15 GoVision Screens Support 2012 Ryder Cup
(from PLSN November 2012 Issue)
Golf tournaments usually focus on the competitive abilities of individuals, but the Ryder Cup puts the competitive focus every two years on players based in the U.S. vs. those from overseas. Administered by the PGA of America and PGA European Tour, the Ryder Cup stokes trans-Atlantic rivalries and has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the golfing calendar, for pros and fans alike. This year, the 39th Ryder Cup took place Sept. 25-30 at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, IL, and while the outcome wasn’t favorable for the U.S., Europe’s stunning comeback on the last day of play lived up to the Cup’s reputation for epic drama. Nearly 40,000 spectators attended.
Argyle, Texas-based GoVision was chosen as the LED video screen provider for the Ryder Cup, including the tournament, opening/closing ceremonies and gala event. The company has experience providing video solutions for a variety of indoor and outdoor events, from concerts to festivals, trade shows to golf tournaments.
Immediately following the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York City, GoVision’s LED video screens were en route to Chicago. “This is a great showcase for us just coming out of the U.S. Open and providing the Ryder Cup with the same high-resolution video technology,” says GoVision Golf Manager Brett Amman.
While GoVision is involved with numerous golf tournaments each year—the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Shell Houston Open and Crowne Plaza Invitational to name a few—this is the company’s first experience at the Ryder Cup. “We’ve built a strong presence in golf over the past five years and the Ryder Cup is the crown jewel of golf,” says Chris Curtis, president of GoVision. “It’s an international event, fans have a great time, and it’s personally one of my favorite events. Now to have the opportunity to be involved is really exciting.”
This year’s Ryder Cup featured more LED video screens than any other PGA event. A total of 15 screens were displayed on the golf course, during the opening/closing ceremonies and at the off-site gala event.
GoVision positioned six Panasonic 8mm LED screens in different locations throughout the 18-hole East Course. The screens provided spectators with live television coverage as well as leader rankings, player bios, sponsorship messages, and more. Two-thirds of each screen broadcasted live video and replays, while the other third displayed scoring information.
Screen resolutions matched viewing distances“At the Ryder Cup, you have a lot of people who are close to the screens, so you want the resolution to be clear, whether they are 10 feet away or in the stands,” Amman says. According to Curtis, the 8mm technology is the highest resolution currently available for an outdoor product.
“With the 8mm SMD product, the graphics will be crisp and visible even in bright sunshine,” he explains. “This is especially important for an event like the Ryder Cup, where scoring is so important.” GoVision notes that it was the first company to offer a true 8mm product for outdoor use.
For an event of this magnitude, the planning process began more than a year prior to the event, in mid-2011. The GoVision team visited the Medinah Country Club four times to survey the site, determine the video screen locations and meet with different vendors involved. Ultimately, GoVision chose six video screen locations on the golf course, including a unique placement between holes 15 and 16 — the 12’7”-by-31’11” LED video screen there had to be built above a small pond.
Before building the screens, the first step was to drain the water from the man-made pond, which was created specifically for the Ryder Cup. Once the water was removed and the bottom of the pond was dry, the scaffolding was securely placed inside. The pond was then filled with water and the video screens were ready to be built on the scaffolding. “This was a unique challenge and the first time we actually had to build in the water,” Curtis says. This location was chosen because the area between holes 15 and 16 is a critical point in the competition and provides a natural theatre where spectators have a great view of the tournament and screen.
Another challenge was building two 15’2” by 38’8” LED video screens on steep hills at holes 13 and 17. Since there was no space between the hills, the GoVision crew wasn’t able to use a crane or forklift. As a result, building the screens meant a lot of heavy lifting. “We start on a six- to seven-foot deck and build the screens 12 to 13 feet in the air,” says Adam Vahl, field services manager with GoVision. “For this particular event, we decided to go with all ‘hand-builds,’ where we are physically grabbing every tile and lifting them up onto the deck.” GoVision also positioned three 10’ 1”-by-25’3” 8mm LED video screens at Patron Village, the Golf Shop and near the Clubhouse.
For the signal to reach the screens, 48 fiber optic cables were discretely run along the perimeter of the golf course to each individual screen from the broadcast compound. “All of the processing is being done from one central location, which is unique for an event this spread out,” Curtis says. “Usually, we have processing at each screen, but everything here is located in the broadcast compound.” While NBC provided a majority of the live feed, the GoVision team also assisted with live camera production for the event.
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