This year marked the 25th season NBA has played in Mexico and this past January was the first time the league played two regular season games back to back in Mexico City. Daktronics has worked with the NBA at Arena Ciudad de Mexico, supporting the display equipment since the facility first opened, and we have provided both display and control room event support since the 2014 season.
We sat down with one of our Applications & Services Engineers, Ben Todys, to get the inside scoop on the game-day show behind the scenes.
How did you get started in your position?
I’ve been with Daktronics for almost four years now. For the first three-and-a-half years, I was a Control System Specialist with our Live Events Services group where I traveled around the world training our customers on the operation and best use of their new display systems. In September, I joined the International team as the Applications & Services Engineer. I’m a technical adviser to both our team and our customers throughout the project lifecycle, from the sales process to installation and afterward, ensuring that they have a contact person with in-depth knowledge of their specific system.
What did we provide this year to Ciudad de Mexico?
Arena Ciudad de Mexico was one of the world’s largest centerhungs when it was installed in 2012, totaling 3,500 square feet of indoor displays throughout the arena, including 12 LED Displays on the 150,000 lbs centerhung alone. Also, with the exterior of the arena containing a 64,000 square foot freeform display, there is no shortage of Daktronics displays at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. As the experts on this arena’s system, we work with the NBA to provide display and control room support before and during the games, making sure that the equipment runs as expected and the fans and teams get the best experience. This year, we provided event support for the two back-to-back regular season NBA games at the arena. The Daktronics team that traveled to Mexico with the NBA included Francisco Rodriguez (Field Engineer, California); Stacy Brallier (Account Service Manager, Corporate); myself and Marcel Nantes (Field Engineer, Florida) (pictured from left to right).
How did we prepare for the event?
The support started a month or so before the game when a Daktronics Field Engineer traveled to Mexico City to provide a pre-event check, find out what equipment needed to be refreshed from the previous year, and ensure that all systems are updated to the most current software. Then, five days before the first event, our Field Engineers traveled to Mexico City and were joined by a team of technicians from our partner in Mexico, Pantallas Publitronics. This team worked together to ensure that the Daktronics scoring, timing, and display equipment was game-ready. Three days before the first game, I traveled down to Mexico City and worked to make sure the control system was performing at its peak so everything ran smoothly on game day. The entire Daktronics team works very closely together and with the NBA to ensure that all systems are running as expected.
What was the venue environment like?
The Arena Ciudad de Mexico environment is fun to be a part of. The days are long but everyone working there takes so much pride in what they do and it shows. Daktronics has a very good relationship with the NBA and the production team from Arena Ciudad de Mexico, so it’s good to get back each year and produce successful events.
What was your favorite part of the event?
My favorite part of every event I’m a part of is the moment just before the doors open before the game. There are months of planning and days of work that go into making these events successful. Right before the doors open, when the arena is calm and everything is lit up and working correctly, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement about what’s going to take place. That, paired with the knowledge that we are prepared for whatever may come up, is a great feeling.
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