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Portland TrailBlazers

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"Blazermania" describes the fervor of fan support for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. More than 6,000 of these fans have purchased season tickets practically every year since the Trail Blazers moved into its home court, the Rose Garden Arena (now the MODA Center), in 1995. These season tickets comprise about 60 percent of all tickets sold.

The Rip City United area recognizes valued season-ticket holders and sponsors

While the Trail Blazers value all of their fans, season-ticket holders garner special attention in an area at the MODA Center called Rip City United. Launched at the start of the 2009-10 season, Rip City United was created as a benefits program to recognize the allegiance, devotion and loyalty of these die-hard fans, and constitutes one of the organizations biggest business initiatives.

"Watching a Trail Blazers game in the arena is a memorable experience," says Chris Dill, the organization's chief information officer. "We built Rip City United to extend the game experience into the concourse so our valued season-ticket holders feel appreciated. They can connect to the game and feel a sense of community and excitement even before they reach their seats."

Two LCD video walls from Planar Systems are key components of the Rip City United experience. A three-by-three (3x3) configuration of the Clarity™ Matrix LCD Video Wall System digitally displays the names of season-ticket holders and sponsors. It also shows high definition video of game highlights and upcoming Trail Blazer events, along with the best of the team's 25,000 still image library—all in 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Nearby, a one-by-two (1x2) configuration of Clarity Matrix panels brings fans up close and personal with life-size images of each Trail Blazer player. "This is pretty unique," says Dill. "You can stand next to these screens and see how big our players are. It really makes an impression and enriches the fan experience even more."

"We created this space to keep growing our base of season-ticket holders and sponsors," Dill continues. "The Planar video walls are a significant part of this effort."

Clarity Matrix creates a compelling cost of ownership proposition

In selecting the video walls, Dill and his team turned to Portland-based MTek Kiosk, Inc., a firm specializing in the integration of digital video wall systems. Together, they settled on the Planar Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System.

The brightness of the displays (700 nits) was a key factor in the decision. "We have more than 1,000 ticket-holder names on the video wall at any one time and we want these names to really stand out," says another member of Dill's team, Bob Barnett, project manager of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment. The video wall's slim mullions are important as well, he says, because they create the image of one seamless pane of glass. Spaces between display panels are only 7.3 millimeters. "The combination of features allows us to accentuate the content, especially game footage and other high definition imagery," Barnett says. "Any ticket holder who walks up to the Rip City United headquarters and sees this video wall knows we value our loyal fans' support."

The Planar video walls have a reputation of proven performance, dependability and easy serviceability in high traffic public spaces. David Thibeau, president of MTek Kiosk, advocated for Clarity Matrix because of its EasyAxis™ Mounting System. This is a unique sixway mounting and alignment system that, among other things, provides convenient front and rear access. "When you have an arena of this size to take care of, you don't have time to deal with video walls that are hard to maintain. They would not have put a video wall into the Rip City United area if it didn't have the EasyAxis feature. From an installation, operation and serviceability perspective, it makes that much of a difference."

Working with Planar also made a difference, according to Dill: "We knew that Planar made a quality product that we could depend on. It was an added bonus to be able to work with a local company that we knew would be here to help us whenever we needed them, and they have been. It's a great partnership."