The sounds of Toronto Raptors players hustling down the basketball court or Toronto Maple Leafs players checking the opponents into the boards have been amplified to a whole new level for fans of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Before the NBA Finals, the arena was the first to install an innovative new technology into the massive scoreboard hanging over the playing surface to better capture the sounds of the game. Those sounds are pumped into the Scotia Club with the potential for distribution to suites throughout the arena to provide additional genuine game atmosphere for fans.
Led by Westbury National, one of Canada’s largest professional audio-visual integration and full-service event production companies, and SFM, a leading Canadian product distributor and provider of customised go-to-market AV solutions, the original plan was to install Shure shotgun microphones. While the shotgun microphones provided great sound, the challenge was that once they were installed, getting 42ft into the air to reach them on the scoreboard and adjust them to switch between basketball and hockey games was just not feasible.
One idea was to mount new microphone technology onto the scoreboard, Shure’s Microflex Advance MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone, a microphone originally designed for office applications, and features directional beam arrays to capture sound from the right sources. The beauty of this type of microphone is that its recording patterns can be customised with software and remotely adjusted to fit the specific needs of the venue. Two Shure MXA 910s are now installed on the bottom of the giant scoreboard hanging over the playing surface.
“The MXA910s can be programmed to a variety of different configurations remotely with the touch of a button,” said Steve Svensson at Westbury National. “With the pre-sets, we can maximise the right sounds based on the game situation to provide fans with the best audio experience possible.”
Fans watching from suites aren’t as close to the playing surface, so they sometimes are unable to hear the gameplay sounds naturally. This solution provides genuine gameplay audio right into the speakers of the suites.
The microphone technology also helps reject non-essential sounds. For example, the sounds of a crowd clapping on a microphone may detract from the sounds on the court or ice, so the microphones are set up to only capture the key sounds from game action, like the puck hitting the post or the basketball players and coaches calling plays.
Shure has been providing quality audio solutions for 94 years, including involvement major sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Cup and Olympics. However, this is the first time the new MXA910 microphone array has been integrated into a professional sports arena.
“We’re proud to provide our fans with the best gameday experiences,” said Humza Teherany, Chief Technology & Digital Officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Making our suite guests feel closer to the action on the ice or court by providing the best sound possible is a major win for everyone.”
During the NBA Finals games at Scotiabank Arena, the audio from the Shure MXA910 was also being mixed in with the Raptors broadcast team to provide additional quality audio from the court to provide even more fans with a better game experience.