I started Athletic Elements, LLC because over my career involved in the sport of track and field, I have seen many oversights in stadium projects. Why they happened, I don’t always get the answer, but many times it is simply that nobody asked the question or thought to ask the question.
One example is a school district in Texas where they got the money to improve their athletic stadium. In the new design, they switched the home and visitor sides for football and built a great big new press box and VIP areas on the home side. They installed a new (quite large) Daktronics display board. The stadium looked beautiful, plenty of seating and a very nice press box on the home side. The old press box still existed on the visitor side.
I arrived to train the coaching staff on their new Finishlynx timing system (part of the stadium package for the new upgrades) and interface the timing system with their new scoreboard display. After just a couple questions I discovered that the fiber optics for the display was only run to the Home Press Box. This was a large problem since the finish line for the track was still located in the original spot, which is now the visitor side.
Phone calls were made and Daktronics sent technicians out for the next two days to get fiber connected from the display to the visitor press box. I spent the day time training coaching staff on the operation and setup of Finishlynx and in the evening I worked with the Daktronics staff to get the scoreboard set up for the track and field interface (which was another minor oversight) and check the final communications. Luckily the conduit from the old scoreboard was still in the ground allowing a raceway to run the fiber optic cable.
When I left the morning after my two days of training, the scoreboard display was communicating properly with the Finishlynx software. The coaching staff however missed out on the training part of setting up and operating the scoreboard interface. Upon return to the office I created documents noting the connections and setup for their display board and emailed them to the Athletic Director and coaching staff.
This was not the first instance this occurred over my years working in athletic stadiums, but it was the first customer to step up and resolve the solution quickly, but at a cost. My goal as a consultant is to do my best to make sure these questions get asked in the planning and design phase. It was never a pleasant situation being the one to break the bad news to coaches and athletic directors.