The new external video panelling can present scores & updates as they happen around the conference.
Conrad Bradburn is the Manager of Game Day Expereince at ASU. Specifically, he handles the video board in Sun Devil Stadium on game days. After serving the same role at Vanderbilt University, Conrad came to ASU in 2010.
Can you tell us about some of the changes that have occurred since you came to ASU?
Over the past few years, we’ve made a much stronger commitment to the game entertainment and the experience for the fans. What the fans want and the traditions that they expect to see are very important to us.
When I came to ASU in 2010, the iconic Stomp the Bus video was really big here, but then it lost some momentum for some reason. So we got together with the administration before 2012 and made sure to bring it back in a big way. It really resonates with the fans.
In the past, some fans have complained about the sound system in Sun Devil Stadium. Can you tell us about that?
We had the same problem at Vanderbilt. It’s not necessarily a problem with the equipment, but rather a matter of acoustics. All of our speakers are in the south end zone at ASU, so everything is pushed out of that location. We have done some equipment upgrades, but fans can have a different experience depending on where they sit in the stadium.
Currently, we have sound guys that come in every game to address the issue. It’s a concern, and we’re constantly tweaking it to provide fans with a better experience.
Will that type of problems go away once Sun Devil Stadium goes though the new upgrade?
It should. People handling the project have come to us to see what we are looking for to improve the production level in the stadium, and the speakers and other equipment are a part of that.
Since the renovations to Sun Devil Stadium will employ video panels around the structure, I’m assuming that’s an extension of your department. How will those be used?
One of the ideas we have discussed is that for pre-game tailgating, that external video panelling can present scores and updates as they happen around the conference. It may also be used to promote upcoming events such as ticket availability for the next home game and other helpful information for fans.
What has been one of the more significant changes in your department?
Before the 2012 season, we overhauled our video crew and contracted with a professional company called Graystone Media based in Vancouver, Washington. In the deal they basically became our video board operator, and we have a full-time rep who operates right here out of the valley. As compared to the past when we were primarily concerned with having all of the content and information prepared for each game, now we are already thinking about more creative ideas in April for a game that will be played in September.
There was a pretty enthusiastic fan reaction to the “We are Young” video that played during a few games in 2012. How does something like that come together?
That came together as we began working with Graystone. We started thinking about a specific in-stadium piece that would really resonate with fans during the game. We didn’t want to put it on YouTube or anywhere else. It would be exclusive to the game experience.
We started to focus on the “We are Young” song. We looked around the industry, and Fenway Park in Boston had recently done something similar for their one-hundredth anniversary. Josh Kelman, a producer at Fox Sports and ASU Alumn, really helped out in the process. It was about finding a song that the student section would embrace and yet would still appeal to the rest of the stadium.
Can you tell us about the video that was created for last season?
Last season, our team put together something a little different with the song, “Glad You Came” by The Wanted. Our goal was to pay tribute to the great fans by including pictures of younger and older fans from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.”
How do you see this concept evolving?
Our long term goal is to create something specific to use between the 3rd and 4th quarters. A example would be Wisconsin and how they use the song, “Jump Around,” with their student section so well.
With that in mind, can you give fans a taste of what you might be working on for 2014?
Sure. You might remember the USC game in September when Journey played the National Anthem.
Because of that, I wanted to feature some Journey songs in the stadium. Late in the pre-game I played, “Don’t Stop Believin’” and the students took off with it and sang it out loud. Then I got requests to keep playing it. Later in the year, ASU students came to us and said, “what would you think about using this for our song between the 3rd and 4th quarter?”
So if the students are into it, that has to be a big advantage..
A lot of people in the stadium take their cues from the students. So if the students embrace it and other fans see the students moving back and forth really singing that song playing on the speakers, it could be a great moment during games.
We haven’t determined the video concept yet and I can’t make any guarantees, but because of our students we are very strongly considering that song.
Is there a message we can send Sun Devil fans:
We’re always looking for the next great fan story to highlight during the game. Those are one of my favorite things because everyone in the Sun Devil Stadium stops and turns to the video board. It’s a minute and a half when people get to hear a cool story and really be entertained.
We’ll continue using an innovative approach that capitalizes on social media. We can instantly share a photo and a message on the video boards that someone just tweeted out. At the same time, we will always respect the traditions of a great stadium and a great fan base that’s been around a really long time.
Fans can email Conrad with their own stories or ideas at Conrad.Bradburn@asu.edu.