Iowa State University’s Athletic Department Amplifies Fan Experience with Stadium Sports Bar Powered by Furman, Panamax and BlueBOLT

Before the start of this year’s football season, the Iowa State University Cyclone Athletic Department wanted to open a high-end space that would enhance an already great game-day experience. By creating a two-story high glass wall building in the stadium’s south end zone, they transformed what was once traditional stadium seating into an upscale sports bar overlooking the field. To ensure that patrons could still experience the full power of the game while inside, ISU’s Athletic Department called upon Bill Donovan at ICS Advanced Technologies — a University alum to boot — to envision, design and install an AV system that would improve fan experience. With a full AV upgrade — powered and protected by Furman and Panamax power management solutions — the Sukup South End Zone Club has quickly become a fan favorite!

“From the inception of this project, our primary goal has been to enhance fan experience,” said Chris Jorgensen, Project Manager and ISU Sr. Associate Athletics Director. “We want a packed stadium for Cyclone games. Right now, one of our main challenges is that we essentially compete with the experience of watching a game in your own living room. That’s why we knew top-notch audio and visual components were integral to the club’s success.”

Donovan knew he had to devise a way to appease fans who want to watch the game, but still enjoy the bar’s atmosphere. “One challenge with this project was to bring the game to the parts of the bar where live viewing is limited or impossible,” Donovan explained. “In order to guarantee that bar-goers were able to watch the game from any spot in the bar, we outfitted the space with a total of 16 NEC 65” TVs, 30 NEC 80” TVs, and a 240” Sharp videowall using 16 60” TVs.”

To maximize the audio experience for patrons, Donovan installed 62 speakers in strategic locations to also allow for conversation. “The speakers behind the bar are aimed high over the bartenders’ heads to specific locations, so that the patrons can hear the game clearly. Meanwhile, the bartenders themselves are not burdened with constantly loud audio when taking orders,” Donovan said.

Additionally, Donovan envisioned and designed a space behind the South End Zone Club’s round bars involving four televisions to resemble an “old school” in-the-round arena scoreboard. “It’s really neat, because we were able to enhance the interior design with AV components,” Donovan said. “This design is unlike anything I have done in any installation before, and it’s perfect for this bar.”

With a project of this caliber, Donovan knew that he needed a way to protect and manage all of the technology involved. That’s why he installed the Panamax M4320-Pro Power Conditioner to guarantee that the Sharp 240” videowall would be protected in case of power issues. “The Panamax M4320-Pro Power Conditioner is BlueBOLT-enabled, which allows myself, as well as other technicians, to control the videowall remotely through the myBlueBOLT interface,” Donovan explained. “If troubleshooting needs to be done, we do not need to go behind the videowall and take it apart. We can simply reboot any of the equipment, and from just about anywhere.”

What’s more, the rest of the bar’s technology is backed up with multiple Furman 1500-UPS Power Conditioners to guarantee that the entire system can run for up to three hours in the event of a power outage. Donovan, a huge proponent of power conditioning, also made sure that each individual NEC television had its own Furman AC215A Power Conditioner. “Every piece of equipment is plugged into a power conditioner because it protects the University’s investment in the high-end commercial technology that they purchased,” Donovan said. “Good power conditioning helps technology last longer. It’s essential for any installation.”

The ISU Athletic Department is sure that the space will continue to be a hit amongst fans. “We are extremely happy with the final result,” Jorgensen said. “The Sukup South End Zone Club is sure to be a Cyclone fan favorite for years to come.”