Published in March 2006

Every Day is ‘Gameday’
By Jim Stokes

AV technology supports Park Sports Club’s stadium motif.

The Park Sports Club, viewed from one of seven private skyboxes with a view of the two 16'x9' screens.

     Park Sports Club fits in well with the fun-seeking atmosphere of the new Seminole Paradise mix of eateries, retail and entertainment in Hollywood FL. The club’s more than 15,000-square-foot stadium setting offers such complementary AV amenities as gigantic video screens, a plethora of video monitors, 20,000 watts of music power from the mid-air-suspended DJ/VJ booth and individually AV-equipped skyboxes.
     Specifically, Park Sports Club is within the mix of a dozen themed restaurants, 11 high-energy nightclubs and 24 retail shops. Furthermore, the club is attached to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. Seminole Paradise was developed by The Cordish Company, Baltimore MD, and designed by the Rockwell Group of New York and Morris Architects, Orlando FL. Located on a Seminole Indian reservation, the 350,000-square-foot complex features colorful Seminole Indian motifs and architecture, a central special-effects fountain and wondrous landscaping encircling the 12-acre Lake Paradise.

365 Days of ‘Gameday’
     The Park Sports Club touts itself as 365 days of “Gameday,” designed to transport customers from every day to “gameday” the minute they walk through the door. The venue’s overall design is contemporary/industrial, with concrete floors and exposed steel I-beams. Visitors are immersed in the club’s sports atmosphere via walls decorated with game memorabilia from such fields as Wrigley and Fenway. Booths are styled from the same leather and stitching used to make baseball gloves. There’s a cigar-friendly Coaches Office, a private dining room, loungers and bathrooms that double as locker rooms. Food and drink fit the milieu as well, with burgers, fries, hot dogs and wings on the food menu, and catchily-named drinks from the bar.
     According to Lou Santello, AV system designer, Media Designers, Kildeer IL, the building was built as though, when you walk in, you’re walking into a stadium, nostalgically reminiscent of an older Chicago stadium with lots of red-brick facing. Then you’ll walk down a ramp area, which opens up into one huge, approximately 10,000-square-foot room. This main first floor, with its 25-foot ceiling, has an 80-foot bar and a dining area. The surrounding second floor “stadium” has multiple skyboxes overlooking the main floor. “The Park Sports Club is a one-of-a-kind property that is privately owned by four investors, two located in Chicago and two live in Las Vegas,” said Santello. Construction on the from-the-ground-up venue was started in May 2005. Wiring began last Summer and finished with a grand opening on December 16.

Each skybox is an independent audio zone with local control, AV jacks and a plasma screen.

Credits & Control
     On the club side, the general manager is Joshua Hauer. On the AV side, we’ve already introduced Media Designers’ Lou Santello, who’s credited with system design. The Chicago-area AV company did the design, installation, service, sales and integration of all the products. He noted that Arturo Gomez, CEO of Rockit Ranch Productions, Chicago, served as project manager for the new venue. “He was hired by the investors because Arturo’s business is involved in getting new places such as the club up and running. He has done numerous nightclubs and knows what types of equipment belong in these places.”
     Gomez pointed out that “we sat down with Lou and worked out the needs. The majority of the recommendations came from Lou Santello’s camp. My education in the audiovisual world is good, but it’s not as sophisticated as Lou’s.” He noted that the crux of the install was the absolute Crestron control from multiple locations of the AV, lighting and HVAC. Later, we’ll see a major equipment recommendation by Gomez.
     “We had it set up so the entire system—audiovisual, lighting and HVAC—was able to be controlled remotely,” explained Santello. This aspect of entire environment control is commonly done in Media Designers’ high-end residential systems. “So what we’ve done in the Park Sports Club commercial project is not that uncommon to what we do in houses all the time. It’s basically set up as 32 rooms in a house.” And, testifying to the sophistication and complexity of residential systems, Santello noted that an upcoming project in a large residence will involve the installation and control of 70 plasmas, more than 250 lighting keypads, 100 Crestron touchscreens and 125-plus audio zones.
     Getting back to the Park Sports Club, Santello pointed out that all the programming was done by Elexos Corp., Chicago, a CAIP-certified Cres- tron programmer. “We hire them all the time on the higher-end jobs.” Regarding the bottom line, the AV equipment budget was $625,000. The project duration was 528 man hours.

