When the University of Florida wanted to do something spectacular to kick
off a basketball game against their SEC rival Kentucky Wildcats, they knew
it would have to be BIG. Well, it just so happened that ON Services had
been pitching ideas to the university athletics marketing team. When they
finally got the green light from the administration, their first call was
Before the team stormed the court for the February game, the UF Athletic
Association debuted a one-of-a-kind pregame on-court projection show that
brought the crowd to their feet and left fans busily chattering about it on
The 3-D video brought animated gators to life, fire sizzled across the
court and championship banners unfurled from sideline to sideline.
The project marks one of the first applications of lifelike “organic”
animation using 3-D projection mapping technology. In fact, after
researching our idea and reaching out to several top animation providers
for guidance, we were told they’d never seen it done and it would not be
easy. Challenge accepted!
Our team worked diligently to adapt existing court projection techniques to
accommodate organic characters and bring the gators to life. After about
two months of development, and some trial and error, we finally came up
with a solution that worked.
“The collaboration between the ON Services team and the University was
vital to executing this experience without a hitch,” said Lee Torregrossa,
the lead relationship manager and Director of New Business Development at
“We knew the crowd reaction would be good, but it was better than we ever
imagined,” said Alicia Longworth, Florida’s assistant athletic director for
marketing and promotions. “It was so loud in there.”
The court projection video lasted just 65 seconds prior to player
introductions, but the energy inside the arena never dissipated in the
Gators’ punishing 88-66 win over their SEC rival.
“This is going to be the next big thing,” she said. “10 to 15 years ago,
sports arenas were just starting to use video boards. Well, 15 years from
now, everybody’s going to have these projections.”
In the week leading up to the game, several other campus and athletic
events occupied the arena, compressing the amount of time we had to install
the projectors (four primary and four backups) and prepare the final video.
It wasn’t until the day before the Kentucky game that we were able to
project the video onto the court for the first time.
Within 24 hours following the game, the client had heard from a half-dozen
of her peers at other universities. By the next day, she had taken nearly
20 calls from other collegiate marketers.
Florida’s social media team, meanwhile, flooded its social channels with
video of the court projection. Less than 48 hours after the game, the video
already had 600,000 views on Facebook and 1,500 retweets on Twitter.
“We’re all trying to provide a unique setting for our teams, our fans and
our students,” Longworth said. “Especially with the element of surprise…
nobody knew it was coming.”
"One of our main goals as a marketing team is to make the fan experience
the best it can be," she said. "We hope in the future that will include
more court projections or whatever the next innovative idea may be."
We couldn’t agree more. And we’ll be leading that charge!
For more information about this experience or 3-D projection mapping,
contact Lee Torregrossa at