Founded in 1905 and part of the University of Nebraska system, the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) is a public residential university with over 6,275 undergraduate students. UNK athletics - the Lopers - competes at the NCAA Division II level and includes 14 men’s and women’s programs. Home games and matches for the school’s volleyball, wrestling and men’s and women’s basketball teams are held at the UNK Health and Sports Center, a 5,100-seat arena located in the heart of the UNK campus.
The arena was previously served by outdated, low-resolution display boards. Eventually, the boards stopped working and were unfixable. However, UNK Facilities Planning and Capital Programs (FP&CP) viewed this as an opportunity. “As a Division II school, we don’t always get the chance to do the kinds of projects that add bigger amenities to our facilities,” said FP&CP Project Manager Gregory Christen. “So, we started thinking about what we could do to take us to the next level. This was an opportunity to compete with some of the other schools in our conference and create an exciting fan experience.”
LED Video Boards Deliver Multiple Benefits In the interest of pursuing a more unique display option, UNK began a collaboration with Planar’s Custom Solutions Group, which led to a custom LED design for the arena. Installed by digital signage integrator Eastern Sign Tech, the new LED elements in the UNK Health and Sports Center were fashioned from Planar® CarbonLight™ CLI Series indoor LED video wall displays with a 3.9mm pixel pitch (CLI3.9). The installations include:
A four-sided, center-hung LED scoreboard, each side nearly 21.5-foot-long, 10-foot-high (13x6).
A 72-foot-long (44x1) lower LED scoreboard ring with custom-cut cabinets for rounded corners.
Four 16.5-foot-long, 6.5-foot-high (10x4) LED corner boards.
“The LED displays have drawn a lot of excitement within the athletics department and across campus,” Christen said. “The lower LED ring is a unique element that you don’t see very often - it’s something that differentiates our arena.”
Another benefit relates to the school’s ability to recruit student-athletes. “These kinds of amenities definitely play to that angle,” Christen said. “It shows the investment that the school is willing to make in our athletic facilities. But in addition to supporting our athletic programs, the LED displays are also a recruitment tool for the general student population. They bring excitement to sporting events, which is a big part of the college experience.”
The university is using ScoreVision, a custom software platform, to run their game time productions with the new LED scoreboard and corner boards, including managing the different types of content they plan to show. According to Christen, the center hang will be used for most of their content creation including live video, statistics and athlete bios, while the four corner boards will be used as scoreboards.
“Also, with the center-hung LED boards and lower ribbon, we have new advertising space for our local vendors who are doing sponsorships through the university,” Christen said. “That represents opportunities to increase revenue streams. We really have endless applications. Athletics is the main driver, but we plan to use the LED displays for different events like commencement.”
Robin Liggins, operations manager with Eastern Sign Tech, said the ease of installation of the Planar LED displays greatly helped with meeting the timeline of the project. “Planar CarbonLight CLI is much easier to put together - we were able to layout the verticals and the LED displays all at the same time as opposed to having to do that separately with a different product,” she said.
The Planar CarbonLight CLI Series required no seam adjustments at the end and took four technicians one day to install 273 LED cabinets - a project that likely would have taken three times as long with another option, Liggins said. “For such an easy install, the overall look of the LED displays is beautiful.”
About the Planar CarbonLight CLI Series
Featuring patented carbon fiber frames and a modular design, Planar CarbonLight CLI Series LED video wall displays are uniquely lightweight, thin and strong. Refined mechanical construction gives the displays the versatility to fit a wide range of different applications, including free-standing, hanging, wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted installations. Front-side installation and service shrink the overall video wall footprint and servicing space needed behind the wall, making it simpler to fit in more spaces than other LED solutions.