When architects first presented designs for the renovation of what was then called Philips Arena, they proposed placing four video boards in the corners of the building instead of hanging a customary board above the court.
“We told them, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting; that’s engaging; that’s aggressive,’” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin recalled. “But we said, ‘Let us think about it.’ ”
Ultimately, Hawks officials went back to the architects and said they wanted both options – four corner boards and a center-hung board.
So when the Hawks’ renovated and renamed home reopens this month, State Farm Arena will feature a wealth of video screens.
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Recently raised into position high above the court, the center-hung structure has about 4,500 square feet of video display, making it one of the three largest in the NBA, according to manufacturer and installer Prismview, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.
The four-sided video board includes continuous screens of approximately 43 feet wide by 28 feet high facing each sideline and 38 feet wide by 28 feet high facing each baseline.
Mounted inside the bottom of the massive structure are two more screens, each 20 feet wide by 9 feet high, strategically placed for viewing replays from underneath in the courtside seats.
The new corner boards are sizable, too: Two of them are approximately 24 feet wide by 16 feet high, and the others are 43 feet wide by 14 feet high.
Add about two dozen other LED screens scattered throughout the building – from seating bowl to concourses to clubs -- and State Farm Arena will feature video displays totaling 12,047 square feet. The Hawks said that is about 10 times as much as the arena had previously.
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The center-hung board alone is “four to five times” the square footage of the one it replaced, Prismview president and CEO Don Szczepaniak said. It is “a continuous ring of LED with no breaks” between sides, he said. The edges are curved, allowing the continuous screen that will provide the opportunity for unique video content at Hawks games and other events, Szczepaniak said.
“It’s, we believe, the first of its kind” in an NBA arena, he said.
Koonin said the extreme emphasis on video displays in State Farm Arena reflects the proliferation of screens in people’s daily lives, from smartphones to supersized high-definition TVs.
“Screens are more important than they have ever been,” Koonin said. “We live with screens. Just a few short years ago, we weren’t a screen culture.”
The arena, which has undergone a $192.5 million makeover, has been closed since April 22. Its doors will reopen to the public for an open house Oct. 20. The Hawks’ first home game of the season is Oct. 24 against the Dallas Mavericks.