The Championships, Wimbledon 2018
The Championships, Wimbledon 2018 was a landmark event for both Creative Technology (CT) and The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), as both parties embarked on a major upgrade in LED displays and associated technology across the Club Grounds and the Qualifying Competition at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton.
CT are proud to have a long-term relationship with The Championships, Wimbledon, that has spanned more than 20 years. During this time, the scope of service and the technology provided by CT has evolved significantly, with both parties continuously striving to deliver best-in-class display solutions.
Unlike previous upgrades where a small number of displays have been added or upgraded, the new deal for 2018 included upgraded or new displays across over 80% of the facilities along with a clear intention to bring the mechanical design and packaging into the 21st century while retaining the unique character that is The Championships, Wimbledon.
Except for the eight Electronic Information Displays (EID) strategically located around the Grounds of the All England Club (installed by CT in 2014), all displays have been upgraded to the ROE MC5 technology. This product was selected by CT after extensive benchmarking against competing products and following successful deployment of the MC5 at the Australian Open in both 2017 and 2018 by CT’s sister company, Mediatec Asia Pacific.
The EID boards are installed in permanent purpose-built housings in various iconic locations around the Grounds of the All England Club. The LED displays are installed during June each year and removed following The Championships.
The EID board design, with distinctive radiused top and bottom profiles, was used as the basis for the packaging of the 72 new enclosures designed and constructed by CT for The Championships 2018.
Outer Court/Qualifying Scoreboards
CT’s scope was substantially broadened in 2018 with the inclusion of scoreboards on the 12 outer courts at Wimbledon and 18 qualifying courts at Roehampton. With a three-fold increase in resolution compared with the previous displays, the new scoreboards were able to replicate the traditional scoreboard look while maintaining a minimal footprint and retaining the option to expand to 16:9 ratio in the future if required. The increase in resolution also allowed for the use of The Championships logo within the LED display for the first time on these courts.
Wimbledon’s Show Courts (Centre Court, No.1, 2, and 3 Courts) are the most premier and exclusive areas of the Grounds – typically showcasing the top players as they progress through the event. The iconic Show Court scoreboards, one of the most identifiable features of the Wimbledon experience, are now able to display increasingly complex graphics and images alongside the traditional scoring and electronic line-calling images. Additionally, each Show Court features a pair of independent Speed of Serve boards.
Courts 12 and 18 complete the ‘on court’ tally employing full format scoreboards and ball speed displays in a slightly smaller format.
Aorangi Terrace Screen
Known as The Hill, the Aorangi Terrace large screen is another well-known Wimbledon staple to have been given a makeover in 2018. The new screen doubled in size and resolution resulting in an extremely high-resolution display capable of showing multiple, simultaneous sources in full HD and allowing for significantly enhanced graphic information to be shown alongside the essential live feed.
Controlling the substantially increased pixel space required a complete re-think of the production system (also supplied by CT) employed to control the Aorangi Terrace large screen along with the optional live video feeds to each of the Show Courts.
While live tennis is never shown when a match is in play, Courts No.2 and 3 have been used previously as an overspill location for spectators on Finals day. Additionally, at certain times during The Championships, the BBC feed is routed to Centre Court pre- and post-match.
The new system included an upgraded 2 M/E switcher and dual redundant Barco E2 switchers with a custom developed user interface to allow the Director, Claire Michel, simple touch-screen access to all of the various screen states and content sources.
Match Information Displays
In 2018 the number of MID boards increased from three to five. Four of these were located in the Grounds of the All England Club – including two new locations on No.1 Court – with the fifth display installed at Roehampton. Two existing free-standing structures were upgraded from MC7 to MC5 display panels while a third demountable structure was designed for Roehampton, and two new wall mount systems incorporated into the redevelopment on No.1 Court. These displays posed the greatest challenge in terms of engineering: at Roehampton an underground rainwater tank severely limited foundation options, while on No.1 court the need to work with and around the ongoing construction project significantly added to the already complex undertaking.
As part of the refurbishment of the Centre Court Shop, CT were engaged by the AELTC to provide a pair of curved LED screens at the entrance and an additional display in the checkout queue area. These displays were built using ROE CB3 and Absen 2.9 Pro, showing a combination of advertising and merchandise information.
Wimbledon in Numbers
CT designed and delivered 72 new mechanical screen enclosures and supports to accommodate the new technology for 2018 along with a new rigging solution for the Aorangi Terrace.
A total of 86 LED screens were installed, made up of 968 tiles, driven by a total of 36 processors, overall an impressive 12,596.224 pixels!
Andy Brampton, IT Operations Manager at the AELTC, commented, “The AELTC has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with CT, and we were particularly pleased with how they handled the expanded scope and challenges presented to them in 2018. CT provided a highly professional project team, supported by many of the long-standing crew, which not only maintained consistency, but also allowed a fresh-thinking approach to the multitude of operational challenges. CT’s team delivered everything they promised on time and on budget.”
Dave Crump, CEO of CT in the UK, added, “We are extremely proud to have maintained such a long relationship with The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships. In our 20-year partnership, we have seen the scope of our work evolve from operating a single 20m2 LCD screen supplied by Philips to today’s highly complex installation. While the Wimbledon tradition plays an incredibly important part in everything that happens within the Grounds, nothing ever stands still. Even as the applause was dying down on finals day, the AELTC technology team were talking about what can be improved and enhanced for next year. CT are honoured to be a part of that process and proud to work with a hugely rewarding albeit extremely demanding client”.