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Smart Buildings

How IP Technology Helps This College Stadium Stand Out

Belden
On college campuses across the country, sports venues—such as football stadiums and basketball arenas—are becoming more than just a place where fans can gather a few times a year to cheer on their favorite teams.

 

To get more mileage out of these facilities, they’re now expected to serve other purposes, too: hosting concerts, commencement ceremonies, community-sponsored events, high school sports and music tournaments, car shows, rodeos and even vaccine clinics.

 

By finding alternative ways to use these already-established venues, schools can make the most of the square footage they have while also freeing up financial resources. Instead of building facilities dedicated to each of these purposes, funds can be redirected toward other initiatives or programs.

 

When Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN, was originally built in 1930, it served a single purpose: home base for the Fighting Irish football team. Over the years, however, as the University of Notre Dame expanded all around the stadium, the venue became one of the most centrally located facilities on the 1,265-acre site.

 

Because it didn’t make sense for a building at the heart of campus to sit empty, the students, staff and faculty envisioned it being part of a multi-use hub and student center that would buzz with nonstop, year-round activity. To bring this concept to life, the University of Notre Dame unveiled its Campus Crossroads initiative: a $400 million plan to put the stadium at the intersection of academics, athletics and student life.

 

As part of the project, a complete renovation of Notre Dame Stadium was needed to ensure that the facility could host not only football games, but also many other types of events. Along with the addition of three academic halls that connect to the stadium (housing a Student Recreation Center, classrooms and performance and meeting spaces), the Campus Crossroads initiative also involved the creation of a cutting-edge, 18,000-square-foot production facility—Notre Dame Studios— housed within the Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center. The studio supports on-campus production and digital content for academics, athletics and faith-based initiatives.

 

Grabbing the opportunity to stand out, the University of Notre Dame decided it was ready to reimagine broadcast techniques to give football games and other on-campus events a different look and sound than other broadcasted college teams or programs. The team wanted to delve into live streaming, new broadcast approaches, distinctive reporter perspectives and one-of-a-kind camera angles. The renovation would also provide the university with the ability to show video inside the stadium for the very first time, opening doors to new possibilities.

 

To make this happen, a shift to IP-based operations was needed. Instead of requiring lots of cables and interconnections, a single cable can be used to deliver every signal to any endpoint in real time. IP provides flexible access to production resources and offers benefits like enhanced capture and playback that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. The studio can be used for an academic event in the morning and cover a sporting event that same evening—all thanks to the flexibility and versatility of IP-based infrastructure. IP also prepares the University of Notre Dame for advanced technology down the road, like virtual and augmented reality, because adjustments and upgrades to the system will be easier.

 

When the team sat down to discuss the type of infrastructure necessary to achieve their goals, they knew they needed cabling and connectivity that would support:

 

  • IP technology for content distribution
  • Live streaming and broadcasting
  • Reliable performance, high resolution, more bandwidth and exceptional signal integrity
  • Multiplexing of audio and video signals
  • Power delivery to several high-pixel, high-light-sensitivity broadcast cameras
  • A 96-foot by 54-foot screen, 150 large-screen displays for replays and ribbon boards throughout the stadium

 

Staff members also knew they didn’t have much time to design and install this network infrastructure: Football season starts in late August, but they needed time to learn and practice the new process before the first game—especially since this would be the first time working with video. They needed cable and connectivity that were not only reliable and dependable, but also fast and easy to install without compromising on the end result.

 

Want to learn more about the Notre Dame Stadium renovation, what it took to create network infrastructure that supports new technology, and the time-saving Belden solutions that kept the project on track? Start here!