Designing A Sports Announcer's Booth

Gee, designing a Sports Announcer’s Booth – kind of a fun project. What do I know?

Well, a Press Box or Sports Announcer’s Booth really gets used 5 to maybe 15 times a year, depending on the sport. The rest of the year – well, it gets no attention, no heat, no cooling, really no TLC at all. Yet, it is exposed to the rain, snow, sun, humidity, the silent wear and tear of the weather, and of course, curious students after hours who could be curious, or vandals desiring to start a fire. Yet, I know no school has money to maintain anything.

My first conclusions – This structure must be low maintenance and able to “take care of itself”. And, it better be fireproof if only to keep the insurance rates down and most likely needs to be ADA compliant. And, with the current building codes, the day when the local Kiwanis Club can build a Press Box – well maybe, sadly, those days are done.

So, what do the teams need? Despite the lack of use each year these darned buildings get cold and get hot, and often have their windows open so everyone feels like they are part of the game. So, depending on location they need heat and A/C. Now, these two teams are competitors and the coaches depend on comments from observers from the Press Box. So, we need a space for the home team with a dividing wall for the away team and because these sections can be noisy, we may well need a space between each for the press to have a bit of peace so they can do their work.

And, what about a camera deck? Many, many teams rely on a camera deck to video the game to assess what the team does well and what it needs work on. The typical camera deck is mounted on top of the Press Box with a “ship’s ladder” access from the inside of the main Press Box. This camera deck will have a perimeter handrail system as well as a mesh or “fence” material which meets the 4” sphere criteria.

And, what else should I think of? Well, the easy stuff is: scorer’s table – which is usually full length, electric chase for PA system, TV, radio, and computers. And, how does one enter the facility – slide doors, hinged doors, access mezzanine with hand rails usually the width of the building by 6’ to 8’ long. A low maintenance Aluminum tread plate floor because floor tiles pop up in the cold weather.

Gosh, what else. As Press Boxes and Sports Announcer Booths climb the quality ladder, one wants to think seriously about several ideas: 1) 18” elevated rear platform for the Big Cheese to sit and observe the game. These areas will often have plush swivel chairs elevated and behind the scorers; 2) wet bar and/or bathroom, an easy add-on that completes the civility of the facility; 3) normal Press Box glazing is safety glass. But, safety glass has glare problems. The “real” Press Box has non-glare glass. It is expensive but you can really see everything, no matter where the sun is. Going further, the Press Box can be a double-decker with a spiral stair case or a Press Box on top with a Concession / Ticket Stand below.

But, done well, the Press Box will function as desired. We need to focus on fireproofing and low maintenance. A metal, steel or aluminum building will not warp, can deal better with temperature changes and moisture, will not burn, and comes with a 20-year warranted exterior finish.