Sportsbiztech

Sports, business & technology

Take Me Out to the Nats Game

As a native Washingtonian, I grew up accepting the fact that the Baltimore Orioles were going to be as close to a “home” team as I would get. This reality more than sufficed when Cal Ripken, Jr., was playing, but after the Iron Man retired, the Inner Harbor suddenly seemed to be in a galaxy far, far away.

Now Washington, D.C., has the Nationals – thanks to the Montreal Expos – and its own stadium. Opening Day is Sunday, but attendees at the Sports Events Marketing Experience Conference being held in D.C. were the first ones treated to a tour and a peek of the team’s batting practice at the new US$611 million Nationals Park. Located in a part of the Nation’s Capital that I’d previously never be caught dead in (i.e., anywhere with an address other than NW), the area is quickly being revitalized and is scheduled to look very different in three years’ time. (Go to halfstreet.com and you’ll see what is in store.)

Of course, no modern-day stadium would be complete without technology, although parents buying tickets for their kids had better watch out for the souped-up section for kids bored of trying to figure out how many outs are left in a game. This area includes a playground, a “Build-A-Bear Workshop” store and…a Sony PlayStation pavilion. Yes, Sony inked a deal with the Nationals, and here’s what the pavilion looked like as it was still being put together:

Sony PlayStation Pavilion

So instead of paying for a ticket to go watch the game, you can pay for a ticket to go play…Gran Turismo 5 on a Sony flatscreen.

However, Sony was not responsible for providing the huge video display in the park. Those honors went to Mitsubishi Electric, whose Diamond Vision LED display is quite a sight:

nationals-hdtv.jpg

According to our tour guide, this whopping 1,347-inch diagonal, 4,800 sq. ft. screen is the largest HD video display of any ballpark in the U.S. (the Atlanta Braves’ display is larger but is not in high-definition).

And finally, while this isn’t tech-oriented, I just can’t get over the cheesy, politically-themed names for the concession stands. This is probably the worst offender:

Steak of the Union
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March 28, 2008 - Posted by | baseball | , , ,

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