SoFi Stadium’s videoboard takes technology to new heights

SoFi Stadium’s oval videoboard is the visual centerpiece of the new venue. Credit: Jeff Lewis/LA Rams

Once just a vision captured by artist renderings, the main video board at SoFi Stadium is now a stunning reality, showing what’s possible when you combine a powerful idea with the technology, construction expertise and the will to make it so.

While fans will have to wait for the pandemic to subside before they can fully enjoy its attributes, like its full 4K resolution, the 120-yards long double-sided oval videoboard from Samsung – which is as tall as four stories high at its largest points – has been providing “wow” moments all fall to TV audiences who get glimpses on-screen of the board in action. But take their word for it, those who have seen it in person are generally in awe.

“It’s absolutely fascinating – I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. The stadium is home to two NFL teams, the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. Early this fall at a team scrimmage, the board was lit up and Hedinsson walked all around the stadium for looks from as many vantage points as possible, and came away stunned.

“It’s everything we had hoped for,” Hedinsson said. “It’s exactly what it was designed to do.”

Vision of Kroenke

When the idea of what would become SoFi Stadium was being developed, several sources we talked to pointed to Rams Owner/Chairman and SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park developer Stan Kroenke as the visionary for a videoboard that had never been done before.

The videoboard in Chargers configuration for a home game this fall. Credit: Los Angeles Chargers

“I have to give full credit to Mr. Kroenke for the vision,” said Hedinsson. “He sat down with HKS, our architects, and asked what was the ‘art of the possible.’ It was all part of how to innovate for the guest experience, and how to approach it.”

The evolution of videoboards in large NFL-type venues has become an interesting trend to watch, with highlights along the way including the massive centerhung screen at the Dallas Cowboys’ home, AT&T Stadium, and the circular “Halo Board” that sits below the outside edges of the camera shutter-like closable roof at the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

At SoFi Stadium (and the adjacent Hollywood Park), where various reports estimate that Kroenke has spent somewhere north of $5 billion in development costs, the needle of innovation has now been moved in a much different direction. Originally nicknamed the “Oculus” (a term no longer used by the stadium) the double-sided oval board hangs from the stadium’s cable-supported roof in a manner designed to present a clear video view to any seat in the house, from the field-level seats all the way up to the highest decks. Capacity for SoFi Stadium is estimated at approximately 70,000 for NFL games, and up to 100,000 for special events, like the Super Bowl.

So what are the stats?

According to figures provided by SoFi Stadium and by Samsung, the videoboard sits 122 feet above the playing field and 70 feet below the roof canopy; at 120 yards it is longer than the field of play, and it is also wider than the field. According to Samsung, its outdoor LED products were used exclusively to build the 70,000 square-foot dual-sided screen, which contains nearly 80 million pixels at a spacing distance of 8 millimeters from center to center.

The board is not symmetrical in shape for a reason: According to Samsung, the different sizes are part of the strategy of making the board visible to all seats in the venue. Mark Quiroz, Samsung’s vice president for sales, marketing and business development, said the company did virtual simulations of the screen’s visibility angles to all the seating sections to help determine the best final shape.

“It was all about getting the best views for the fans,” Quiroz said of the virtual testing.

The videoboard was first assembled on the field level, then raised up later. Credit: Jeff Lewis/LA Rams

At its tallest points, the board’s largest panel is approximately 40 feet tall; at the smallest points it is approximately 20 feet tall. According to Samsung, fans seated in the lower bowl will view the inside of the videoboard, while fans in the upper bowl areas will view the outer panels of the videoboard.

According to SoFi Stadium, the videoboard not only features the most LEDs ever used in a sports or entertainment venue, but it also has the first 4K end-to-end video production in a stadium, one that has 12 Gbps connections between cameras to ensure enough band- width for the higher-resolution content. The videoboard also has a JBL audio system that is home to more than 260 of the stadium’s approximately 4,500 loudspeakers.

According to Hedinsson, the videoboard will also eventually house 5G cellular antennas, since the location of the board gives it a perfect line-of-sight mounting position for the seating bowl.

If Hedinsson’s initial impression is correct, it would seem that all the partners involved in the board’s construction and deployment nailed Kroenke’s original vision, and made it come to life. But it was far from an easy task.

How to build ‘the art of the possible’

According to Hedinsson, the uniqueness of the videoboard and its structural size dictated that all design had to start by thinking about the board first.

“It [the videoboard] needed to be part of the earliest discussions – you have to design around an idea like that,” Hedinsson said. Since the 2.2-million-pound board would rely on the stadium’s cable-net roof for support, it was both one of the first structures to be designed, and one of the last to be put in place. The board was actually assembled on the ground inside the venue, and then hoisted into place after the roof was built.

