United Center Arena, home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and NHL’s Blackhawks, underwent a revamp during the summer months of 2016. One of only a handful of arenas to feature a permanently installed sports projection system, the United Center is fully equipped to project stunning imagery onto both the ice rink and the basketball court. Veteran creative designer for both Bulls and Blackhawks in-game shows, Quince Imaging was again selected to offer a robust solution, extending projection capabilities far beyond that of the existing system.
Quince Imaging has led the charge in creating custom-designed projection solutions in arenas across the U.S. for teams including the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards, as well as the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the Calgary Flames. Well-established as the industry leader in sports projection and experiential design, Quince Imaging welcomed the opportunity to elevate the performance of the dual-sport projection system for one of the busiest arenas in the country.
The challenge for the team at Quince Imaging was two-fold: redesigning the system with enhanced image brightness and sharpness; and creating a tailor-made solution to simplify the lifetime serviceability of the projectors while simultaneously cutting maintenance costs. In order to propose a custom solution, Quince engineers conducted a thorough assessment of the United Center rink and court. Special attention was given to arena structural design, position of existing projectors and a survey of the lumen magnitude in each projector. After thorough evaluation, the strategy was to upgrade the existing eight 26,000 lumens projectors to 30,000 lumens and increase output to a total of 12 projectors to maximize brightness. In order to streamline upkeep of the state-of-the-art projectors, the Quince team introduced a custom winch system. The first of its kind, the system was designed to provide an automated, turnkey solution that would allow an unprecedented level of serviceability. The winch system, engineered to minimize down time in between events, seamlessly hoists and lowers all 12 projectors at the flip of a switch, saving thousands per year in labor fees.
The first arena to install a winch system, the United Center has set a new precedent in the growing domain of sports arena projection technology. The redesign of United Center’s dual-sport projection system, that took place just one year after the original installation, was met with accolades by fans and staff on both the court and rink. “The project was actually quite simple,” remarked Senior Creative Services Engineer, Eric Gazzillo, “Without starting from scratch, we were able to deliver a solution [that] both the Bulls and Blackhawks were more satisfied with and already owned.”