Dayton Flyers Athletic Director Neil Sullivan saw projection mapping live for the first time at the Final Four a couple years ago and new right away he wanted it for the 2019 home opener.
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It’s become a popular way of entertaining fans before games. Projectors on the ceiling display visuals across entire courts or playing fields. Purdue celebrated the 50th anniversary of Mackey Arena two years ago with a similar show.
Sullivan sent a text message to UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt and Robbie Poteat, a senior associate athletics director, and said, “We’ve got to make this happen.”
On Saturday, it did happen. A sellout crowd, on hand to see the first regular-season game at UD Arena after a three-year, $76.2 million renovation project, witnessed the most unique pregame hype video in school history because it took place not on the scoreboard but on the court.
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The video showed photos from the construction of UD Arena in 1969, video of the current players and the names of the starters in large block letters.
“We wanted a high-impact delivery on that first game to create a memorable experience,” Sullivan said. “It’s kind of our version of fireworks night, so to speak.”
A Canadian company, Dangers Inc., installed the projection system on the UD Arena ceiling on Thursday and Friday and tested it late Friday and on Saturday morning. The system came down after the game.
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UD rented the system from Dangers Inc., just as the Denver Nuggets did earlier this fall. The San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lightning are among the recent NHL teams to hire the company.
“Right now, it’s just a one-time deal,” Sullivan said. “Just looking at the totality of that entire system and the cost of that whole model, right now it’s just a one-time hit for a special night.”
Recruits visit: Two of Dayton’s three 2020 recruits sat next to each other behind the Dayton bench on Saturday: Lukas Frazier, who committed to Dayton in June, and Koby Brea, who committed in October. Wednesday is National Signing Day.
Looking ahead: Dayton plays Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena. The Buccaneers (1-1) beat Columbia International, a NAIA program, 99-71 in their opener and lost 63-49 on Friday at North Carolina A&T, a program ranked 329th in the Ken Pomeroy ratings.
Then on Nov. 19 in its last game before the Maui Invitational, Dayton plays Nebraska Omaha (2-1) at UD Arena. Omaha lost 68-54 at Wichita State in its opener and then beat Midland University, a NAIA program, 72-53 and Bethune Cookman 90-61.
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