivered premium optical solutions at Rogers Center to greatly enhance the fan experience,” I said. Dan Collins, director of business development at Clark Cable and Wire. “We are proud and honored to be selected as a supplier on this important project,” added Collins.
The draft debuted in April 2022 in front of a sellout Opening Day crowd cheering on the Blue Jays. It was originally announced for bids in 2018, but the pandemic led to a postponement and began the day after the 2021 baseball season ended.
The size and scope of the project was vast to say the least. The scoreboard at Rogers Center is 8,076 square feet. One of the unique detours was tackling the famous hotel right in the center. This meant that the space associated with the dashboard had to be maximized.
There were also new left-field and right-field displays next to the respective false poles 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 optical technology to extend the existing broadcast cable infrastructure.
It provides the best possible bandwidth for broadband applications. Its successful addition 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 expertise as
integrators was vital to the success of the installation.
Another important technological element was the addition of optical trunks of SMPTE cameras, which were installed as part of the central equipment room.
These trunks consist of hybrid fiber optic/copper cable along with connectors of the same composition. It is typically used in applications where HD cameras are used to capture live sporting events and live news feeds.
The role of fiber is to transmit video signals, while copper is used for both power and auxiliary connections.
The broadcast room
Integrating state-of-the-art technology into the renovated broadcast room was another huge challenge. The panels are designed and configured by Unity-SI, then built to exact specifications by Clark Wire and Cable. These panels are essential for interconnections between cameras, audio feed and network. Without them, a successful installation would be impossible.
Another important element of the project was the level of collaboration required to complete the project. This included collaborations between the Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays, Unity-SI and Alpha Video, among others.
Both the scoreboard and broadcast room have now been updated and modernized to match or exceed the technological capabilities of other stadiums and teams in Major League Baseball. These innovations have greatly improved the fan experience.
“We are very experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to supplying and implementing the type of equipment required for these types of high-profile projects,” Collins said proudly. “It is a privilege to receive a project that offers this level of visibility and we believe that our track record and our ability to work smoothly and successfully with our partners speaks for itself,” he added.