The Houston Astros are in position to win the first World Series championship in franchise history with one more win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in either Game 6 or 7 tonight or tomorrow. Either way, they’ll head to spring training next year in West Palm Beach, Fla., as one of baseball’s two best teams and at least the American League champion.
That means the Astros spring training complex the team shares with the Washington Nationals, a team that’s considered a National League contender for the 2018 World Series, will be a place to celebrate a huge 2017 season but also look forward to repeating that success in 2018.
The 160-acre Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the shared Astros spring training home of the baseball clubs, is a state-of-the-art facility, including a 6,500-seat main field, six premium suites for up to 15 guests, two party decks with food service, a full bar for up to 100 partiers—and a high-end sound system based on two dozen Renkus-Heinz ICONYX ICL-FR line arrays.
Outside the main stadium, the complex features 12 practice fields (six for each big-league team) and seven 120×80-yard, multi-sports fields for soccer, lacrosse, football and rugby, along with a 12-acre city park near one entrance.
The Renkus-Heinz speakers serve the main stadium, says Ben Cating, senior consultant and VP for technology design firm Idibri and project manager for all technology systems at the Astros spring training venue.
Since this is an outdoor stadium, one big requirement was that the speakers have an IP54 outdoor rating, which indicates the equipment is dust-protected and resistant to splashing water, he says.
Another challenge was mounting, Cating said.
“Underneath the main stadium are a number of slender columns that support the press box, which we used to mount some of the arrays. Where there are no supporting columns, we used 10 custom speaker poles, five on each side. We designed the system, including the network,” he said, noting Pearson Audio installed the system.
Still, there remained an unavoidable issue, said Cating.
“Typically, in a situation like this, you use a long-throw and a short-throw loudspeaker,” he said. “But there is no overhang or canopy on the speaker poles, so we couldn’t put a big speaker enclosure on an overhang and aim it down at the people.”
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Idibri’s solution was a series of 24 Renkus-Heinz ICL-FR steerable arrays, enough to reach every section of the stands with even coverage.
Self-powered Renkus-Heinz ICL-FR line arrays were effective because each unit is steerable with an adjustable aiming angle from -30 degrees to +30 degrees, said Ben Boeshans, systems audio designer for Idibri.
“They put the sound right where we needed it,” he said. “The system even covers a little bit of the field, although that’s not a target. They fit with the architecture as well. To the extent you notice the speakers, they actually look pretty cool!”
Other Features at the Astros Spring Training Grounds
The Astros and Nationals also have VITEC’s EZ TV IPTV and digital signage platform at their spring training complex.
The platform gives the teams the ability to centrally manage and stream HD, low latency, in-house video feeds and cable channels as well as create eye-catching digital signage for more than 230 displays and menu boards throughout the venue.
Fans can enjoy the game and other video footage throughout the facility when out of their seats without missing the action. For suite owners, the automatically updated electronic program guide and video-on-demand capability provides access to non-linear content that cannot be seen in homes.
System operators can quickly create eye-catching digital signs as well as dynamically update menu boards integrated to POS vendors all over the ballpark. This eliminates the need for two separate media players for video streaming and digital signage or having to switch players to change the screen’s functionality.
The onboard administration and analytics tools empower the organization with campaign information vital to pulling in untapped revenue streams. A future-proof, scalable platform, EZ TV becomes a central distribution, creation, and monitoring hub for live and on-demand content shown on every display throughout the facility.