Nevada Athletics Implements Visionary for Enhanced Connectivity at Mackay Stadium

Nevada’s Mackay Stadium standardizes Visionary’s PacketAV Matrix Series to improve guest experience
University of Nevada's Mackay Stadium

The University of Nevada, Reno is the state’s flagship public university. The University, which has more than 21,000 students, spans across 290 acres and 180 buildings with 13 different schools and colleges. The University is home to the Nevada Wolf Pack Athletics, an NCAA Division I men’s and women’s athletic program. The Nevada football and women’s soccer programs operate out of Mackay Stadium, an outdoor athletic arena, on the northern portion of the University’s campus.

Mackay Stadium is a top-notch athletic stadium that seats 27,000 people and sits at 4,610 feet. In September 2021, Mackay Stadium reopened to full capacity for the first time in 651 days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mackay Stadium had not hosted a home game with total capacity since Fall 2019. Nearly two years later, Mackay Stadium welcomed sports fans with new features, including state-of-the-art connectivity with a new AV distribution system.

“We had an existing RF distribution system in place. Unfortunately, due to our network provider, the existing system was no longer functioning as originally intended and it required a significant upgrade ahead of the upcoming football season,” explained Nathan Barlow, associate athletics director for Nevada Athletics. “It was important that we integrated a solution that worked seamlessly with the existing technology we had in place. We met with John [Hood] at The Farm AV, and he recommended Visionary’s technology.”

Barlow added, “The overall goal was to provide television sources for suites and in-house production. They require different sources, so we wanted to provide the ability to switch between multiple video sources. We integrated Visionary’s PacketAV Matrix Series on the backside of each display. We’re also utilizing Visionary’s PNA-D4, a four-channel Dante amplifier, to power the speakers.”

Nevada Athletics has made significant investments to improve the game-day experience at Mackay Stadium while increasing attendance for weekend sporting events and weekday corporate events. “We wanted to enhance fan experience and connectivity throughout the football stadium,” said Barlow. “We have ten cable boxes that we’re pulling a network source from. We have two endpoints in the rack near the club level and an additional two endpoints within the club level. We’re using Visionary’s endpoints to display multiple video sources on a single display on game day.”

“Visionary’s technology just works. Their solutions are user-friendly and intuitive. Forty-eight hours after the installation, we had end-users in all 57 suites. Overall, it’s been a rock-solid solution.”

~ Nathan Barlow, Nevada Athletics associate athletics director

Barlow added, “During the week, the club level is utilized as a meeting space, so we needed to provide a solution that was simple for users to connect and display. The endpoints at the club level are designed for simplified connectivity for meetings, presentations or customized digital signage. Because the club level isn’t just utilized on game day, we needed a versatile solution.

Visionary’s PacketAV Matrix Series boasts native control and audio integration options for the Q-SYS Platform. The PacketAV Matrix Series plug-in includes pre-configured components for switching, virtual matrix routing, video wall control and advanced grouping options, as well as live video previews for at-a-glance confidence monitoring.

“We utilize QSC’s Q-SYS throughout the facility,” said Barlow. “We value Visionary’s seamless integration with QSC. We have QSC processors throughout the facilities. It was incredibly important for us to use QSC as our audio DSP and control system. It eliminates the need to layer system over the system. Additionally, we installed Q-SYS touch screen controllers that provide a small preview of the video sources before adding them to the display. It allows the user to easily pull the sources from the cable boxes, preview content and seamlessly display it.”

Visionary’s PacketAV Matrix Series is designed for standard network infrastructure, which reduces installation time at Mackay Stadium. “We were racing against the clock. The entire project was only 105 days – that includes initial conception to completion,” explained Barlow. “We had a tight deadline for this project and Visionary stepped up in a big way. Tim [Murray] and Chuck [Larson] spent countless hours to make sure everything was set up correctly. At one point, they were on a 15-hour tech call to ensure we had a seamless and flawless system.”

Barlow added, “We had procured a network switch from another vendor but, due to supply chain issues, they were not able to fulfill the order. We contacted Visionary to see if they could support us to meet our deadline. They connected us with NETGEAR and provided us with switches. Visionary made sure the firmware was flashed before arriving. They overnight shipped the switches to ensure we met our deadline. Visionary went over and beyond for us to meet our installation deadline.”

“NETGEAR and Visionary have been partners for years and recognize the importance of helping our customers make their installations go as smoothly as possible,” noted John Henkel, director of SMB product marketing at NETGEAR. “Configuring a network switch can be daunting, but thanks to our partnership with Visionary, we ensure interoperability to provide a solution that just works.”

The project provided Nevada Athletics with a new level of connectivity while providing ease of use for attendees visiting the stadium. The final result was a success for all involved. “We are thrilled with the final result,” said Barlow. “Visionary’s technology just works. Their solutions are user-friendly and intuitive. Forty-eight hours after the installation, we had end-users in all 57 suites. Overall, it’s been a rock-solid solution.”

Visionary’s 4K UHD over IP PacketAV Matrix Series encoders and decoders redefine traditional switch matrix systems to create a flexible, scalable, cinema-quality solution for IP networks. The PacketAV endpoints offer ultra-low latency with unlimited distribution capabilities. Utilizing existing network resources, the encoders and decoders can be rapidly deployed to enable cost-effective distribution of multi-channel Dante/AES67 Audio and Video over IP.