New Vision for LED Displays at Sports/ Esports Venues in 2023, A Big Year for Sporting Events




New Vision for LED Displays at Sports/ Esports Venues in 2023, A Big Year for Sporting Events

This is an extract translation of an article published by the Hangjianet on December 12, 2023.
Visit for the original article.

2023 League of Legends World Championship (a.k.a. S13) official ended last month. Esports once again ignited the audience’s passion after the Asian Games. We can clearly see the rapid changes in venues and equipment during the last decade or so. 

As a major sports category, esports have seen significant progress in commercialization as one of the games that rely heavily on LED displays. Many sporting events – including the esports variant – were held in 2023, driving the developments and upgrades of venues, including huge LED displays.

For this article, Hangjianet Display interviewed Leyard, Unilumin, Absen, Lopu, Cailiang, BOE, Macroblock and Colorlight among other display and display controller makers to gain insights into the state of sporting events.

​Increasing events drive venue development
There were lots of sporting events such as the Asian Games, the FISU World University Games and the World Cup in 2023. Leyard, Unilumin, Lopu and Absen supported the Asian Games.

◪ Hangjianet Display: Do sports venues change as events increase?
As technology continues to evolve, venues are getting smarter. By integrating 5G, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI), we create the working brain of smart venues and the future of smart venues. LED display is a carrier that combines display, control and operations.
Lopu: The top 10 sports venues in China are being built or renovated, which include updating facility, introducing technology and improving service quality among others for major international and domestic events.
Cailiang: More sporting events means more audience and more athletes, which put higher demand on the venues. Moreover, building and upgrading sports venues is necessary for developing cities. The evolution is about going smart, digital and sustainable.
BOE: Major sporting events have certain requirements on sports facilities, which may lead to the building or upgrade of sports venues to meet international gaming needs and make them more competitive and attractive.

Hangjianet Display found esports have driven venue development in recent years as many LED display manufacturers help esports competition.

LPL rules specify a team must have a home court, which drives the development of Beijing Smart Esports Event Center, Shanghai International NCC&E-Sports Center, Hangzhou E-sports Center, Suzhou Yangcheng International Esports Center and Wuhan Optical Valley International New Cultural Esports Center.

◪ Hangjianet Display: Do esports games drive venue construction?
Esports have lots of young fans. That’s a lot of energy. In addition, esports games are different from those of traditional sports while its fans are more diverse and demanding about the viewing experience. This will force the LED display industry to step up technology and product innovations, i.e. new demand creating new technologies and new products.
Unilumin: Domestically speaking, emerging policies including the Construction Standard for Electronic Sports Venues have specifically demand that C+ class esports venues must be equipped with LED displays as “there should be at least one primary display and preferably multiple secondary displays to ensure audience at all angles can watch it comfortably under normal circumstances.” This is the solid foundation for LED displays in the esports market.
Absen:As far as esports are concerned, recent changes include increasing demand for a combination of multiple Ultra HD displays. Big LED displays are customized and integrated into modern venues to attract more audience.
Colorlight: Traditional sporting events have demonstrated the recognition and need for esports. Moreover, esports are more adaptive to emerging technologies such as the integration of 5G, AI, VR and AR. This will also drive the fast development of sports venues equipped with high-end LED displays.
Conclusion: Increasing games is an important driver for venue construction and upgrades. On one hand, there is the continuing demand from audience and athletes. On the other hand, games have the internal drive for venues.

The development of esports also drives venue upgrades. In addition to the games themselves, esports’ demand for Ultra HD and new technologies further fuels LED display innovations. We saw XR elements added to LOL 2021 finals and Honor of Kings (HOK) summer finals 2022, which in turn motivate LED display upgrades.

Sports venue LED display requirements
The demand for LED displays is rising with the need for smart projects. LED displays have multiple roles at sporting events as they show the live game, play advertisements and interact with the audience. The applications include funnel-shaped display, center hanging display, score display, fence display and stage display.  

◪ Hangjianet Display: What requirements do sports venue projects have on LED displays?

Leyard: Traditional sports venues have the following four types of displays, each with its own requirements:
Absen: A complete LED display control system solution has to include LED displays and supporting systems as well as hardware and software to meet present and future gaming information and smart venue requirements. Esports venues and traditional sports venues have very similar LED display technical requirements. Common cathode and energy-saving technologies have become the leading considerations for sports venue LED displays.
Cailiang: Traditional sports venues generally require good clarity, colors, brightness, contrast, refresh rate and responsiveness in addition to safe and reliable performance such as water, dust and static proof to ensure smooth gaming. Overseas sports venues put more emphasis on audience experience so they need LED displays with good clarity, brightness and interaction. In comparison, domestic venues value cost performance, compatibility and stability.
Colorlight: Traditional sports venues often have strong ambient light interference. To show fast-moving images, they need to increase brightness and refresh rate. Sports venues are also big places so that the LED displays have to be robust and reliable. 

◪ Hangjianet Display: Does esports development create updated requirements?
Esports audience see players’ excellent performance via displays. Given the capacity of the venue and display performance, there will definitely be more displays of bigger sizes in the arena. In addition, common-cathode LED solution and dynamic power savings for ICs will reduce display power consumption. Power-saving power supply technology may work in concert with renewable energy technology.
BOE: In an esports venue, the event requires high refresh rate, low latency and multiple displays. It’s mostly due to the need to display lots of dynamic images and videos along with game data and images to meet the audience’s need for game data and information.
Unilumin: Esports have rich images as the images and player actions have to be in sync. The games are often longer too. Therefore, LED displays need to have wider color gamut, good color reproduction, low latency and high reliability to ensure continuing operation without fault.

