In 2002, Ford Field opened in Detroit as the new home to the Lions. Daktronics was chosen to provide the LED video technology that had served the Lions for a decade and a half.
Prior to the 2017 NFL season, Ford Field underwent major renovations which included new video displays. The Lions again chose Daktronics for the display upgrades highlighted by end zone, ribbon and exterior displays.
The most unique of the new displays at Ford Field included super column LED wraps. These 360-degree, circular-shaped displays are a first in the NFL and showcase Daktronics engineering capabilities for incorporating LED at venues.
Recently, we sat down with Bryan Bender, Lions Director of Event Presentation, and Todd Argust, Lions Vice President of Operations, to recap the first season of the new video displays and reflect on our long-standing partnership at Ford Field.
Q: What were the previous challenges faced regarding the video system?
Bryan: The biggest challenge we faced with our renovation project with video was to come up with a bigger footprint of video boards in the stadium for our fans. There are a lot of reasons why fans can choose not to come to a stadium but the video presentation, the game presentation and the environment is one of our best reasons to come and be part of that.
Q: How did Daktronics help engineer your vision and bring your concepts to life?
Todd: We knew we were interested in wrapping our super columns, but we weren’t quite sure what engineering would be involved to make that happen and come to life. Thankfully, Daktronics engineering came up with a great design and a plan for that, and we think the results have been outstanding.
Q: How has Daktronics performed under the challenging project timelines?
Bryan: Project management was outstanding throughout the entire process. We met early on, decided what we were going to do together, then each week we had a weekly call and there were never any issues. It was about as smooth as it could be, especially in the tight timeline we had.
Todd: I think the project management staff at Daktronics is one of their strengths. These were guys that I worked very closely with and there had to be a lot of coordination. This was a very aggressive timeline and we put a lot into the scope.
Q: How has Daktronics service support staff performed?
Bryan: One of the reasons why we went with Daktronics was the service that you provide. Not only when you install the system, but throughout the life of it. It’s a very easy process if something does not work properly to get it fixed and fixed quickly.
Todd: The service and support staff at Daktronics has been very easy to get a hold of. We had weekly meetings and we’ve continued to stay in contact with them. All the displays performed exactly as they said they would.
Q: How do the products and services provided by Daktronics help in your game-day efforts?
Bryan: Working with Daktronics Creative Services department was a great, easy process for us. Even to this day, we are giving them ideas and they turn it around in two or three days and it is implemented for the game.
Todd: The products provided by Daktronics and all these video boards give us more ways to engage our fans. It also helps our team because we can do amazing things now to engage our fans and get them pumped up which in turn gets our players excited.
Q: How has the video technology performed regarding viewing angles and brightness?
Bryan: One of the things I was surprised by early on is just how bright these boards can get. We typically operate them at 25% of their full brightness because they are so strong. And the viewing angles, you can almost get sideways with the boards and still watch them.
Q: Overall impressions of the video displays and process?
Bryan: We’ve been a Daktronics building since we opened Ford Field back in 2002. Daktronics is the standard bearer of the NFL in terms of video boards. I would know right from the beginning that after we did a shootout with all the different companies that Daktronics was the right fit for us from their design, their product and the stability of their product, the quality of the product, and then the ability to follow through with the construction.
Watch the full Detroit Lions – Ford Field Video Testimonial.