Published in March 2009

Ballpark Frank
By Jim Stokes

Yankee Stadium’s AV touches all the bases.

The new Yankee Stadium is a modern facility rife with audiovisual elements.
All Photos: Chistopher Ludwig.

Editor’s Note: As you read this, baseball fans will be gearing up for one of the most monumental events in sports history: the opening of the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Of course, we have to expect that this modern facility will be rife with AV elements, right? Right! McCann Systems, whose work we have covered in numerous installations over the years, is the integrator involved in all of the non-bowl aspects of Yankee Stadium’s AV, which we report here. In our June issue, we will detail the bowl AV, which is being integrated by the folks at AVI-SPL. Read on...and stay tuned!

By the time Sound & Communications readers see this, the new Yankee Stadium will be just about completed. Here, we’ll highlight the AV install that is also nearing completion. However, before we run those bases, provided by McCann Systems, let’s take a look at the new home of the Bronx Bombers.

It’s a vast understatement to say that the new ballpark is hot news for sports fans and casual viewers alike. There’s no need to get out a map, because the new stadium is located just across the parking lot from the venerable 84-year-old home turf of such greats as Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Roger Maris. Ground broke on the new venue August 16, 2006, which was the 58th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s death. Notables on hand for the occasion were team owner George Steinbrenner and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Be looking for big changes, literally, in the $1.3 billion stadium. The luxury suites, some of which we’ll be covering here, have grown from 19 to 56. There’ll be 16 elevators to accommodate more than 52,000 spectators. And taking into account expanding human widths, the seats have expanded up to 24 inches.

Credits

The potpourri of the new Yankee Stadium credits includes architect HOK Sport in Kansas City, developer Tishman Speyer in New York, construction company Turner Corp. in Dallas and Skanska USA Civil in Queens NY, which built structural steel frame and pilings. Hired by New York City-based Turner Construction, McCann Systems of Edison NJ was the AV integrator, with subcontract work by Polo Electric of New York City, and flat-screen installation by Unity Electric of Flushing NY. This writer wishes to thank McCann Systems personnel for their perseverance and time during installation crunch time. Special thanks to the indomitable Lynn Stefanelli, McCann’s public relations manager.

McCann’s integration team included Joseph Fusaro, project manager; William Ruiz Jr., lead technical adviser/installation technician; and Cory Crawford, sales manager. McCann brought its AV expertise to 15 areas within the new Yankee Stadium, including all internal concessions, restaurants, retail spaces and the press suite. McCann introduced 550 Sony Bravia flat screens, offering high-definition imagery over IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) distribution. McCann also integrated audio elements, including a paging system.

AV technology was incorporated into the design of the exclusive VIP Legends Club, Legends Home Plate Lounge and Legends Dugouts, as well as all other public restaurants, lounges, the Grandstand sports bar and the Concourse level Press Suite. Four retail spaces, selling everything from New York Yankees souvenirs and team apparel to high-end baseball collectibles, were also among the areas included in McCann’s AV install. (The flat screens were not installed at this writing, so we don't have install details.)

Head-End, AV Networking


AV access within the 15 areas is via Crestron control, either by touchpanel within a particular space or from inside the room’s AV rack. The AV Network, which resides in an AV rack, is comprised of HP ProCurve data switches, which come off the data switcher, fiber terminations and AV patches. “Rather than connecting the data back over the network over regular copper and using Cat5 connection, we installed a fiberoptic card, so the link between the AV rack to the stadium’s IT patch bay is over fiber,” explained Fusaro. “Obviously, you don’t have to worry about any cable length issues.”

Thus, the rack’s AV network is fiber-linked to the stadium’s head-end system on the 150 level, where Cisco provides the IPTV decoders. “We’ve been working with Cisco since about May 2008,” said Fusaro, “coordinating how this was going to get installed and how the control protocol was going to come down. So, Cisco, Crestron and McCann Systems had a kind of three-way team there, determining how it was all going to happen and be controlled.”

Then Fusaro gave some clear examples of AV system flow, which includes when someone plays a DVD on a room’s Blu-ray DVD player or plays a cable TV channel that comes off the cable TV box. The AV signal goes out to the head-end system. Specifically taking the cable source, it becomes converted to IPTV at the head-end and is distributed through the stadium. And each location, every TV has an IPTV decoder, which allows the user to see that specific source. Of course, the audio portion goes through the same Cisco IPTV decoders installed in the room’s AV rack.

Location, location, location! This field level Legends Suite Club bar and restaurant is located directly behind home plate. This public eatery hosts 20 subwoofers, 70 ceiling speakers and more than 50 flat-panel monitors.


