"The K is one of baseball’s most beloved ballparks. Hardware instability and restricted campaign creativity were limiting an otherwise extraordinary fan experience. We selected VITEC’s EZ TV IPTV and digital signage solution because it delivered incredibly reliable and high-quality, low latency streams and digital signage creation tools that can support our goal of making all aspects of coming to a game at The K unforgettable. We’re able to really use our screens to add value and a new dynamic that we didn’t have before."
Brian Himstedt Senior Director - Information Systems Kansas City Royals.
Background - Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, is home of the Kansas City Royals. Built in 1973, “The K” has a proud baseball legacy, and has served as the home of World Series champions; one in 1985 and another in 2015 - exactly 30 years apart. The most recent win brought a resurgence in baseball fever to the stadium, hosting more than 2.7 million fans during its 2015 title season. The 37,903-seat stadium underwent a $250 million renovation in 2009, which included an expanded concourse, new amenities, and state-of-the-art technology that make game day even more exciting. This renovation also amped up the visual experience on and off the field, installing more than 450 displays for back-of-house support, in the luxury suites, and around the concourse. The displays are fed by an IPTV system, delivering live game feeds and digital signage campaigns to engage fans out of their seats and bring in additional revenue.
The Challenge - Although the prior IPTV system was only seven years old, the media players were beginning to fail and were no longer being manufactured. Evaluation of an upgrade showed it to be cost-prohibitive, so the organization had to look elsewhere in an attempt to find a cost-effective, durable replacement that would eliminate the media players’ high failure rate and reliably support live, in-venue video streaming and digital signage-wall into the future. This also presented them with a unique opportunity to address other system shortcomings. The digital signage system was cumbersome in creating and dynamically updating digital signage content. The team wanted a solution capable of delivering low latency video around the concourse TVs and suites, feature easy-to-use interface for efficient digital signage creation as well as the flexibility to address any arising content demands.
The Solution - After considerable comparisons of the IPTV products on the market, the team determined VITEC’s EZ TV Platform cost effectively delivered on all of the team’s requirements, and more. Offering unparalleled value and performance while using the existing IP infrastructure. EZ TV is the industry’s first broadcast-grade solution that combines IPTV distribution with powerful digital signage capabilities into an all-in-one integrated platform. EZ TV‘s flexible, open-architecture is ideal for the ever-changing video, marketing and sales of today’s sports venues. With proven reliability, superb video quality and under one second of delay streaming 1080p Full HD content to any screen; TVs, PCs and Mobile Devices, EZ TV seamlessly integrates to existing network environments and is able to manage any type of video content including streams generated by 3rd party encoders. EZ TV makes each display an asset. As a result, fans can enjoy the game and other video footage when they’re out of their seat without feeling like they’re missing the action. For suite owners, the automatically updated electronic program guide (EPG) and video-on-demand capability provides access to non-linear content and delivers a unique experience that rivals their home setup. With EZ TV’s extensive digital signage capabilities, system operators can quickly create eye-catching digital signs as well as dynamically updating menu boards integrated to POS vendors. Using VITEC’s cost-effective, high performance end-point behind the display, operators can turn any screen in the network into a new monetary opportunity. This eliminates the cost of two separate media players needed for video streaming and digital signage, or having to switch players to change the screen’s functionality to keep cost low. The onboard administration and analytics tools also empower the organization with campaign information vital to pulling in untapped revenue streams.
The Result - After a fast installation to ensure the system was ready for the first pitch on opening day, “The K” was prepared to celebrate its 45th season. With VITEC’s EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform fueling content into every display, fans will be treated to fresh, eye-catching digital signage content alongside superior video quality delivered with low latency for game-day feeds as they walk around the concourse. Inside the luxury suites, owners will be able to access the TV channels using a service-provider grade electronic programming guide and control options that allow them to feel like they’re right at home while being right in the center of the action. For Kauffman Stadium administrators and control room personnel, EZ TV offers a comprehensive set of tools for managing content packages, channel lineups and central control and troubleshooting of any end-point used in the building. Every screen can drive new opportunities for fan engagement and revenue. It also provides unique features that will allow the organization to continue to enhance the game day experience, including menu board capabilities that automate the food services workflow.
Benefits of VITEC’S EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform
• Comprehensive IPTV and digital signage capabilities from a single platform
• Broadcast-quality, low latency HD streaming to any display
• Affordable, rugged, compact, PoE enabled end points with ASIC-based video decoder
• Automatically updating electronic program guide for premium-level luxury suite TVs
• No reoccurring expenses (OPEX) or annual licenses to manage