University of Southern California football players will look bigger and brighter this season, at least to those fans looking up at a new LED video board installed at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The board replacement is the first of several upgrades made by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission as part of a 25-year lease signed with USC last month.
The contract to install the board was awarded to City of Industry-based Optec Displays Inc. Another local company, Signal Hill-based Sign Methods Inc., helped with the installations and other cosmetic improvements inside the stadium.
“It’s one of the largest LED boards in the Western United States,” said Dane Cardone, president of Sign Methods.
It was the first time that Sign Methods has installed a large board in a sports venue. It usually puts boards in supermarkets, retail stores, auto dealerships and schools.
“We manufacture all types of signs, but LED boards are definitely the way of the future,” said Cardone.
The sign is 44 feet high and 33 feet wide, and shows a high-definition image. It uses less electricity than the old video board and should pay for itself in energy savings over five years, Cardone said.
“I’ve worked with signs for over 20 years, and the computer graphics and resolution on this board are unbelievable,” he said.
Basketball fans are excited about the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics renewing their NBA Finals rivalry for the first time in 21 years.
And some fans are really excited say, $25,000 worth of excited. That’s what some of them are willing to pay for a courtside seat at Staples Center.
“Floor seats demand a premium,” said Stephen Cucci, co-founder of Los Angeles-based RazorGator Inc., an online ticket marketplace. “There are people willing to spend, and floor seats do trade in the market.”
Cucci said that finding seats is a much more transparent process these days, thanks to technology. Buyers can see a range of available seats and their prices. In the past, a broker would say, “These are the best seats I have.” The secondary market sites such as RazorGator are marketplaces that allow ticketholders to make sales directly to buyers. As a result, prices rise and fall based on supply and demand.
“The market is set by the ticket buyers,” Cucci said. “If tickets are overpriced, they won’t sell.”
Currently the average ticket price for the Finals is $700, double the cost of seats at last year’s San Antonio Spurs versus Cleveland Cavaliers series.
But Cucci sees the market changing daily and even hourly as the games approach. As for the possibility of a deciding Game 7 in Boston, prices could go even higher.
“You don’t get much bigger than that,” said Cucci.
Sports blackouts may prevent some fans from watching their favorite teams on local stations, but those who have satellite television service provided by El Segundo-based DirecTV Group Inc. will be able to find the game on a different channel.
The company has launched Gamesearch, a search engine-based technology that responds when a game is blacked out in a local market and can find the game on another channel, if it’s available.
A box pops up on the screen and tells the viewer that the game is blacked out, but is “available on Channel X,” for example. It asks if the viewer wants to switch. For games that the DirecTV customer has set for recording on a digital video recorder, Gamesearch will automatically switch from a blacked-out station to a channel that is showing the game and record it.
The technology is free and available to customers with DirecTV’s high-definition DVR receivers. Service will be rolled out to the company’s basic service boxes next year.
News and Notes
Chivas USA of Major League Soccer announced a multiyear broadcast agreement with KAZA Azteca 54, the Los Angeles affiliate of Azteca America network. The station will broadcast 10 live Chivas USA games during the current season. The Los Angeles Dodgers have hired Frann Vettor-Gray as vice president of consumer development. In her new role, Vettor-Gray will be involved in the organization’s marketing, promotions, advertising and event initiatives. She joins the Dodgers from CurtCo Media. She has previously worked for the Coca-Cola Co., the National Basketball Association and the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games.
Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at email@example.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236.