Cat5 Solution
     Santello pointed out that an install challenge was finding ways to set the system up where Media Designers could use the least amount of wire to each individual display and still give a full HDTV signal. The Park Sports Club is a large open structure. Cable runs are quite long, some in excess of 250 to 300 feet, and often through plenum areas. The amount of cables that would have been required to homerun this system, including component video, audio and control, would have been mind boggling. Instead, Media Designers used a single Cat5 solution for video distribution, RS232 and IR through the Crestron PVID. Because Cat5 is balanced, there is less signal loss on long runs, delivering higher quality video signals to display devices.
     The headend consists of 10 high-definition satellite receivers and five DVD players. These sources, along with eight of the 32 audio zones, feed a 3-chip, 16'x9' Marantz DLP projector through two Crestron DVP4 multi-image display processors. Customers can watch any four HD and video sources simultaneously on the projector screen, and the four video window displays can be scaled and positioned anywhere on the screen. So, depending on which games are on and how many people want to watch each game, the display can be customized. Santello noted that the DLP “will give us much less maintenance because in most cases the maintenance is as simple as replacing a bulb every thousand hours. The CRTs are going away. The LCDs won’t give you the black levels that a DLP will give you.” Another factor was the DLP’s brightness, because of the amount of light coming through the glass windows throughout the building. And the Da-Lite contour directional screen gives a little more light output as well. Additional program sources are the rack-mounted DVD players, which can offer entertainment content and advertising loops.
     Using the Crestron PVID, any of the sources can be viewed on any of the numerous Marantz HD 42-inch plasmas situated throughout the facility, including those within the seven individual skyboxes. For main floor viewers, there are also seven plasmas mounted on the I-beam footer between the first floor ceiling and the second floor around the skybox exterior area. The rest of the plasmas are in the upstairs corridor bar and the Coaches Office. The dining tables are served with Sharp LCD displays, which are set into the wall next to each table. They’re for viewing when patrons are dining and don’t have a good view of all the other video displays. And there are a couple of LCDs in the restrooms.
     Although we’ve previously alluded to some headend rack equipment, let’s explore all the rack/utility room gear. The four Middle Atlantic AV racks house all the source gear, including the DVD players, satellite receivers, amplifiers, and Crestron video and audio switching and processing. The separately mounted lighting processor and thermostats are located conveniently just a few feet away in the same room.

Any source can be on any of the 26 plasmas located throughout the facility, including any of the seven private skyboxes.