According to Samsung’s Quiroz, the final installation of the board involved a lot more than just pulling on some cables.

A field-level view of the board in action. Credit: LA Rams

“The most challenging aspect [of the construction] was the tolerance levels in the seams,” said Quiroz, talking about the tightness needed to keep screens close together so that the video output does not have any visible breaks.

“Getting the seams right on the ground was one thing, and then keeping it together until you get it in the final resting place was another major challenge,” Quiroz said.

As if the construction team needed any more difficulty, during the final months of building the project had to deal with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. While admitting that Covid was “kind of a cloud that loomed over everything,” Quiroz said that since the overall project was a closed situation in a fairly large space made it somewhat easier to deal with safety requirements like social distancing.

Using the new canvas

When fans finally are allowed in the venue, the final chapter of the SoFi Stadium videoboard will be written – or, more accurately, shown in 4K resolution, as game information and sponsor messages make use of the one-of-a-kind screenscape. With the circular shape, all the potential providers of content – from the teams to the potential sponsors – seem excited about the possibilities.

“With the custom shape, there are probably things that still need to be developed,” said Samsung’s Quiroz, about the need for new design tools and new ways of thinking about what types of content might be possible. “We provided the template, so now it’s all about how you can use the capacity.”

According to Hedinsson, the SoFi tenant teams – both the Rams and the Chargers – have actively been working on building content for the board since December of 2019. With various “modes” available for display
– including full 360-degree perspectives and “full takeover,” where the Ross Video and Cisco Vision display management systems in tandem will allow a single message across not just the video board but over all the 2,000-plus smaller displays in the venue – Hedinsson is looking forward to times when the video board fulfills its promise of being able to amplify the atmosphere.

“The teams have really embraced [the board’s possibilities],” Hedinsson said. “We’re going to see some really interesting uses of the space.”

Friday Grab Bag: Chicago’s famed Billy Goat to close? Connected gear sales soar

Launched amid concerns that it was a fad device that would generate interest but not sales the Samsung Gear smartwatch has generated sales that total over 800,000 units over the two months that the wearable device has been available.

The product’s sales actually exceeded company expectations and Samsung said that it would ramp up holiday promotions for the device to help maintain its momentum. Rivals sitting on the sidelines debating a wearable device are no doubt watching closely.

The Billy Goat Tavern to close? Say it ain’t so!

For fans of old Saturday Night Live episodes, ones that include the late John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, one of the staple skits was of a hamburger joint where they would shout out the orders such as “Cheezeborger” and say “No Coke-Pepsi” to orders.

Also well known to Chicagoans as the Billy Goat Tavern, a subterranean hangout of newspaper people for decades, it may be facing closure as redevelopment rears its ugly head, literally as the building above is being renovated. The Billy Goat home page has a link to SNL videos if you are too young to know what we are talking about. According to one local report, the tavern won’t move and may only close temporarily. Remember: No fries, chips.

Samsung has aggressive goals for its tablets
Samsung already seems to have a tablet size for every person’s needs, and now the company’s goal is apparently to sell one of its offerings to everyone as the company said that its goal in 2014 is to ship 100 million or more.

That would be double its expected 40 million that it will sell this year and would make it the leader in the tablet space, a position now owned by rival Apple’s iPad family.

MLB expands replay
Major League Baseball continues the advance of replay in games with a unanimous vote at the annual owners meeting in Orlando that saw all 30 owners vote for an expansion of the technology for use in more aspects of the game.

Among the changes will be managers getting a limited number of challenges, replays will all be handled from a central office at MLB’s Advanced Media site in New York and that some plays are not reviewable.

AT&T teams with Red Bull Racing
No you will not see someone wearing an AT&T headset while setting a new world record free fall (at least I don’t think so) but the telecommunications company has signed a deal to provide communication services to Red Bull’s Formula One Racing team.

The deal is more than just having race day team members being able to communicate but will connect geographically diverse locations such as Infiniti Red Bull’s HQ in the U.K. and its engine manufacturer in France.

Toshiba launches 7-inch Android tablet.

Toshiba’s Digital Products Division has introduced the Excite 7, a seven-inch Android, the latest expansion to its Excite tablet family. It features a 1024 x 600 resolution display with a 1.6GHz quad core processor and 1GB of RAM

The device, which as a MSRP of $169.99 also includes a 3MP rear facing camera and a 0,3 MP front facing camera, and comes with either 8GB or 16GB of storage. It is currently shipping.

Fox News: Stadiums Are Getting Wi-Fi! Who Knew?

Amazing! What will those crazy Silicon Valley people think of next! The good news is, the reporter actually gets most of the facts straight on this report. But the tee-up studio host makes it sound like Wi-Fi is something new. In fact, our survey of more than 50 top stadiums found that 33 percent of stadiums already have Wi-Fi to all parts of the stadium — so it’s not something that’s just happening now. But here is how mainstream sort-of media handles the scoop:

Glad to see Jim Gray is over “The Decision” and is now for hire as a “sports business analyst.”

