D. Craig Maccormack 2016-10-15 04:07:28
ANC GETS THE BALL ROLLING BEYOND SPORTS Last year’s acquisition by Learfield opens the 20-year-old sports-themed integrator to opportunities in other markets. WE’VE BEEN writing about ANC since before Commercial Integrator officially existed as a print entity, with editor Tom LeBlanc posting a story about the new video boards at Boston’s Fenway Park in December 2010, a month before CI’s first issue hit the stands. We took a closer look at the secrets of ANC’s success in our second issue, with president and CEO Jerry Cifarelli prominently featured on the cover of the March/ April 2011 issue spinning a basketball on his finger to highlight the company’s focus on bringing digital signage and eye-popping video boards to pro sports teams around the country. Now, as the Harrison, N.Y.-headquartered company nears its 20th anniversary in February, “We’re in a unique place,” says Cifarelli. Name Change Part of Game Change Learfield bought ANC in March 2015, helping the company expand its base outside professional sports into college sports and expanding its offerings from giant video boards in arenas to digital signage and way finding solutions on college campuses and much more. “They recognized the growth potential and they’re now putting the resources behind the opportunities that are helping us grow,” says Cifarelli. “They see great opportunities for the model we’ve created. We’re well beyond designing scoreboards and focusing on the inner bowl of a stadium.” ANC is introducing floor mapping options and tying that to ribbon displays in the arenas. “Game production is endless,” says Cifarelli. “It’s technology in a magic box.” To expand its horizons, ANC dropped the “Sports” from its name when someone advised Cifarelli that having that word in the firm’s name was likely keeping them from landing projects in other verticals. It was a tough but necessary decision, and the name change wasn’t so radical that longtime customers in the sports world wondered whether ANC would still meet their needs. As the price of LEDs got cheaper, “it broadened the opportunity of who could buy displays.” ANC’s first major foray into the non-sports world was at the Fulton Center, the largest digital media network in a single New York City transit hub, a project that won the company an Apex gold award at the 2016 Digital Signage Expo. “That launched us into a number of opportunities,” says Cifarelli. ANC prides itself on offering what Cifarelli calls “the only true turnkey solution” in the industry. ANC builds some of its own equipment, installs its VSOFT operating system and offers content scheduling and maintenance packages to all its customers, he says. More Sports Arena Opportunities Abound Too As many longtime sports clients enjoy their ANC-installed video boards, Cifarelli says the company is finding more opportunities in those arenas with digital signage throughout the concourses, which bring live, interactive feeds to fans who have to grab some food or make a pit stop as the action continues. He also sees opportunities for IPTV, floor mapping, ribbon boards as well as more potential with the video boards and in concourses. “The focus isn’t so much about the hardware, but about getting the content to the displays and keeping it going,” says Cifarelli. ANC has 15 full-time designers producing content and building relationships through social media. “We’re beyond what I’d expected we’d be,” says Cifarelli, with a sense of both pride and surprise. “Doing those massive projects helped us, but we haven’t even scratched the surface in retail. We were in the right place at the right time [on arena scoreboards].” Cifarelli points to garages and building lobbies as areas ripe for technology overhauls. He expects for ANC to expand its offering to such a great degree that sports-related projects drop from about 85 percent of the business to closer to 50 percent in three to five years. “We’re a technology company that installs displays,” says Cifarelli, noting ANC has typically worked with Mitsubishi throughout its history. “We can design and install anything. It’s about delivering a solution.”
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