The Miami Heat is a young team on the rise in the NBA with a loyal fan base that sells out most of their games at AmericanAirlines Arena, so fan engagement is strong.
But team officials noticed a long-standing problem and needed a solution: they were blessed with 30,000 square feet of usable space outside AmericanAirlines Arena but weather in south Florida ranges from too hot to too wet, thanks to the “daily dump of rain,” as Heat EVP and chief revenue officer John Vidalin describes it.
Vidalin became renowned for several projects he oversaw at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, perhaps most prominent a solar array at the facility. The Heat hired him to solve their problem and he came up with a doozy of a solution: the solar canopy-covered Xfinity East Plaza, which now is hopping from well before Heat games and concerts at AAA to well after they end. And that’s just the way Vidalin envisioned it.
The plaza includes custom-built NanoLumens cylindrical displays that wrap around the columns to ramp up the energy before, during and after events even more. The plaza has gone from a smoking deck to one of the most popular spots at the arena since it opened in 2016, says Vidalin. Arena owners also rent it out for group events and private parties.
“We made it an extension of the concourses,” says Vidalin, who will be joined by NanoLumens CEO Rick Cope at InfoComm 2017 Center Stage on Friday, June 16 at 1:30 p.m. for a session called “Fan Engagement in the Digital Age.”