Lights Up The Fan Experience at PNC Arena

Cree LED’s high brightness LEDS are integral to the production of large-scale LED screens. They provide a sharper, brighter and clearer image.


Each year, PNC Arena welcomes more than 1.5 million guests and plays host to 150+ major events – from concert tours to sporting events. PNC Arena, which opened its doors in 1999, is home to the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes and NC State Men’s Basketball.

And while the arena continues to host exciting new events and performances, the previous video board, its second since the arena opened, needed an upgrade.

PNC Video Board

“Technology changes so quickly and while our previous center-hung video board seemed giant when it was originally installed, it had become one of the smaller ones as other arenas upgraded their technology,” explains Jeff Merritt, executive director of The Centennial Authority, which owns PNC Arena. “The reality is we’re competing against people’s high definition home-theater systems. We want to be a top-of-the-line facility that provides our guests with a great fan experience that they can’t get at home.”

PNC Arena was looking for the highest-quality center-hung display to draw in the crowds – and keep them engaged.

The Centennial Authority contracted leading digital display manufacturer Daktronics to install a 4,000-square-foot center-hung LED display system by fall 2019 to enhance the fan experience for all special events held at the arena. And Cree LED, the leader in LED technology and a long-time partner with the Carolina Hurricanes, is a part of the solution.


Over the past several years, Cree LED and Daktronics have found various opportunities to partner together to ensure clients, like PNC Arena, received the best quality video boards. When Daktronics won the bid to work on the new PNC Arena display, Cree LED put together a proposal for Daktronics to ensure they could use the highest quality LEDs on the market in its new video board.

“Cree has a great reputation in the industry, and right now they are one of our preferred suppliers of LED products. With 11.8 million LEDs in that PNC center-hung display, you need a good partnership with your LED supplier to ensure there’s a consistent bin sort,” explains Jay Parker, Daktronics’s vice president of live events and spectaculars.

"This pnc arena project helps create a better atmosphere to give fans a larger-thanlife experience."

- Jay Parker, Daktronic V.P

“There were price constraints in place that could have easily thwarted the use of Cree LEDs in this project, but Cree worked collaboratively with Daktronics to identify a solution that would result in the use of our high-quality LEDs while staying within budget,” explains Gavin Lee, High Brightness general manager, Cree LED.

“Our experts can do some special things such as customizing color wavelengths, perform special binning, or provide various specialty processes that might be required for a specific installation,” Lee continues. “We do whatever is required to ensure an opportunity to partner with strategic customers like Daktronics.”

According to Lee, PNC Arena’s previous video board display was smaller and harder to read and view. “The pixel pitch was wide, making it difficult to display high-definition images. Daktronics knew they needed a tighter pitch, a wider and brighter screen, and improved contrast ratio to achieve the result of a more eye-catching display. Cree LED technology enables a higher-definition, bolder and brighter display,” Lee says.

PNC Video Board

The two companies worked together to create a state-ofthe-art center-hung display, nearly three times larger than the previous system, that will have fans cheering. The center-hung display will add to the already-installed 5,250 square feet of digital displays in the arena.

The new video board is just the latest in the Cree Hurricanes partnership. Cree and the Hurricanes entered into a long-term sponsorship last year and partner to deliver exciting STEM educational opportunities to area students. Additionally, Cree LEDs are used in the ribbon boards throughout the arena and for the all-important on ice lighting.

“In today’s world of large broadcast contracts, facilities want to make sure they can get fans off the couch and into the arena to watch in person,” Parker says. “This PNC Arena project helps create a better atmosphere to give fans a larger-than-life experience.”


Cree LED’s high brightness LEDS are integral to the production of large-scale LED screens. They provide a sharper, brighter and clearer image. Newer technologies are also lighter – an added advantage to arenas like PNC Arena that need to save roof weight for touring concerts that often require strain on the facility infrastructure.

“We want a world-class, top-of-the-line facility and that means having the best technology,” says Merritt. “PNC Arena recently put in a new theatrical lighting system, 3-D projection and now this new video board. All combined, this allows PNC Arena to put on an amazing game night experience.”