PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates had not gone through a Scoreboard control room upgrade since it opened in 2001, and the major components controlling their scoreboard display included a Daktronics Venus7000, A Ross Video switcher, an AVID DEKO Character Generator, and an AVID Thunder Clip Player. Prior to the 2015 season, they decided it was time to make the control room HD compatible.
The Pirates purchased five Ross XPression units, using three in combination to create their main scoreboard presentation, and two (one primary and one backup) for their Lbar display on their ballpark TV’s. Prior to the 2016 season, they purchased XPression Clips to add to their main XPression system as they felt it was a necessary addition to fix some issues they experienced, as well to aid in the new aggressive design they wanted to feature in 2016.
“I entered the development of our new control room with an objective view when it came to choosing a character generator. I had no previous experience with Ross or it’s competitor Chyron, so I came at this choice with a clean slate and perspective.”
Matt Zidik, Game Presentation Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates
After participating in several demos of each product, including a couple of site surveys of other facilities in which Ross and Chyron products were featured, Matt chose to go with Ross’ XPression. “The pricing was not the deciding factor, but it certainly strengthened the decision. I chose XPression more based on a comfort level of what I had observed during demos and in other facilities. I also had a strong desire to create an interactive 3D environment as the base of our main display, and it appeared to me through discussions with Ross’ creative services team that XPression offered the best solution for that project.”
In 2016, Matt enlisted Ross’ Creative Services team to help bring their ideas to life. He wanted to create a new, more dynamic game in-progress look, but also brought to Ross two unique ideas for between inning entertainment – all in which involved interactive 3D environments. “One feature involved showing highlights from other games around the league, and the other involved creating an interactive video game using XPression. I think the video game was fun for both sides, as it certainly was getting away from the normal projects we’d usually get to work on.”
As an overall system, the Pirates are now light years beyond what they could do prior to 2015. “By using XPression to create our layout, we’ve been able to create incredibly dynamic shows in which our layout constantly changes. Our first design in 2015 featured a 3D environment that had two separate layouts. Our design in 2016 features a new 3D environment with five distinct layout configurations, and the ability to move freely from one layout to another. We’ve also incorporated more dynamic textures that change per batter within the environment itself.
The Pirates are using XPression in unique ways, especially within sports. “At this point, I feel I’m mostly limited by my own imagination as to what I can accomplish with XPression. We’ve created new features for our in-game entertainment which have become fan favorites, and thus also appeal strongly to our corporate partners.”
For the Pirates, they have yet to bring a concept to Ross that they haven’t been able to step up and deliver on – however absurd the request may seem. “My experience with Ross has been great, and their customer service has been top notch since we first started working together in 2015, especially Greg Kuh, Andrew Sampson, and Neil Hopley. Their creative team is wonderful, and while all of what I wanted to accomplish with our display has not necessarily come easy, it has been a fun journey working with these guys, and the end product is definitely something we can all be proud of.”
“Every year I get excited to see all the teams across the leagues come up with new ideas to ‘one-up’ each other. It was an honor to work with the Pirates again to essentially ‘one-up’ themselves. I can’t wait to see which team comes up with the next new idea,” said Greg Kuh, Creative Services Lead Designer, Ross Video.
Ross Video Ltd., 8 John Street, Iroquois, ON K0E 1K0