As part of the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game festivities, the FanFest is an indoor baseball theme park experience dedicated specifically to the fans of the game. With opportunities to take photos with MLB Legends, get free autographs, plus pitch, hit and run on an indoor baseball diamond, the FanFest is an event like none other.
Continuing the implementation of technology enhancements designed to heighten the fan experience, the producers once again worked with BaAM Productions and MSI Productions at the 2017 event, and together they created an LED video tunnel entrance using 3.9mm FLEXLite Plus from PixelFLEX.
“Major League Baseball made it known three years ago that they were going to implement a tiered series of capital improvements to the annual FanFest experience at the MLB All-Star Game,” began Tom Bollard, technical director, MSI Productions. “They wanted to bring more technology into the show to make it more dynamic for our younger audiences. Last year, we implemented the LED tunnel walls during phase one of the capital project, and this year we implemented phase two with the integration of the LED tunnel ceiling, both of which used the FLEXLite Plus 3.9mm LED video.”
“The nice thing about our relationship with PixelFLEX is that they can pretty much do anything with an LED video design,” continued Bollard. “When BaAM Productions started designing the show, we knew with confidence that we could handle any design they wanted. When we received their sketches, we sent them over to the PixelFLEX design team, and immediately got the word back that we could make the FLEXLite Plus LED ceiling a part of this year’s line-up.”
Ready now to implement the technology into the design, the LED video tunnel would be the first attraction experienced by fans as they entered the Miami Beach Convention Centre. Wanting to immediately set a tone of excitement for the 2017 MLB FanFest, Bollard knew the addition of the LED ceiling would be a huge hit.
“The design structure was called the arrival module and it was positioned were guests enter the show floor to really create a dynamic first impression,” added Bollard. “Last year, the curved wall screens we did with PixelFLEX were a huge success, so as we added in the ceiling as well, we knew it would truly make the design unique. The curved screens stood about 19-feet tall and were approximately 35-feet wide. The ceiling structure ended up being approximately 30-feet wide and 36-feet deep with a nice, gentle curve to it as well, and it hung directly over the walls to complete the tunnel experience.”
With the load-in date now approaching, it was time to focus their attention to the rigging aspects of the design. Since the design called for a top-hang solution, the team created a custom, metal frame which would also allow for quick installation of the FLEXLite Plus LED video panels.
“Knowing that the LED ceiling would need to hang straight down, it would be bit of an engineering challenge,” explained Bollard. “We ended up creating a metal ‘super structure’ to get the rigging points needed, and that enabled us to get the ceiling loaded in and ready to go in only two days. Once it was up, you could tell it would be a dynamic, in-your-face, Miami-style baseball experience, and the fans absolutely loved it.”