Legends Suite Club


From restaurants to lounges to retail spaces, there’s a consistency in AV design and equipment where a person can walk into any of the locations and operate the equipment via touchpanel. First, we’ll take an extensive look into the AV in the exclusive bi-level Legends Suite Club, which offers spectators close views of the playing field. This first stop on our highlighted tour of the new stadium’s spaces will serve as a template for other rooms. Within the large, expansive 196'x93' restaurant/bar area are 74 Tannoy CMS601 main speakers augmented with 20 Tannoy 110SR subwoofers, which are driven by Crown amplifiers. Crestron controls the various TV channels and speaker zones throughout the space, offering independent mix-and-match of TV channels and TV audio, as desired by fans in the Club.

And there are AV plates mounted in strategic areas for connecting other AV devices for parties, other special gatherings or presentations such as a “This Is Your Life” showing for an honored guest. Plus, there’s a Blu-ray player located in the AV rack. As previously mentioned, videos are viewed over Sony Bravia flat screens, of which there are 550 within the entire stadium.

Simply Laid Out

“It’s really simple the way the touchpanel is laid out,” noted Fusaro. “We created touchpanels to mimic the floor plan. We took an AutoCAD background and stripped it away from all the ‘plumbing details,’ and we [inserted] the locations where the flat-panel TVs were with icons. So all users have to do is simply touch that icon and a channel list will pop up. They’ll be able to pick [for example] CBS, NBC and New York Jets football channels.”

He continued, “On the audio side, there’s a speaker icon for speaker zones where the same thing happens: Select a speaker, pick the channel you want to hear and away you go. That makes it really intuitive. Anyone will be able to walk in and tell each monitor what it should be displaying, and select the audio for the space, as well. Little prompting should be required to get them up and running.”

Next, he highlighted components in the club’s AV install, starting with the TV One converter, which consists of a scaler and an AV switcher for bringing in audio/video sources. Its output feeds the BSS London audio pre-amp system that has CobraNet, as well. “What we’re doing is processing the audio for equalization purposes and we’re also pulling down CobraNet channels from the Yankee Stadium system. That will include specific radio channels, such as an in-stadium interview, which play in that space.”

Life safety is taken into account via fire alarm mode, which will detect when the normally specific CobraNet 20kHz tone channel drops. When that occurs, the audio system is muted, allowing fire alarm messaging to take over stadium paging to tell the people what they need to do to ensure their safety. Listen Technologies’ wireless listening devices for those with hearing loss can be picked up from the manager at the bar. There are Shure wireless microphones for event purposes.

Coordinating Time


Before we visit the Dugout Lounges, here’s a look at the construction phase. To say that coordinating time of tasks is a key factor in construction is a vast understatement. It’s vitally important for AV installation because these tasks occur near the end of the project. Therefore, it’s instructive to see how it goes on a large-scale project such as Yankee Stadium where, in baseball lingo, tasks can be a combination of home runs and curve balls. “It kept everybody focused and working,” remarked Fusaro.

He explained that what actually happened in the Club area was that the crew was confronted with two types of ceiling finishes. There’s a drop ceiling area and a chipboard area. So it was a matter of coordinating with the other trades as to when McCann could go in and work on the drop ceiling in order to install speaker frames and brackets within that space. Then, working with the people doing the chipboard was essential, as well. Plaster had to be in place for sheetrock application.

“There was a bit of work going on there,” said Fusaro. The result was that “we weren’t able to get in and just do the room from start to finish. We’d start an area and wait for construction to catch up, do another area and then come back at a later date to go. So there’s a lot of time spent in pretty much the whole stadium coordinating time as to where to get in and do your portion of the work. You have to work with the trades around you and make sure you get your time.”

William Ruiz Jr., McCann’s lead technical adviser, gave some specific examples. He noted that, in 2008, when the project started, “we installed one of our housings and ran all of our cables. Then maybe two months into the project, the home run location was moved to the opposite side of the space. It was just design changes. Things change on the fly from day to day. It could be a problem with conduit or piping in the way.”

Located on the Main Concourse Level, the Grandstand Bar has a dining area and bar, cantilevered over Center Field. Fine dining and fabulous visuals are supported by a myriad of subwoofers and ceiling speakers.