Skyboxes and Audio Zones
     Now for further details about the skyboxes. Located on the second floor, overlooking the main open area of the Sports Club, the skyboxes can be leased for private parties. Each skybox includes a separate audio zone, plasma, local AV jack and local control. The second floor features a separate and secure area, accessible only by private parties. The skyboxes overlook the open area below, with a view of the large projector screen. Local control allows patrons to watch and listen to any source at the headend, and the local AV jack provides a connection point for personal sources such as an Xbox, digital video camera or DVD player. With the local skybox AV inputs, the number of video sources exceeds the capacity of the Crestron PVID. So, Media Designers built a sub-mix matrix using an IVDS to accommodate the additional sources.
     There are 32 audio zones featuring 36 speaker cabinets with eight dual 18-inch subwoofers, which are all hung from the 25-foot ceiling. Audio Zone One is fed out to a Crestron CNX-BiPAD8 matrix switcher at the DJ/VJ booth, which is equipped with a Rane DJ mixer, Denon CD player and Shure SM-58 mic. “Because the DJs don’t necessarily know what they’re doing, we took all the amplifiers for the DJ booth, along with the DAs, and remoted them from the utility/rack room. That way, we can set the peaks and limiters, and the DJs can crank up their mixer sliders all they want, but they’re only going to get ‘X’ amount of gain,” said Santello.
     This SLS speaker zone in the main open area pumps out 20,000 watts of QSC amplifier power to 18 trapezoid cabinets with four dual 18-inch subwoofers. Regarding the SLS speakers, project manager Arturo Gomez recommended their choice after hearing a demonstration. “So we looked into SLS and found them to be good,” explained Santello. “It’s a ribbon tweeter design that has had zero failure rate over the amount of years SLS has been making them. And, because we’ve been running them at the club, we’ve had zero claims on any of the drivers for any of the DJ equipment.” All other audio zones offer 65 watts per channel at 8 ohms from Speakercraft amplifiers and speakers. They include the dining areas, bathrooms, corridors, skyboxes, Coaches Office and the outdoors. Santello noted that the Speakercraft speakers have a lifetime warranty on the drivers.
      Taking a practical example of AV feed switching, Santello noted, “Because we have full audio and video breakaway (via Crestron), we can route any video to any video display device and we can route any audio to any audio zones, simultaneously. So, at 10 o’clock at night, when the club is ready to start ‘pumping’ it out of the DJ booth, we can still be running ESPN/ESPN2 on the video monitors but actually taking a feed from the DJ booth and firing in all those audio zones.”

Programming and Control
     At this point, the client decided to let Media Designers integrate other subsystems as well as the AV. Crestron automated the 12 zones of HVAC. Because the thermostats were all installed in the manager’s office, there were no ugly plastic lock boxes on the walls. And this eliminated the opportunity to tamper with settings. Instead, 12 flush-mount temperature sensors were installed in each of the local zones. Ten lighting zones were also automated from two CLX7x2 enclosures centrally located and locally controlled from keypads and touch- panels.
     Through the wireless network, using Crestron e-Control, any AV component and any subsystem can be controlled from any PC or laptop in the building. The network is password protected and accessible from any of the 12 PCs located throughout the club. Elexos, an independent Crestron programmer that was contracted by Media Designers, used e-Control to allow any of the PCs to simulate the TPS-4500 that is located in the manager’s office. Thus, anything can be controlled from anywhere without running back to the touchpanel in the office.
Santello emphasized that Crestron access is a “no-brainer. This system is completely set up on a Crestron touchscreen where a 15- to 20-minute lesson is all anyone needed to control the system.” In addition to the manager’s office TPS-4500, the skyboxes feature LC-1000 individual touchscreens. Then there are the CNX-B8, eight-button keypads for lighting control throughout the building. The separate glassed-in Coaches Office, which is available for private party rental, has Crestron control of its plasmas, CD changer and the 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound system.
     Elexos also developed a “Phone Home” function. The local network does not operate on a static IP address, so the programmers created a module that sends data back to a central server in Chicago and provides the current IP address that the LAN is using. This enables Media Designers and Elexos to update the programming and test the entire system remotely, without flying to Florida. More specifically, Santello explained, “Every five or six hours, the Crestron processor ‘pings’ our server in Chicago, showing the IP address in Florida that the system had at that time. We can then remote right into it and do debugging, reprogramming, lighting programming and HVAC control. We could actually control the whole system remotely, if we want-
ed to.”
     Back at the Park Sports Club, here’s an example of how the automation works at open and closing time: According to Santello, a manager can open up and prompt the system “Good Morning,” which follows a macro or a stage of events. The system powers up all of the plasmas and sets all of the satellite receivers on whatever channels they need to be. Signals are routed automatically and volume levels set with the press of one button in the morning. Then, throughout the day, sports and other entertainment feeds can be changed via TPS-4500 and LC-1000 touchscreens. At night, the operator simply hits the “Good Night” button and the proper “turn off” sequencing follows, for not only the AV, but also the lighting and thermostat settings.
     With that, we’ll also say “adios” to the Park Sports Club.



