How Clearglow Sport Is Transforming The Stadium Display Market
Back in February 2020 this publication reported the news that Clearglow Sport had launched with big ambitions to transform the stadium LED display market. Just a month later, the world came to a complete standstill. One might assume that would put a dampener on those ambitions, however, it seems any such concerns couldn’t be further from the truth.
2021 has been a hugely successful year for Clearglow Sport, having installed their first stadium-wide digital LED projects, whilst also strengthening their operational, marketing and technical teams.
It should be noted, however, whilst the company itself is relatively new to the market, the team behind the business is anything but. The executive board is packed with industry alumni who, between them, have nearly three decades of experience delivering some of the industry’s most complex stadium LED projects.
Co-founders Andy Clague and Kristian Ball welcomed Daniel Gray to their senior management team at the start of the year, with the trio all sharing a common heritage, having previously worked at ADI. It is that perspective that appears to have been the catalyst for the company’s inception, with the team believing there was an alternative to the status quo.
So just how far has Clearglow Sport come since announcing its ambition to ‘transform the stadium LED market’ back in 2020?
Co-founder, Kristian Ball, offers some insight: “The reason we formed Clearglow Sport is simple. The way LED technology was sold to the stadium sector hadn’t changed since the first stadium screens were installed in the 90s. 20 years on, there were still just a handful of suppliers, all offering technology of varying quality and at similar prices. Prices, we felt, were higher than justified.
“Our ambition is to make it simple for clubs by offering the very best technology at the most competitive price. We want to do that whilst also offering expert, end to end, project delivery; something we can do thanks to the vast experience of Andy Clague and his team, who have delivered countless stadium LED projects over the past decade.”
The concept of a business offering ‘the best solution at the best price’ is not, perhaps, a revolutionary idea. However, as we delve a little deeper, we start to understand just how Clearglow Sport aims to make that promise a reality.
World Class Solution
The company has formed a strategic partnership with leading LED manufacturer, Unilumin, who have joined forces to offer world-class technology alongside Clearglow Sport’s expert project delivery, powerful content platform, and lifetime support.
If you’ve never undertaken an LED procurement process, you could be forgiven for not immediately recognising the Unilumin name. However, the company is highly regarded among industry circles; often referred to as the ‘Ferrari of the LED world’. That’s a claim substantiated by the facts, as the 2020 Omdia LED Video Displays Market report credits Unilumin with having the largest global LED market share of any manufacturer.
Delving deeper, we discover that Unilumin’s LED display technology is trusted by some of the biggest names in European football, with the company providing stadium screens or perimeter LED for teams such as Bayern Munich, Ajax, Benfica, Feyenoord and a host of FIFA World Cup venues.
Closer to home, Unilumin’s technology hit the headlines at the start of the 2021/22 season, after an agreement was announced with Manchester City to install a high impact double-row perimeter system for the seven-time Premier League winners.
A Premier League Solution Affordable for All
The innovative system enables the club to deliver super-sized pitchside LED content, delivering commercial messages across two parallel displays, giving the appearance of content that is double the height of standard advertising boards.
Stephan Cieplik, Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships at City Football Group commented at the time: “Unilumin’s world-leading technology puts them at the forefront of their industry and we have been impressed with both their drive to constantly innovate and quality of their solutions.”
It is that quality which Clearglow Sport aims to take to an even broader spectrum of clubs; an ambition which has already become a reality.
Ahead of the current season, Clearglow Sport undertook an ambitious project to deliver a stadium-wide digital LED installation for League One club, Wycombe Wanderers. Navigating the challenges caused by Covid, Brexit, and global shipping delays, Clearglow Sport pulled out all the stops to ensure the new 900mm high perimeter display and 42sq.m stadium screen were ready to welcome Premier League side, Leicester City, to Adams Park in July.
Explaining the project, Clearglow Sport’s Andy Clague commented: “Of all the projects I have delivered, this ranks as one of the most rewarding. Not because it is the biggest or most challenging, but because it means the gap between clubs at the top, and those in lower leagues, is narrowing – at least in technology terms.
“In the same season as Manchester City installed Unilumin’s industry leading perimeter LED, we were able to provide the same powerful technology in for Wycombe in League One. It proves that clubs don’t have to compromise on quality when seeking an affordable solution. Assuming they choose the right provider.”
Indeed, that gap does appear to be narrowing as, at the time of writing, the two clubs are separated by 47 league places. Yet both have chosen the same perimeter technology, which is something that perhaps wouldn’t have been feasible without Clearglow Sport’s ambition to disrupt the market.
As Clearglow Sport’s newest board member, Daniel Gray, adds: “Greater competition can only be a positive move for our industry and the clubs we serve. Whereas previously, clubs might have to compromise on either the quality of the technology or the specification of the solution, times are changing. Wycombe Wanderers is a prime example. Here we have delivered a Premier League quality solution at an affordable cost in League One. This isn’t a one-off. We want to empower clubs of all sizes to have world beating technology, powerful content tools, and expert installation to help them drive engagement and create commercial value.”
Helping Clubs Maximise Value
Clearly happy with the result, Wycombe Wanderers Head of Operations, Neil Peters, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted with the screen and perimeter system. We feel, without doubt, we chose the right company to work with. The installation of the displays here was not an easy process and one we couldn’t have done without Andy and the team. Clearglow Sport is a great company to work with, they offer great advice, provide a great service and a fantastic system.”
Emphasising Clearglow Sport’s ethos, to do things differently, Kristian concludes: “LED technology has been a part of the backdrop in football for nearly 25 years, yet it is still regarded as something of a ‘dark art’ in some quarters. There is often confusion among buyers as to exactly what they need; not through any fault of their own, but because suppliers sometimes make the process more difficult than it should be.
“We take a different approach. We educate our customers and empower them to take control of their own solution. That means providing the software and commercial tools, as well as the right support, to help clubs maximise the value from their investment.”
To learn more about Clearglow Sport’s stadium display solutions visit www.clearglowsport.co.uk