Different Dugout Speakers


Getting back to the Legends area tour, there are two Dugout Lounges. Dugout A is on the first base side, behind the players’ dugout, for a good view of action on the field. Dugout B is behind the third base dugout and up the left field line a bit. Dugout B’s speakers differ from the other Legends rooms. The longish 30-foot-deep by 16-foot-wide room has a long bar on one side with loose tables in front of it. Equipment is housed in the AV rack at the end of the bar. Flat-panel TVs hang on the wall behind the bar. And, conveniently mounted just above each TV is a Boston Acoustics P450 three-way, 28-inch-high speaker.

Fusaro explained that, the way the room was constructed, “We couldn’t hang anything [speakers] from the ceiling. We had to pay particular attention as to where we located our speakers and make sure the speaker dimensions and TV locations were ‘spot-on,’ because having to penetrate or patch that wall would be an excruciating exercise and we wanted to avoid that. So a lot of coordination went on between us and the people who were installing the flat-panel TVs to make sure everything was on-center and evenly spaced.”

Open Ceilings

There were challenging speaker installs, as well, in the 100 level Grandstand Bar and the 300 level Skyway Suites Lounge because these two areas have open ceilings that wouldn’t accommodate the 601s. “There was just the slab on top. You have ductwork, sprinklers and electric lights up there,” said Fusaro. “We put a two-gang box on the ceiling and ran the wire through the conduit to the box. We had to fabricate a stem that went from the two-gang box mounted on the slab on the ceiling and extend that down to the proper height, so it matches the lighting fixtures.

“And we had to modify the can on the speaker to accept the custom-made stem we made, so the stem not only supports the speaker so it can hang there but also allows the wiring and cable to run through it, so it’s concealed. Obviously, the speaker itself also had to be painted black to match the surrounding area. As a result, they look like a pendant that’s hanging from the ceiling. When you look up at the ceiling, they blend in and you don’t really notice them. It’s difficult [for the diners] to pick up where the sound is coming from.”

Dining Additions

Take heart readers! We’ll next explore the Hard Rock Café and NYY Steak steakhouse. Originally, both eateries were called unglamorous “public restaurants.” Midway through the project, they were morphed into the present combo. So far, we’ve visited stadium areas that were mainly the more exclusive domain of high-priced ticket holders. However, these two venues are open to the general public, for ticket holders and non-ticket holders alike. Furthermore, the areas have a convenient outside entrance, as entrees to year-round dining and entertainment. In comparison, the other spaces require going through the official stadium gates.

Specifically, the 7000-square-foot Hard Rock Café features seating for 210 guests with a full bar and patio seating. In keeping with the Hard Rock branches in other parts of the country, the Café houses memorabilia from top artists, with an emphasis on New York-area talent and NY Yankees artifacts. Just upstairs is the new steakhouse, which has 6300 square feet of space. Although both restaurants are located on the stadium’s right field, there’s one caveat: The playing field will not be visible from either space.

The eateries’ AV racks and source equipment are similar to the other stadium AV spaces. However, as with the other spaces we highlight here, there are some differences. For instance, the Café has 19 main speakers and eight subwoofers, in keeping with its entertainment image. After all, “hard rock” implies strong bass vibes.

Quieter Atmosphere

In contrast, the upstairs steakhouse connotes a quieter atmosphere. Accordingly, there are 16 main speakers but no subs. And there are other differences. Because the Hard Rock has events year-round, the management wanted to use its own music server and iPod connection, according to Fusaro. “When individuals come in with their iPod, they can plug it in and play their music back. Then we provided [the venue] with the CobraNet System, which works over the music network.”

During the install, McCann had to take into consideration the ornate ceiling at the Café level. “That took a lot of time to make sure everything went in properly: not only the [main] speakers and the subwoofers, but also the lighting and sprinkler heads that were in there. Everybody [on the project] is very detail oriented in what they’re doing. The architect would be there often, just making sure that everybody was on the same page.”

Fusaro continued, “Between the electrician and us, we had to move things around a few times, but we got it all done. There’s actually a channel or groove in the ceiling. And in two areas, we had to make sure that our speakers were directly centered on that groove line. So that was a bit of challenge.”

Press Suite Concourse


Appropriately, we’ve come full circle, from acknowledging that we’re highlighting certain areas of the nearly completed stadium. And so, we’ll end our stroll going through the semi-circular Press Suite Concourse on the 125 level. The 200-foot-long by 50-foot-deep area offers a perfect view of home plate on the playing field. The 63 main speakers are not accompanied with subs.

“It’s a mid-area space between the main corridor and the 200 level,” said Fusaro. “The sound is more background and being able to hear the game-type activity. There are 12 Tannoy 501 five-inch speakers, which are used over the small bar area.” This concourse is equipped with its own wireless mic for events, as well as a Listen system for assistive listening.

