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Take athletic events to the next level with state-of-the-art digital signage

A University Business Web Seminar Digest Originally presented Sept. 21, 2010

Whether your athletic program is big or small, success depends on building engagement and loyalty among fans. Sony's new ZIRIS digital signage solutions can boost your spectator experience significantly, as shown by the Miami Heat, which is using the system to excite fans the moment they enter American Airlines Arena. ZIRIS can create visually engaging video walls, open new sponsorship opportunities, simplify delivery of content through web-based controls, and increase revenue through the dynamic presentation of display advertising and concession information.

 Ed Fliomia, Senior Director, Broadcast Services; The HEAT Group


About a year ago, we were in the midst of upgrading our facility from standard definition to high definition. The mandate was how do we make money with upgrading to high definition?

That's a very big task and hard to do. My initial response to that question was how did we make money moving from analog phones to digital phones. The answer was we didn't. It was just a way of doing business.

We're in the process of changing out all our displays, such as the old CRT displays we had with Sony that lasted 11 years. We still wanted to create ways to generate some revenue.

The way to do that was to create dynamic signage - signage that we could change whenever we wanted to. ZIRIS was introduced to us as a viable option. We did our research. We knew we wanted to do display advertising and we knew we wanted to do digital menu boards and directional signage. We decided to take that leap of faith and go with ZIRIS.


Our arena, which is in downtown Miami, is home to the Miami Heat. We host about 130 to 140 events a year. We added the Miami Media Mesh (a huge, dynamic electronic billboard) on the front of the arena and we needed something that could control that system and every display in the arena that we were going to add.

There are really two different kinds of signage. You've got a dynamic video wall, which is really for more of a creative splash, something that really wows you. It allows the content to be displayed not just across one sign but across all the signage. That signage is really designed for one sponsor and is managed by ZIRIS Canvas.

The other signage is managed by ZIRIS Professional. It's just signage that tells people where the restrooms are, where the different sections are, and it can also accommodate display advertising. You have different demographics in your building. There are cheaper seats in the 300 level, for example, and then you have your premium areas. The advertising is targeted to those different demographics. Also, at each concession, instead of having static cardboard displays, we have these really nice Sony high-def displays promoting the product. The food and beverage manager can type up his own content.

All of this basically puts a fresh picture in our arena, changing the experience based on the event. If we've got a Heat game, all of this signage has a Heat flavor. If we have the circus in town, it has more of a family flavor. It changes the experience on a nightly basis, which has a value to the arena and our guest services. And it creates revenue: it allows us to basically cater to the promoter. After a year of operation, we're happy to report that food sales went up a good 13 to 14 percent. They're attributing that to the dynamic signage.

 Shari Sentolowitz, National Manager for Education and Government Marketing; Sony Electronics


ZIRIS can be used in a variety of ways, from digital ads to poster replacement. This also relates to college campuses. Advertisers benefit from the ability to update ads more frequently. Viewers can see a sequence of images instead of a static sign. With digital signage, you can guide people on the fly to create better traffic flow. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus can be shown at the appropriate time. It's ideal for bringing information to mass audiences.

Where can ZIRIS be used on campus? One use of digital signage at the stadium is a virtual hall of fame. You can also place television images into part of the signage - this is perfect where you have queues and want to place branded information. It can also be used for directory information and emergency notification that can go throughout the campus. It's an end-to-end solution. Everything works together - the screens, the hardware, the software.

ZIRIS Create is the hub of the ZIRIS creative suite. It allows the user to assemble all the elements of the digital signage they want to create. It really is very simply to use. There's advanced content management. It has a very easy, streamlined ability to create playlists. It's a drag-and-drop, very intuitive interface. Another module, ZIRIS Manage, talks directly to each of the hardware devices. It gives you a real-time overview of what's going on. If an error occurs, it lets you know. You always know exactly what's played and where. And because it's browser-based, you can access it from anywhere.

With ZIRIS Canvas, your video walls don't have to be square. Video can be captured in any size, shape or orientation. You don't have to worry about the image being degraded or slowed down, and you can add sound. It's really no different from creating content for a single screen. Sony provides templates for layouts, but you have the power to create your own.

To view this Web seminar in its entirety, please go to

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