The Heat unveiled its MiamiMediaMesh LED marquee Wednesday night with great fanfare. The 3,400-square foot stainless steel mesh screen covers a dozen window panels on AmericanAirlines Arena’s west façade – so it’s hard to miss.
I described it in today’s story as being like a curtain, but it’s really more like a screen since it’s attached to the arena. (See photos by the Heat's Omar Vega). But at just ¾ inch thick and 70 percent transparent, it doesn’t block your view from inside the arena, and you almost don’t know it’s there, if it’s not turned on.
When it is on – arena officials plan a 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. schedule – it’s the size of 320 50-inch plasma TVs blasting game and concert footage, sponsor advertising messages and even the public’s Twitter and email messages. Send Tweets to @MiamiMediaMesh or emails to MiamiMediaMesh@heat.com for possible display.
“One of the things we’ve never had here is a true marquee and almost as soon as we opened we started talking about how we might really get one,” Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth said. “We’ve been through many versions of what we thought might work or what’s been done elsewhere. Because of some of the limitations of our site, because we’ve got a rounded building, we wanted to do it right.”
A couple of Heat employees saw the technology at a trade show about three years ago. The Heat’s marquee is the first use of the technology developed by a German company and installed and operated by Boston-based A2aMEDIA on a sports arena in the United States. A2aMEDIA is talking with other sports venues, as well as hotels, office buildings, retail centers, casinos and other large-scale buildings that are seen by lots of people.
The Heat’s arena, for example, gets 1.4 million visitors at its events each year, 65,000 cars traveling by each day on Biscayne Boulevard and more than 3.8 million cruise passengers passing through the nearby Port of Miami.
Although the Heat isn’t saying how much the marquee cost, it does expect to cover its expenses from the advertising dollars. Already, American Airlines, Bacardi, the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming and Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler are among several advertisers already signed up to place their messages on the marquee.
Martha Pantin, an American Airlines spokeswoman, said the airline plans to put up shortened commercials and other messages.
“We think it gives us great visibility,” Pantin said. “For us AmericanAirlines Arena is one of our crown jewels and this makes the crown a little bit sparklier.”