(Please note that, due to early deadlines for production of this issue, all photos were taken during the final construction phases.)
 

McCann Systems

McCann Systems, Edison NJ, was founded by Frank McCann in 1996 as an audiovisual design-build company. For 13 years, McCann Systems has delivered AV communication solutions for companies worldwide. McCann environments can be found in almost every major industry, including advertising, broadcast, education, entertainment, finance, government, retail, institutional, hospitality, insurance and transportation.

Projects include CNN Communication Center in the Time Warner Center in New York City, CNN International in London, Barclays Sales Center in New York City, Bethel Woods Museum in Bethel NY, Sports Museum of America in downtown Manhattan, Elizabeth Arden on Fifth Avenue, NASDAQ MarketSite studio in Times Square, NHL Powered by Reebok retail store and corporate offices in mid-town Manhattan, Nintendo World at Rockefeller Center, Medco Health, Client Solution Center in Franklin Lakes NJ, Empire BlueCross BlueShield in Brooklyn NY, JPMorgan Chase Manhattan Bank Command Center and Boston University Visitor’s Center in Boston MA.

For more information, go to www.mccannsystems.com.
 

Equipment

Legends Suite Club
1 APC SUA2200-RM-2U UPS
1 BSS BLU80-1 processor w/2 input, 2 output cards
1 BSS BLU32-1 processor w/3 output cards
1 Crestron PW-2420RU regulated universal power pack
8 Crown CTs 2000 LITE power amps
1 Denon TU-1500RDP AM/FM stereo tuner
2 Edcor SM2M-2 audio combiners
3 Extron AAP 102 2-gang AAP mounting frames
3 Extron 2 XLR 3-pin female to solder cups
1 Linksys EZXS88W EtherFast 10/100 8-port
workgroup switch
2 Listen LR-400-216 portable display
FM receivers (216MHz)
1 Listen LA-126 rackmount antenna
2 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 44-space, 32" deep racks
w/accessories
1 RDL STA-1M audio line amp
2 Shure UA830USTV in-line antenna amps
1 Shure ULXP4 single receiver
1 Shure SM87 supercardioid condenser handheld
vocal mic
1 Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray disc player
32 Sony BRAVIA LCD flat screens*
2 SurgeX SX2120 surge eliminators and power
conditioners
74 Tannoy CMS-601 DC PI fully integrated 2-way ceiling monitoring
systems w/back cans, transformers
20 Tannoy 110SR subwoofers
1 TV One C2-7200 dual-channel HD up/down converter

Legends Suite Dugout A
1 APC SUA2200-RM-2U 2200VA battery backup
7 Boston Acoustics P450 speakers, Type 11
1 BSS BLU32-1 network expander w/3 analog output cards,
2 blank panels
1 Crestron MC2E compact control system w/Ethernet
1 Crestron TPS-4000L Isys 10.4" wall mount touchpanel
1 Crown CTs 4200AUSP/CN power amp
1 Denon TU-1500RDP AM/FM stereo tuner
2 Edcor S2M-2 passive balanced stereo/mono matchers
1 Linksys EZXS88W EtherFast 10/100 8-port workgroup switch
2 Listen LR-400-216 portable display FM receivers (216MHz)
1 Listen LA-126 216MHz rackmount antenna system
1 Listen LT-800-216 stationary FM transmitter antenna kit for
rackmount
2 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 44-space, 32" deep gangable
equipment racks w/accessories
1 RDL STA-1M audio line amp
2 Shure UA830USTV in-line antenna amps
1 Shure ULXP24/87-M1 pro diversity handheld mic system
1 Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray disc player
10 Sony BRAVIA LCD flat screens*
2 SurgeX SX2120 surge eliminators and power conditioners
20 Tannoy 110 SR-P active ceiling mounted subwoofer
speakers w/passive input modules
2 Tannoy CMS501 PI full-bandwidth ceiling monitoring systems
w/high power, sensitivity
74 Tannoy CMS601 DC PI 2-way ceiling monitor systems
1 TV One C2-7200 dual-channel HD
up/down converter

Legends Suite Dugout B

1 APC SUA2200-RM-2U UPS
9 Boston Acoustics P450 speakers, Type 11
1 BSS BSSBLU80-1 processor w/2 input, 2
output cards
1 Crestron MC2E controller processor
1 Crestron TPS4000L touchscreen control
panel
1 Crown CTS4200AUSP/CN 4 channels,
200W/ch at 70V
1 Denon TU-1500RDP AM/FM tuner
2 Edcor S2M-2 audio combiners
11 Hammond Audio 117F32 tap transformers
1 Linksys EZXS88W universal regulated
power pack for Isys tilt model
1 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 24 space
(42"), 32"-deep gangable rack
1 Sony S5000ES Blu-ray DVD player
Sony Bravia LCD flat screens*
1 SurgeX SX2120 power conditioner
1 TV One C2-7200 dual-channel HD
up/down converter

