The proliferation of affordable home TV sets in the 1960s dealt a huge blow to sports stadium attendance numbers. In 1968, two professors from South Dakota State University were in the right position with strengths in innovation and engineering to help reverse the trend and founded Daktronics.
Today, Daktronics is one of the world’s most well-recognized names in the design, manufacture and installation of digital LED signage, and connected scoring, timing and audio systems. The company has long led the field in the integration of multiple complex displays showing real-time information, graphics, animation and video.
Celebrating its semi-centenary this year, Daktronics has installed more than 20,000 individual video-capable displays in more than 80 countries across the planet. These displays inform and entertain people in a variety of settings, including sports venues, transportation hubs and business areas.
There is a good chance that you yourself come across Daktronics displays every day – from the local high school scoreboard to video systems in major league stadiums, and roadside LED signs to iconic digital signage around the world like Times Square and Piccadilly Circus – no competitor comes close to the Daktronics breadth of digital display experience.
Fostering Fan Engagement
In the sporting arena, Daktronics builds an immersive game-day experience by focusing on fan engagement through game information, social media, fantasy leagues and statistical content.
Daktronics works in close consultation with its clients, which are usually teams and venues, to ensure that every display is installed at the optimal location for maximum visibility so no fan misses even a moment of the live action.
This is not simply a technological consideration; greater fan engagement and interaction is crucial for creating a home field advantage for the players through noise and that support can energize the home team and even throw off the opposing team.
Standing out from the Competition
Daktronics is not your standard display manufacturer. It has embraced several trailblazing business and development strategies that make it stand out from the crowd. Among these is a completely in-house design and manufacture process for all its LED displays from component level to final assembly.
This gives Daktronics higher quality control than any other company in the market and ensures its products are superior and will stand the test of time.
The company works closely with its customers to develop its products around their needs. Its latest innovation is to adopt a design-build approach to displays where every unit is customized to fit within the stadium’s architecture. Daktronics project management teams ensure smooth on-site installation by coordinating processes with other companies that might be on site at the same time.
Daktronics knows that you cannot simply plug in a display and walk away. With a streamlined service and support infrastructure around the world, the organization is able to ensure that its displays are always operating at their optimal performance levels. In this way, every Daktronics client knows that their investment and their overall system goals are aligned for success.
From Professors to Leaders
Daktronics was created in 1968 by two professors of electrical engineering at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Dr. Aelred Kurtenbach and Dr. Duane Sander co- founded the company with the goal of creating jobs for recent graduates to stay within the state.
A local wrestling coach mentioned the need for a new scoreboard and Daktronics engineers worked closely with him to deliver a revolutionary scoring system, the Matside®.
Since then, the organization has continued to do this every year with its sports customers, taking their dreams and making them a reality, a vision most recently highlighted by the Halo display at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Helping Venues to Create an Unmatchable Atmosphere
The industry is constantly adding video display technology to stadiums and arenas to improve the fan experience and to bring people to stadiums, a never-ending battle with the at-home experience. Venues are trying to create an atmosphere that home systems cannot duplicate to entice fans to venture to the venue and experience a complete entertainment destination.
Daktronics also produces video products and control systems that integrate to form a coherent whole. This allows venues to give their fans that one-of-a-kind experience.
As part of those entertainment goals, Daktronics custom designs leave a massive impact on fans at facilities around the world. Fans are today much more interested in data and real-time statistics, and Daktronics works with venues to bring that information to them in interesting and engaging ways.
When the Going Gets Tough…
Daktronics started its journey with the design and manufacture of electronic voting systems for state legislature before breaking into the sports market in 1971 with the Matside® wrestling scoreboard. The company received its big break when it was awarded the contract for the 1980 Olympic Games.
Last year, Daktronics invested 4% of its total income, approximately $23 million, into research and development. The organization works incessantly to innovate and evolve with the industry to bring the latest and greatest technology to its customers.
In the near future, Daktronics is planning to build never-seen-before LED display systems to create cutting-edge of audiovisual experiences for the live event entertainment industry.