The recently finished 2019 IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships that took place in Slovakia, was bringing together the world’s most passionate sports fans, hoping to realize their dreams of national team success.
The tournament took place in the two most advanced Ice Hockey Arenas in Slovakia, bringing both prestige to the host cities and enjoyment for the locals, interacting with all the different nationalities who will descend for the duration of the tournament.
One interesting twist this year is that both host venues, the Nepela Arena in Bratislava and the Steel Arena in Kosicesuccessfully hosted the tournament eight years ago, so this leads to some key questions.
Why are those arenas so attractive that they were chosen ahead of other major venues? Furthermore, what sort of technology requirements should arenas nowadays fulfill to become successful hosts of such a prestigious competition? The answers firstly require a brief step back in history.
Ten years ago, the aforementioned venues weren’t technologically ready for such a major international sporting event and lacked nearly all the required game presentation technologies. Thankfully, one of the leading solution providers in the industry, ColosseoEAS, fully understood the critical importance of maximizing the game day experience, fan engagement and entertainment while at the same time keeping visitors safe and completely happy with the in-house game experience.
Coupled with these fan-centric requirements, the arena’s operators also required modern and reliable venues with a fast return on investment and with reliable online 24/7 support. Another key factor, something which many venue operators will relate to, was the need to future proof the facility as much as possible, with the constant allowance for future technology upgrades as the demands from fans evolved over time.
Colosseo listened precisely to the critical requests from all sides and eventually came up with a truly new and visionary approach of equipping both venues in the form of a customized and completely integrated turnkey solution, covering all arena requirements.
The arenas received new, custom designed HD center hung video boards, an advanced game-show presentation multimedia system – The Single Media Platform and an access control system with biometric facial recognition – all in one package. No solution provider had previously been able to meet all these requirements with one system, marking a seismic shift in the Arena industry.
Slovnaft Arena in Bratislava also received something very special – an impressive, world’s first HD double sided LED fascia board in a circular shape, called “The Space Ring”. Uniquely designed by Colosseo’s in-house engineering team, it enabled a huge range of new possibilities for game show presentation and fan entertainment.
As became evident in subsequent years, the use of such innovative solutions had a major influence on the successful future of both arenas which since 2011 became host venues of many other major international sporting events, summits and concerts where all installed components played a vital role.
One of the most significant impacts of using the technology at the Nepela Arena was the huge increase in venue safety, thanks to the use of Colosseo’s biometric facial recognition system. This eliminated the attempts of some groups of fans to use just a single ticket between them to enter the venue, thanks to the systems capability to assign each visitor’s face to each sold ticket.
MORE ARENAS FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
The huge success and positive feedback both during and after the Championships in 2011 naturally led to a huge surge of interest from other existing Arenas (and upcoming new build Arena developers) throughout Europe and later the United States, keen to also utilize the Colosseo turnkey solution in their own facilities.
Some of them also subsequently became organizing venues for the IIHF World Championships, including the O2 Arena in Prague (2015), VTB Ice Palace in Moscow along with Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburgh (2016) and the AccorHotels Arena in Paris (2017), all equipped with Colosseo’s latest technologies.
The awarding of such a prestigious tournament year after year to Colosseo equipped venues clearly demonstrated the level of complete satisfaction which the IIHF had with the reliability and performance of the technology that was being used.
The Colosseo Video Goal Judge solution proved especially popular during all aforementioned championships within the IIHF referees, helping to solve all controversial and disputable moments occurring at both the goalmouth or on the Ice level. The general satisfaction with the solution, its advanced video analysis features and user-friendly interface eventually resulted in an official recommendation letter from IIHF officials after the 2017 championships.
After nine years, the IIHF Worlds is coming back to Slovakia’s Colosseo equipped arenas again. Meanwhile, both venues were evolving at their own pace and thanks to gradual upgrades from Colosseo’s R&D team, they are ready to provide an even better fan experience and dramatic entertainment for the upcoming Championships.
Steel Arena in Kosice has recently added yet another two Colosseo VISION LED ribbon boards and completely upgraded its control room with the latest HW and SW version of the Single Media Platform and the Video Goal Judge, including the installation of the latest Colosseo wireless goal cams.
On the other side, Nepela Arena in Bratislava has also rapidly changed throughout the years. The center hung video board was embellished with the new LED bottom ring for even more sponsorship opportunities, while the new Colosseo LED dashers were also added at the ice level.
The chip-based player tracking technology that was developed by Colosseo engineers is another technologically advanced feature that helps both coaches and players to improve their performance which was successfully installed at the venue.
Fans and visitors also enjoys the recently added Noise Meter feature, along with the traditional Kiss Cam or Dance Cam during games.Each arena’s skybox also features the newest version of the Colosseo Interactive IPTV appwhere guests are able to enjoy highlights, instant replays, player’s & clubs’ information, an interactive game timeline with real-time statistics and other attractive information by simply browsing the various content categories on the large TV panel.
One of the major attractions for fan entertainment is undoubtedly the 3D mapping / projection, that was installed at the venue back in 2016 and provides outstanding excitement and visual experience in a higher than 4K resolution.
The original Colosseo vision for these venues from 10 years ago has now been proven to be at the forefront of timeless and visionary thinking. Having gradually upgraded these venues step-by-step to their current leading-edge state, ensuring that this major international sporting event will deliver to the fans and visitors the best possible game day experience, infotainment and engagement available on the market today.