Press Suite Concourse
1 APC SUA2200-RM-2U UPS
1 BSS BLU80-1 processor w/2 input, 2 output cards
1 BSS BLU32-2 processor w/1 output card
2 BSS BLU-6 programmable volume controls
1 BSS SW9015US 8-position source/preset selection
1 Crestron MC2E compact control system w/Ethernet
1 Crestron TPS-4000L Isys 10.4" wall-mount touchpanel
5 Crown CTs 2000 LITE power amps
1 Denon TU-1500RDP AM/FM stereo tuner
2 Edcor S2M-2 audio combiners
2 Extron AAP 102 2-gang AAP mounting frames
2 Extron 2 XLR 3-pin female to solder cups
4 Extron 2 RCA female to solder cups
1 Listen LT-800-216 stationary FM transmitter (216MHz)
antenna kit for rackmount
2 Listen LR-400-216 portable display FM receivers
1 Listen LA-311 16-unit portable FM products
charging/carrying case
1 Listen LA-126 rackmount antenna
2 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 44-space, 32" deep AV
equipment racks w/accessories
2 Shure UA830WB wideband UHD in-line antenna amps
1 Shure ULXP4 single receiver w/accessories
1 Shure SM87 supercardioid condenser handheld
vocal mic
1 Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray disc player
9 Sony BRAVIA LCD flat screens*
2 SurgeX SX2120 surge eliminators and power
conditioners
63 Tannoy CMS601 DC PI 2-way ceiling monitor systems
w/back cans, transformers
12 Tannoy CMS501 PI ceiling monitor systems w/back cans
1 TV One C2-7200 dual-channel HD up/down converter

Hard Rock Café
1 APC SUA2200-RM-2U UPS
1 BSS BLU80-3 processor w/1 input, 3 output cards
1 Crestron MC2E controller processor
1 Crestron TPS4000L touchscreen control panel
4 Crown CTs 2000 LITE power amps
2 Denon TU-1500RDP AM/FM tuners
4 Edcor S2M-2 audio combiners
2 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 44-space racks
1 Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray disc player
10 Sony BRAVIA LCD flat screens*
2 SurgeX SX2120 surge eliminators and power
conditioners
19 Tannoy CMS601 DC PI 2-way ceiling monitor systems
w/back cans, transformers
8 Tannoy 110 SR-P active ceiling mounted subwoofer
speakers w/passive input modules
1 TV One C2-7200 dual-channel HD up/down converter

NYY Steak Steakhouse
1 APC SUA2200-RM-2U UPS
1 BSS BLU80-1 processor w/2 input, 2 output cards
1 Crestron MC2E controller processor
1 Crestron TPS4000L touchscreen control panel
1 Crown CTs 2000 LITE power amp
1 Crown CTs 600 LITE power amp
1 Denon TU-1500RDP AM/FM tuner
2 Edcor S2M-2 audio combiners
1 Linksys EZXS88W EtherFast 10/100 8-port
workgroup switch
1 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 44-space rack
10 Sony BRAVIA LCD flat screens*
1 SurgeX SX2120 surge eliminator, power conditioner
16 Tannoy CMS601 DC PI 2-way ceiling monitor systems w/
back cans, transformers
1 TV One C2-7200 dual-channel HD up/down converter

AV Network
1 ADC BJF203-4MKIVSN 2RU audio longframe jackfield
1 ADC PPI2232-MVJ-BK Pro Patch WSI video panel
9 HP ProCurve 2810 24G switches
6 HP ProCurve 2810 48G switches
15 HP ProCurve J4858C Gigabit-SX-LC Mini-GBICs
1 Middle Atlantic WRK-44-32 44-space, 32" deep
equipment rack
8 Mouser MSM19 vandal-proof momentary
mechanical switches
6 Panduit FWME2 fiber termination panels
12 Panduit FRME2 rackmounted fiber termination panels
1 Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray disc player
1 SurgeX SX2120 surge eliminator and power conditioner
* indicates Owner Furnished Equipment.

List is edited from information supplied by McCann Systems.


Sound & Communications Contributing Editor Jim Stokes has been involved in the AV industry for more than 30 years as an AV technician and writer.
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