Fan experience heightened at Belfast’s National Football Stadium
With a capacity of over 18,000 following a major redevelopment, the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park is one of Northern Ireland’s largest and most high-profile venues. To match the new facilities, a new digital display solution has been installed to ensure the best possible fan experience.
Systems integrator Ashleigh Signs was engaged by the Irish Football Association (IFA) following an open tender process to implement a digital display solution at the newly renovated stadium.
In the past, the IFA had hired in a large screen for international games, but it became clear over time that this was not a cost-effective long term solution, nor in keeping with the expectations of today’s fans in an increasingly digitised world. The brief was to deliver a solution which would have the capability to offer replays of key action, live match feeds, stadium updates, commercial advertising opportunities and an overall better experience for visitors to the stadium.
The IFA called upon Absen Europe to supply its XD10 LED display solution to share all the action in glorious HD, having evaluated the key features and benefits offered by the product.
Thomas Fulton, Senior ICT Manager at the Irish Football Association, explained:
The XD10 from Absen offers a high definition image and high brightness, together with an intuitive content management and replay feature on the back end – which for us, was exactly the all-round high-end solution we were looking for.
Boasting a 10mm pixel pitch, 6000nits of brightness and 120 degrees of horizontal viewing angle, the XD10 offers real-time monitoring from PC, tablets and smartphones, giving the user complete control locally or remotely. With a panel thickness of just 106mm and weighing only 21kg, the Absen XD10 is thin and light, saving on installation space where it is at a premium, and making delivery and installation convenient and easy. Front and rear servicing make the IP65/54 waterproof module easily accessible for maintenance.
Whilst the XD10’s product specification meant it could clearly deliver against the original brief in terms of end user benefits, a number of its key features also helped the Ashleigh Signs team to overcome challenges on site during the installation process. Space restrictions around the perimeter of the football pitch meant that regular access equipment could not be used, and scaffolding was the only solution. Weighting 20% less than traditional panels, and with a depth that is also typically 1/3 thinner, the XD10 cabinets ensured a fast and successful installation.
Tom Sadler, Digital Signage Division at Ashleigh Signs, who oversaw the project on site, said:
The cabinet depth and weight were key considerations in finding the right display solution for the stadium. With good saturation in the marketplace and a strong price point given the quality on offer, the XD10 clearly stood out as the product of choice from every angle. What’s more, working with Absen throughout the project was a pleasure. From sales right through to service, every team was skilled, knowledgeable and prompt in getting the necessary information to us and offering support with the product.
The 43sqm Absen XD10 screen was deployed in an 8.96m wide by 4.8m high configuration. Reinstatement of the cladding around the screen allowed it to tie in seamlessly with the stadium’s overall aesthetics. The content is delivered to the screen by Goalsport Mini – an intuitive and user friendly system by Czech firm Daite.
Six months on since the installation, and the XD10 continues to impress, as Fulton noted:
We are 100% satisfied with the XD10 and it really has exceeded our expectations. Being able to control the screen device, locally or remotely, is a great feature and allows us to add and control content at short notice if and when required. Not only that, but it fits beautifully into our stadium environment – we’ve had fantastic feedback from visitors and it is now used not only for the football, but for other events we have taking place throughout the year. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to anyone looking for a similar solution.
Ross Burling, Absen Europe’s Business Development Manager for UK, Ireland and Nordics, concluded:
We excel in working alongside trusted systems integration partners such as Ashleigh Signs to deliver a bespoke solution for every client’s needs. With our proven performance and reliability in the sports market and compatibility with sports content management systems, all at an unrivalled price point, our products are a great fit for major projects such as this.
The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park is an impressive, unique venue, and we are proud that the XD10 now sits at the heart of the stadium, adding value and enhancing the experience for the hundreds of thousands of fans who live and breathe the game.
The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is one of the country’s biggest and most high-profile venues.
Following a major redevelopment programme, which began in 2014 and was completed in October 2016, the venue now boasts a capacity in excess of 18,000 and plays host to national and international soccer matches.
The redevelopment project included:
- Full replacement of the football surface and drainage
- Demolition of the South Stand
- Replacement of the South, East and West Stands to provide modern spectator facilities
- New media facilities in the new South Stand
- Refurbishment of the seating in the North Stand
- Replacement of the floodlight masts, with the new floodlighting integrated at roof height
- Addition of the new headquarters for the Irish Football Association (IFA) in the East Stand
- New matchday, corporate hospitality and conference facilities in the new South Stand