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Panasonic Upgrades at Richmond Bringing Value to School Partners

Mar 20, 2014

Raising stadium energy levels. Pumping out spectacular eye-popping images. Pulling fans from their couches and big-screen HDTVs to a rollicking arena. Providing brands with must-have digital inventory.

In college sports, those are just a few of the things being accomplished by Panasonic, the world’s largest electronics company. At Richmond’s Robins Center, Panasonic’s state-of-the-art LED lighting, video boards, and LED signage capped a $17 million renovation. The upgrade is paying dividends in improving the arena atmosphere and adding value to corporate partners.

When the Robins Center’s changes – which included refurbished seats, four hospitality areas accessed by new elevators, and ring-level seating – debuted, the 7,200-seat arena promptly sold out.

In fact, the new scoreboard and other improvements played a major part in nTelos Wireless’ decision to renew its major school partnership.

“Richmond has always had a great fan following and especially for basketball,” said Mike Minnis, Director of Public Relations. “The renovations really brought a ‘wow’ factor to the fans and the new signage options are wonderful. The improvements and upgrades really allow a sponsor to stand out and fit in at the same time.”

nTelos Wireless, a leading provider of wireless communication services in Virginia and West Virginia, became a Richmond partner in 2010, gaining exposure through IMG Audio’s game and coach’s show broadcasts, in-stadium signage and activation, game day promotions, text messaging platforms, online, print, hospitality and designations as the Exclusive and Official wireless sponsors for Richmond Athletics.

“We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with nTelos, which has been a major supporter of UR programs. We’re also thrilled that another valued partner, Panasonic, has been instrumental in adding value to nTelos’ collegiate marketing program,” said Carolyn Center, General Manager of Spider IMG Sports Marketing.

“What makes Panasonic a great partner is their commitment to offering top-of-the-line, cutting-edge technology in a cost-efficient fashion,” Center said. “The new video boards and signage in particular are a real plus for both fans and sponsors like nTelos; there’s a whole new energy level. The lighting is spectacular. You could kill all the arena lights, turn on just the video boards, and it would be bright enough to play.”

Center would know. As a Richmond Scholar Athlete, she played basketball for the Spiders from 1996 – 99.  She was named to the CAA All-Rookie team in 1996 and was a First Team All-CAA and UR Women’s Basketball MVP in 1999. In her senior season, Center averaged 15.1 points per game, fifth best in the CAA. Her 8.4 rebounds per game ranked second.

Beyond Richmond, Panasonic has taken on large-scale projects at IMG properties including Arizona, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Richmond, Virginia Tech and Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb. The company specializes in delivering a turnkey solution customized for each university’s needs.

Panasonic’s recent installation at University of Arizona has also been an unqualified success. A new center-hung video board and ribbon bands debuting at McCale Center in January added immediate energy and excitement to the home of Arizona basketball for over 40 years.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the impact,” said UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne in a Google+ “hangout” at the 2014 Consumer Electronics show. “Besides improving the fan experience, this gives IMG an opportunity to create new revenue streams. All our sponsors want to be up there on the video board.” 

At the Robins Center, nTelos and First Capital are reaping those same benefits in enhancing their visibility and adding depth to their school partnerships.