The design of University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, is singular in an already innovative universe of sports venues.
Opened in August of 2006 with a retractable roof and the nation’s first fully-retractable natural grass-playing surface, the facility’s entire playing field is able to roll outside of the building via an opening on one side of the stadium.
In keeping with the organisation’s long-standing commitment to elevating the fan experience, the Arizona Cardinals unveiled a new sound system in the University of Phoenix Stadium for the start of the 2016 NFL season.
Designed and specified by the Arizona Cardinals, the system consists primarily of flown L-Acoustics K2 arrays permanently installed in July by AV systems integrator Pro Sound & Video.
Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said:
We are committed to providing a world-class stadium atmosphere in every possible way. Because the audio-visual experience is a huge part of that, we understood how significant an initiative and investment this was for our team.
The upgrade has not only been incredibly well-received by our fans but also keeps University of Phoenix Stadium at the forefront in a very competitive landscape of sports and entertainment venues.
University of Phoenix Stadium is also unique in another way: nearly all of its AV requirements can be met by its own in-house AV/IT systems staff. And who better to understand the nuances of a major venue like an NFL stadium than those who work inside it every day?
Over the past 10 years, the music playback needs of the stadium had also expanded, requiring better low- and high-end reproduction, according to Jamie Gillespie, systems audio engineer for the Arizona Cardinals. At the same time, both the stadium and the Cardinals are always looking ahead, needing a lighter system to take into account the venue’s structural ratings for their massive truss system, which will be used for a center video cluster for NCAA Final Four games scheduled for 2017.
L-Acoustics’ K2 was the solution to all of these issues. He said:
The K2 box weighs only 123 pounds, but it’s in the same class and has the power and throw of boxes that weigh twice as much. The K2’s power and high intelligibility meant that he could dispense with the delay rings that had been necessary in the previous system’s design to ensure sound reached the upper levels of the stadium.
Using L-Acoustics’ Soundvision 3D modeling software, the Cardinals were able to design a simpler yet more powerful system consisting of a total of 10 array hangs: eight arrays comprising 13 K2 enclosures each topped by four K1-SB subwoofers, and two end-zone hangs of nine K2 enclosures each, for a total of 122 K2 and 32 K1-SB.
Installed by AV integrator Pro Sound & Video, the system is rounded out with a dozen ARCS Wide enclosures used to fill the upper seats at the north end of the stadium and end zone, and eight X8 coaxial speakers to fill in a “shadow” area for seats used for special events under the main scoreboard.
A field fill system, using four hangs of four L-Acoustics Kara enclosures each, is hung behind four of the main arrays and used to cover the playing field for the Cardinals cheerleaders’ presentations and other on-field activities. A total of 81 LA8 amplified controllers power and process the entire system.
With the permanent loudspeaker system in place well in advance of the Cardinals’ preseason opener, Gillespie notes that everyone has been overjoyed with the results.
The Cardinals have always been willing to invest in its AV systems, and this is another example. That’s why University of Phoenix Stadium has hosted such a wide variety of events. And that’s why L-Acoustics was the best choice. It’s all about the fan experience, and the stadium audio system is a huge part of that.