9 Sep 2022

Pushing boundaries in ‘sportainment’

by Jenny Barrett

Monstavision and Netball NZ lead the way in fan engagement and sports presentation

Monstavision, New Zealand LED sale and rental specialists, have a longstanding relationship with Netball NZ. They have been working together to push the boundaries of fan engagement and sports presentation for over fourteen years. Monstavision’s continued pursuit of innovation in the ‘sportainment’ space was recently acknowledged at the Event NZ Awards, one of just three companies shortlisted for the ‘Best Event Use of Technology’ category.

In June 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its height around the world but still under control in New Zealand, Netball NZ bravely set out to resume the ANZ Premiership. All games in the ten week season were to be played at the one location, Auckland Netball Centre, in order to meet the Ministry of Health guidelines on providing a consistent and controlled venue. The matches naturally had to be played in front of empty stands.

“There were a number of challenges. Firstly, we needed to scale up this empty community venue, with no crowd noise or atmosphere, to become a world class netball facility. Secondly, we wanted to compensate the commercial partners who were missing an opportunity with no eyeballs in the room. Thirdly, we needed to be able to easily change out the signage to cater for different team’s sponsors across two to three games scheduled each day,” recalls Bob Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Monstavision.

This is where Covid-19 had its benefits, “We were very quiet so I could set up and leave more than one hundred and eighty square metres of LED in a community centre for two months. This meant we could use LED over corflute signage and really beautify the venue and detract from the empty seats.” He could also allocate a team of personnel to innovate, “We strategically positioned signage elements at either end where most of the action takes place in netball and it ‘tactfully’ ended up in camera shots. We also opted to place LEDs behind the team benches to promote the sponsors and share statistics away from the empty stands.”

The main screen measured thirty metres by four metres. To drive the pixels and to take fan engagement a step further, the Monstavision team investigated a couple of systems, “We wanted an attractive background, and to be able to change out the branding over the top, as well as run the score and the stats feed. We also wanted to drive more information around the ref calls and umpire decisions which you can hear but can’t always see.”

They started out using Resolume VJ software and media server but swiftly progressed onto using disguise media servers for high end mapping of the dynamic video and graphics, “Again because we were so quiet due to Covid-19, the team could dedicate eight weeks to upskilling and honing their abilities with disguise. They went from junior operators to proficient users with a deep understanding of content management and of colours because of sponsor branding.”

The success of the ten week season meant a lot to Netball NZ and the Monstavision team, “Netball NZ and their sponsors were blown away. The ANZ Netball Premiership was the first sport to get going again in Level 2, the first matches to take place across the globe in empty stadiums. I’m not sure if the NBA were aware of us but interestingly when they got going they too were using the valuable real estate behind the team benches.”

The innovations borne of the ANZ Netball Premiership 2020 season have not only been retained by Netball NZ and adopted by other sports, but Netball NZ and Monstavision are still trying to enhance the fans’ experience, “We don’t refer to Netball NZ as a client, they are a partner. They have a genuinely collaborative approach to event presentation and together we really push the limits. We’ve gone from twenty to thirty square metres of LED to up to two hundred square metres for the Silver Ferns games. Our clock, score and ref calls are now shared on a fantastically stable platform and we are working on a few add-ons. Plus we have a new above court halo to roll out.”

The new halo will be launched at the FAST5 Netball World Series taking place at Christchurch Arena in November, a high paced action packed sport referred to as the Rugby 7s of netball, “The new halo is all about pushing fan engagement. We don’t want the audience to be distracted looking at the end of the room for information, we want it on court. It is the next step on our ‘sportainment’ journey.”

The Monstavision team:

  • Bob Wilson – COO, Technical Director
  • Siofilisioti Peaua – Lead Technician and Rigger
  • Carwyn Melville – Senior Technician – media and playback
  • Jordan Lawson – Senior Technician – media and playback
  • Bridget Donkin – Lead Content creator

Plus the rest of the amazing Monstavision team who all contributed


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