Sports Venues, Casinos Using Shutdowns To Do Display Upgrades

April 6, 2020 by Dave Haynes

The sports and entertainment venues publication VenuesNow has an interesting piece up about how some stadiums, arenas and casinos are using shutdowns brought on by the pandemic to upgrade their visual display systems.

The piece focused on Daktronics, which is among the biggest suppliers of direct view LED displays for those kids of spaces.

“We’re still seeing sales activity with our sports customers,” says Jay Parker, vice president of live events and spectaculars for Daktronics, in the VenuesNow piece. “Different states have different regulations, but the teams still have a deadline and want to get into that building as soon as they can, and our products are part of that.” 

“Seattle Center and Belmont Park are in the procurement phase,” he said. “RFPs are on the street. We’re just having to do business differently. Instead of having pre-bid meetings on site, we’re using (video) technology for presentations. Fortunately, it’s allowing us to be more connected that we would have been even five years ago.” 

Daktronics is also busy filling orders from Las Vegas casinos while those gaming entities remain closed for the immediate future. To some, it may be surprising considering the unprecedented shutdown in Sin City, but Parker said the time is right to upgrade those properties that rely heavily on video screens to promote their brands. 

“They’re wanting to make improvements while there’s no guests,” he said. “The thinking is, when we come out of this, they’ll be better and stronger. Those facilities are huge, and they could employ some people and put them in an environment where they’re not standing next to others, polish the place up and make it look good.”

Dak has five factories in South Dakota, Minnesota, Ireland and China. While the ones Ireland and Minnesota are shuttered, those in South Dakota have stayed open, with physical distancing and other precautions in place.

It makes sense that doing upgrades when venues are shut down, as work can be done in the middle of the day instead of the middle of the night, particularly with casinos. You can also just get the work done continuously, instead of doing work outside of public hours and then getting gear out of the way for those public hours (which are not happening).

On the flip side, you can use local techs in some cases, but there are manufacturer experts who need to be on site, and unless they’re local, how?

Also, while there are lotsa deep-pocketed private owners of sports venues and mega-casinos, there are likely many more who have seen seasons cancelled, live events cancelled, and ticketing and concessions vaporize. Will those owner-operators have the budget for upgrades?

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