As direct-view LED and micro LED technologies continue to evolve, the arrival of MIP/COB circuit, Chip COB+ dynamic primitives, and new AM driver IC technologies are expected to solve real esports company pain points including efficiency and operating cost.
Leyard: Esports momentum will drive the development of domestic sports venues and LED display demand. Furthermore, as “5G+8K” and other technologies mature and the cost of micro LED goes down, esports display demand may be expanded from big displays for audience to players’ training displays and home gaming devices for esports fans based on high-performance MLED displays. It shows that the industry will be transformed from a pure TO B to a compound TO B+TO C model and create new growth opportunity.
Conclusion: The demand for high-definition, energy-efficiency common-cathode solutions with high refresh rate and low latency in arenas is evident. Interactive contents will be incorporated for certain scenarios too. 

Given the characteristics of LED displays for sports/esports applications, Macroblock offers MBI5762 LED driver IC based on the common-cathode architecture. Supplying constant 0.5–10mA constant current per LED channel with 16-bit SPWM technology in an industrial standard 7mm x 7mm QFN package, the driver IC meets the requirements of LED boards with small 0.9mm-4mm pitch.

Sports/esports arenas often need to show live gaming via cameras. In addition, esports often use oversized LED displays that highlight the quality of the displays. MBI5762 features Low-gray Refresh and Adaptive Refresh so that the LED display looks crystal clear through the camera.  Moreover, common-cathode LED architecture and Dynamic Power-saving effectively reduce display thermal and power consumption issues to meet commercial venues' ESG quest.

  Crystal clear games

  • 16-bit/ 7,680Hz refresh rate for high brightness, high contrast performance.

  Boost gaming experience
  and immersion

  • Recognized by world-class movie studios.
  • Create background for esports players and MCs in high virtual production standards.  

  Superior streaming results

  • Low-gray Refresh and Adaptive Refresh.
  • Support live streaming and slow motion replay.
  • Prevent gradient dim line, flicker and other phenomena for true-to-life visual effects.

  Energy savings & ESG trend

  • Common-cathode LED driver architecture and dynamic power savings mode lower LED display power consumption and temperature.
  • Furthermore meet the ESG trend.

Future LED display development: Commercialization of sports.

Sporting events create demand, which has to do with the sports’ display requirements, upgrade and maintenance on one hand, and on the other hand the ancillary demand from sports/esports. These factors basically rely on commercialization.  

The commercialization of esports is especially evident in recent years. The industry began to see more investors since WE won the LPL finals in 2012. As the LPL reform was launched in 2017, cross-industrial capitals like JD and Li-Ning continued the influx.

Massive commercial capital influx is quite common in sports abroad. For example, oil capital in football as well as carmakers and beverage companies in F1. While commercialization is relatively matured abroad, there is room for improvement for local sports venues. 

◪ Hangjianet Display: Are there any differences in LED display demand between domestic and international sports events? Absen: 
Generally speaking, you need to get technical certification from sports governing bodies abroad, e.g. FIFA has technical standards for World Cup venue displays; UEFA Europa League with football; and LED display technical standards for basketball games.    

In terms of esports, domestic LED displays have to get certifications from pertinent agencies too. Requirements will be more specific abroad as we need to meet certification requirements from pertinent sports governing bodies.
Lopu: Sporting events abroad have tremendous intangible assets and commercial media value. On one hand, as sponsors and advertisers emphasize game marketing, many sports venues choose LED displays to boost ad revenue. On the other hand, in an effort to increase ticket sales and the interaction and commercial value of sporting events, innovations combining LED displays and the latest tech such as AI and AR/VR provide a more immersive gaming experience.
BOE: Overseas sporting events put more emphasis on commercial operations that attract additional sponsors and ad partners. LED displays play an important role in this aspect, hence the bigger demand.
Colorlight: Since overseas sporting venues may attach more importance to audience experience and commercial value, the requirements for LED displays may be more diverse and specialized, including better picture quality, more diverse video processing and more flexible content presentation.

◪ Hangjianet Display: How do you see the development of LED displays in domestic sports and esports?
There are definite differences in types, stages of developmental and schedule between international and domestic sporting events. This has to do with the objective environment but there are no conflicts. Custom display products and supporting solutions will better serve global events.
Lopu: In terms of numbers, overseas sports venues need more LED displays than their domestic counterparts. However, it doesn’t mean there is no domestic demand. It’s just that it’s relatively less or concentrated on specific sports venues or applications. China will definitely become a major market for esports development while demand for custom LED displays will skyrocket.
Cailiang: The demand for LED displays is growing with the continuing development of domestic sports industry. Moreover, China is a major LED display maker with growing demand for LED displays, meaning the demand gap is closing rapidly.
BOE: Due to the development of domestic sports industry and the pursuit of gaming experience on the part of the audience, the domestic LED display market is expanding.
Conclusion: Big LED displays for sporting events still have to do with the commercialization of the game. As consumption structure changes, more game programs have stepped up commercialization, which will require an increasing number of more professional LED displays.

As gaming display is one of the sectors that is fast commercializing and relying on LED displays, the construction and upgrades are fueling demand for LED displays and driving the development of XR, AM drive and small/micro pitch technology.