Need some stats on stadium Wi-Fi? Download our free report. Bonus: No Jim Gray analysis.

Major League Gaming Summer Championships Start Tonight

Major League Gaming

If you are a top gamer and are looking for glory then this weekend the place you should be is in Raleigh, North Carolina when the Major League Gaming Summer Championships start today with winners crowned at the end of the three day event.

There will be four different games all of which will be broadcast and you can look on the web site here to see what times and streams the game that you might be interested in will be playing. The first of the games starts with StarCraft II followed by League of Legends, Mortal Kombat and Soul Calibur V.

The StarCraft II tournament will have both Group play and a huge open bracket and will be playing for a total of $76,000 in prize money. The other matches will include the top competitors from the past season as well as some hopefuls that believe they can come out on top, Played on a PS3 gamers are vying for $16,700 in prize money in each of the games.

The MLG Pro Circuit has four full seasons that are each followed by a championship tournament. While players can compete over the course of the season online in a number of events, to play in the championships a player or team must be present.

This year the MLG signed an exclusive deal with CBS Interactive that made CBS Interactive the exclusive online broadcaster of the Pro Circuit. There is a good deal of speculation that CBS will broadcast events, or at least the fall championship going forwards.

StarCraft II

The games can and do change over the course of the year. For the spring championships players had StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, League of Legends, Mortal Kombat 9, Soul Calibur V as well as The King of Fighters XIII. The online viewership reached 4.7 million unique viewers and had 20,000 fans in attendance in Anaheim. The fall event will take place in Dallas on Nov.2-4.

If you attend the current championships and have a good story or images drop me a line at and maybe we can get it into a future piece.


Reuters’ Photographer Captures Iconic Olympic Image After Three Days’ Wait

Luke MacGregor, a photographer for Reuters, the international news service, didn’t capture an athlete in flight or a dramatic race finish. But after three days of trying, MacGregor captured among the most stunning images of the London Olympics.

Posting the details of his three-night mission near the Tower Bridge in London on his blog, the photographer perfectly captured the moon as the sixth Olympic ring.

Tower Bridge. Image © Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Using a smartphone application to properly gauge the rising of the moon, MacGregor details his quest to get the shot in a three-day diary, accompanied by three images.

In one first-day passage of his blog post, the photographer writes:

“Having planned to be in the ‘perfect’ spot on London Bridge with a good view of the Olympic Rings further up river and using the app information, I waited for the moon to rise.

“However the horizon itself was a little cloudy. When the moon eventually showed itself about 10 minutes after the app’s moonrise time it was off to the right hand side of the bridge. I hadn’t taken into account that the moon wouldn’t rise in a vertical line but would travel across the sky.”

Two days later, after calculating the changing exposure, the brightness of the moon and dealing with curious tourists in the line of his pending image, MacGregor got what he wanted. It’s an iconic image, a remembrance of the London Olympics far away from competition but as poignant as an event.

To read MacGregor’s blog in full and to view the three images, visit: Shooting The Moon
James Raia is a California-based journalist who writes about sports, business, travel and leisure. Visit his cycling site at

FIBA to push for 3 on 3 Basketball as Olympic Sport

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which governs international basketball competition, is seeking to establish its three on three (3×3) version of the sport as an Olympic event in the coming years, it has said. It is shooting for the 2020 games at the latest.

While you hear about plenty of sports seeking Olympic recognition, 3×3 looks like it has an inside track. It has been played competitively, and by this we mean on a world stage not the inner city asphalt courts of its birth, since 2007 and made its worldwide debut at the 2010 Youth Olympics.

It is a widely played version of the sports and FIBA has massive federation membership numbers, with over 213 national federations spread over five geographical zones; Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. FIBA said that it sees the sports adoption much in the way that beach volleyball followed indoor volleyball in to the Olympic camp.

Currently FIBA is launching a new three on three tournament that will follow its 3×3 World Tour. The world tour will have teams playing in six cities this year with several of them have already been played: Sao Paulo (July 14-15); Vladivostok, Russia (July 21-22); N.Y. (Aug. 18-19); Istanbul (Sept. 1-2); Madrid (Sept. 8-9) and Miami (Sept. 22-23).

There was a series of 70 qualifiers that were held to hone down the teams that were allowed to play in the event. The event looks to have an informal feel to it as aside from players’ skill events it also invites local street artists and DJs to perform and has an open to the public contest as well.

The Miami games will be the finals and there are a variety of teams broken down by age and sex playing in the tournaments. Nike and Samsung are major sponsors for the events.