Media Designers

   Media Designers, Kildeer IL, offers full-service custom sales and installation of audio/video systems and home theater. In addition, Media Designers combines the complete integration of lighting, HVAC, spa control and drapery—all at the touch of a button. The company maintains high recognition in the AV industry via CEDIA certification and welcomes both residential and commercial projects.
   Media Designers maintains a complete and operative residential showroom setup in an actual 6000-square-foot home that’s available by appointment only. The showroom features everything from AV to lighting and HVAC control. There are 12 zones of video set up with one-chip and three-chip DLP projectors, 50- and 61-inch plasmas and full Crestron control. Rather than merely walking customers into a retail store and showing a bunch of boxes, Media Designers allows them to actually walk through the house and see how systems work in a home environment.


Media Designers’ Lou Santello with one of several central racks.



2 Crestron C2N-DVP4 video processors
32 Crestron CNX-RMC Cat5 room boxes
4 Crestron CNX-PVID-8x4 Cat5 video matrix switchers
2 Da-Lite 16'x9' cinema contour fixed screens
12 Key Digital KD-CDA12 component video distribution amps
24 Marantz PD-4220 42" plasma displays
2 Marantz VP10-S1 3-chip DLP projectors w/ceiling mount kits
11 Omnimount LCD brackets
22 Peerless plasma mounts
10 Samsung TS-160 satellite receivers
3 Sharp LC-20-E1U 20" LCD displays
9 Sharp LC-13-E1U 13" LCD displays
5 Sony DV-N-700 DVD players
2 Spaun 5802 satellite multiswitches


1 Ashly Protea 2.2 processor
1 Ashly XR-2001 crossover
9 Audio Control BVD-20 component video/Cat5 line balancers
9 Audio Control BVR-20 component video/Cat5 line balancers
4 Audio control BLX-10 audio line balancers
4 Crestron CNX-BIPAD 8 audio distribution matrix switchers
1 Denon DN-9000 dual CD player
1 Denon DCM-280P 5-disc CD changer
1 Marantz SR-7400 surround receiver
1 Monitor Audio FB-210 subwoofer
2 QSC RMX-5050 amps
6 QSC RMX-2450 amps
1 QSC RMX-1850 amp
1 Rane MP-44 DJ mixer
1 Rane DA-216 distribution amp
1 Shure SM-58 mic
4 SLS 218 double 18" subwoofer cabinets
18 SLS 1290 ribbon tweeter trapezoid speakers
5 Speakercraft BB-1265 12x65W amps
44 Speakercraft WS-720 speakers
16 Speakercraft CRS-TWO in-ceiling speakers
4 Speakercraft 6.5 DT dual tweeter in-ceiling speakers
3 Speakercraft MT-8.3 in-wall speakers
2 Technics SL-1200 turntables

HVAC, Lighting Control

12 Crestron THSTAT thermostats
12 Crestron RTS remote temp sensors
2 Crestron CAEN 7x2 lighting enclosures
6 Crestron CNX-B8 lighting keypads
1 Crestron PAC-2 processor
1 Crestron CAEN-Block lighting hub
1 Crestron CNX-ENET Ethernet card
19 Crestron CLX-1DIM4 dimmer modules
5 Lutron GRX-FDBI fluorescent interfaces

1 Crestron RACK2 processor
10 Crestron LC-1000 touchscreens
1 Crestron TPS-4500 12" touchscreen
4 Middle Atlantic Slim-5-37 racks, accessories


Liberty Wire

List is edited from information supplied by Media Designers.


Rockit Ranch Productions
   Founded in 2002, Rockit Ranch Productions in Chicago’s metro area is an entertainment development company that specializes in marketing, event planning, promotions, broad creative production, and restaurant and nightlife venue consultation and development. Through long-term partnerships with clients and customers, Rockit Ranch has experienced continuous growth in both its capabilities and event portfolio. The company has been the pioneer and the driving force behind some of Chicago’s most successful and talked about marketing, events and promotional efforts. Practices include product launches, themed parties and promotions, entertainment production, press events and concept development.


From radio and TV broadcasting to AV, Jim Stokes has been in the communications field for 50 years.

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