FC Business Feature: More EFL and SPFL Matchdays Powered by ADI

EFL and SPFL Clubs choose ADI for digital transformation projects to boost fan engagement, commercial opportunities and brand awareness

The 2022/23 English Football League (EFL) and Scottish Premier Football League (SPFL) seasons are well underway and for new adi.tv clients – Blackpool, Ipswich Town, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian – the new season has marked the dawn of an enhanced matchday experience for supporters and commercial partners.

During the off-season, all four clubs invested in a variety of ADI’s unique stadium solutions, from digiBOARD perimeter systems and superwide LED screens, through to Live Venue fibre connectivity and content creation.

With three decades of experience, ADI have long established themselves as the UK’s leading LED supplier to sports venues, with over half of the English Premier League and 60% of the EFL Championship currently using their digiBOARD systems. With a wide range of bespoke solutions on offer, EFL and SPL clubs are now beginning to recognise the commercial potential and fan engagement opportunities of digitalising their stadiums with LED screens and signage, and in Ipswich Town’s case, investing in a full stadium-wide digital transformation.

Making Stadium Screens and Signage Accessible

While the Preston-based company has a strong pedigree in delivering services to top-tier clubs around Europe – a client list that includes German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – the flexibility of what they offer allows clubs at all levels of the football pyramid to digitalise their stadiums. More recently, Ipswich and fellow League One clubs Oxford United and Forest Green, have turned to ADI for in-stadia LED installations and IT infrastructure, and, in turn, have received the same hardware and technology that sits within some of the world’s most spectacular football stadiums.

Accessibility is something that ADI are proud to provide and their digiBOARD technology now sits within 42 European football stadiums. Uniquely, ADI are a manufacturer, installer and operator and their latest MT LED technology sits at the heart of their offering and has been developed on the back of nearly 30 years of operating LED in the stadium environment. 

MT has been designed specifically for efficiency, reliability and lifetime cost-effectiveness. The modular panels are far lighter and slimmer than previous generations, with a fully-sealed design. For clubs, this translates into lower installation costs, greater operating efficiency and reduced ongoing maintenance costs throughout the lifetime of the technology, which is frequently up to ten years. And of course, all installations are supported by ADI’s renowned levels of service – panels that are damaged through the usual abuse that a pitchside perimeter receives can be easily swapped out and sent back to ADI’s UK service bench who repair them to be re-used at a later date. 

MT has reimagined what can be achieved for clubs beneath the top-flight or without endless amounts of resource and presented them with the opportunity to make significant visual improvements to their stadiums at a reasonable cost.

Live Venue Matchday Delivery

In addition to hardware, all of the clubs have opted for ADI’s unique Live Venue solution, taking their total number of venues connected to the network to 73.

‘Live Venue’ is a nationwide broadcast network that allows matchday content to be delivered as a full live event production from ADI’s galleries in Preston over dedicated fibre lines. The Club then uses ADI’s experienced Studios team – who currently service over 35 UK clubs and create over 2,400 hours of matchday content per year – to create and manage the content across the digital platforms inside the stadia bowl. Each season over 400 full matchday productions are delivered from the 16 purpose-built Live Venue galleries. 

The benefit of managing content remotely is that it removes the expenditure of a matchday production team or for a broadcast studio to be built on-site. It also allows for content across all platforms to be co-ordinated and synchronised, and provides a simple upgrade path to additional services, such as IPTV.

“It has been great working with ADI, who understood our needs from the very start and offered a stadium-wide solution that will undoubtedly enhance the matchday experience for all. We will be working very closely with their specialist team to ensure content creation and delivery is of the highest quality.

The two superwide LED screens have brought a new and improved feel to Tynecastle Park, and with the integration of ADI’s unique Live Venue solution, we are confident that we will be able to interact with our supporters and commercial partners in a more engaging way.”

- Catriona McCallum, Marketing and Communications Director, Heart of Midlothian FC

Ipswich Town

Showcasing the ambition of the club, League One high-flyers Ipswich Town were the latest club to partner with ADI to install an impressive and co-ordinated stadium-wide digital platform. The focus was to improve the matchday experience for supporters and attract and maximise value for commercial partners.

To achieve this, The Tractor Boys opted for the MTD digiBOARD perimeter solution around the three camera-facing sides of the stadium, along with a 33m2 giant screen in the South-East corner of Portman Road. On top of that, a brand-new IPTV solution including 164 screens is set to go live in the coming weeks to entertain fans in hospitality, concourse and corporate areas.

ADI are providing a full-stack solution this season, with technicians onsite for each match and content created, managed and delivered by ADI’s experienced Studios team through the Live Venue fibre network.

Whilst most football clubs have fragmented digital platforms with multiple operators and disparate control systems, Portman Road can now seamlessly distribute content across all LED screens and digiBOARDS, enabling far more effective management of stadium-wide communications and promotions.

Blackpool, Hearts and Hibs

With a brief to improve their commercial revenue streams, ADI secured a deal to become Blackpool Football Club’s official Digital Display Partner. The Championship outfit partnered with ADI to install a 10mm digital perimeter system that covers the TV arc, along with an additional crowd-facing ribbon on the rear. The combination has not only provided an enhanced experience for both fans and commercial partners but modernised the feel of Bloomfield Road.

For Scottish Premier League rivals Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian FC, ADI has worked closely with the clubs to understand their needs. Hearts opted for two eye-catching, superwide LED screens in the Main Stand and Wheatfield Stand, while Hibernian completed their digital stadium transformation last month with a 10mm UEFA-compliant perimeter system to compliment the large screens and digital scoreboards that ADI installed last year. 

The integrated stadium-wide platform now gives Hibs the opportunity to co-ordinate content using ADI’s Total Stadium Takeover technology. Delivered over the Live Venue network, it allows them to push out synchronised content across all screens and digiBOARDs, creating a high-impact and high-value canvas on which to deliver club or commercial partner messaging.

This article was recently published in the November issue of FC Business magazine – you can see the digital version embedded below:

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