ACC Improvements All About The Fans
Mike Ulmer - raptors.com
September 11, 2009 -- In the end, the scale of the improvements that cost Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment $48 million is all but impossible to fully grasp.
There is the new seating system which dramatically shrinks conversion times in the building. The huge scoreboard has been tuned up with a completely new sound system.
There are 320 new LCD monitors in the building and a central system so sophisticated the signs can be programmed to simultaneously flash a corporate logo when the Leafs score or a Raptor hits a 3-pointer.
There are links to the Path, the city’s network of underground tunnel.
There is a spectacular new entrance on the building’s west side and a cathedral-like atrium which accommodates a new high-definition studio for Maple Leaf and Raptors broadcasts as well as pre- and post-game shows. There is a gorgeous new bar, the Ice House, at the top of the atrium that affords an enviable perch to watch people as well as the game.
There are a thousand small improvements you couldn’t be expected to see like the Leafs TV/ Raptors NBA TV desk that swivels to allow talent to shoot with crowds in the background. Don’t forget a mini-set that will permit the talent to update or set-up a Raptors game in a Leafs’ telecast or vice-versa.
But there is one thing that you can’t miss.
It is 30 x 50 feet, a High Definition Mitsubishi Display off the west side of the building. The company added 50 feet to the building to create a new central entrance and turned the Bremner Boulevard area into one big rec room. All you need is a 20-foot-high ping pong table.
Company officials will be able to fill the plaza up with fans anxious to watch the game.
“The video screen will be the focal point of the place,” said Bob Hunter. “People will come here to watch the game, even if they don’t have tickets.”
It’s a terrific concept, one in which the game becomes, to use an internet term, viral. The game is now beyond the arena, not just beamed into homes and bars but alive in the neighbouring streets.
There is, of course, much more, developments Hunter is hoping will leave people talking about something other than the screen.
“All the amenities, food and beverage improvements, new retail, the signs that engage people, all these things are for and about the fan,” he said.