The Capital State Arena – Case Study

The Capital State Arena

The Capital State Arena, located on the Capital State University (CSU) campus, is a new 20,000-seat arena that is a multipurpose building. Mainly for men’s basket-ball, there are also plans to hold commencement there and other university sport-ing events and functions. A theatrical lighting system is obviously needed to offer the flexibility to light these events correctly. As a main component to a top-quality lighting system, a controller or “console” is needed. The console is the brains of any lighting system, whether it has 10 lights or 300 lights.

The new arena will take the place of St. Patrick Arena, which was built in the 1960s. Although there periodically has been renovation to St. Patrick Arena, a the-atrical lighting system has never been implemented.

Need Recognition

There is a need for a lighting console for the new facility. A professional theatrical lighting system was specified by the planning committee. Having the ability to conveniently adjust the lights to accommodate different events and different moods during events is a strong competitive weapon for selling the arena during the off-season. This type of lighting adjustment is driven by a computer-controlled console. The most current technology was specified; the system will be leased out at a rate of $2,000 per day plus operator expenses.

Available Products

The process began when the purchasing department received the requisition. Two suppliers were contacted via telephone: CAE, manufacturer of Leprecon LP-3000, and Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC), manufacturer of ETC Obsession II. A re-view of the trade journal Lighting Dimensions was used to search for other sources. The review uncovered a third possible supplier: Strand, manufacturer of the Strand 520.

A search of the World Wide Web provided additional information on the three console choices. The Web pages also provided dealer network information, a war-ranty repair station list, and specification information for each console.

Console Features

The three consoles had many similar features. The glossy product sheets provided by each manufacturer were used in writing the specification for the console pur-chase. The resident lighting designer from the theater department also was con-sulted on the specifications. In addition to this information, the list below helped in the decision-making process:

  • The console must be user-friendly. Programming should be able to be accom-plished with just a few keystrokes on the console. This will eliminate the need to have a technician on retainer just to program or get the system turned on. he author expresses appreciation to Tami Reinhart and Bill Schwertfoger for their contributions to this case. Names and data have been disguised.
  • The console also should be accessible to the theater department as a teaching aide. When the arena and lighting system are not being used, teaching person-nel should have the opportunity to sign up for hands-on console training.
  • he console should be expandable. With the increased use of moving lights con-trolled through lighting consoles, the console should have a few hundred chan-nels that are unused. With extra control space, touring productions might want the opportunity to rent the “house console” and run their lights in conjunction with the in-house system.
  • Console software should be upgradeable. Since lighting consoles are now computer-driven, upgradeability is a factor. Each of the three consoles is upgradeable.
  • Equipment chosen must be manufactured in the United States, or the dealer must have the ability to get any warranty/repair parts in less than 24 hours. This criterion ensures that the console will be repaired in a timely manner.
  • The console should be purchased from a dealer within a 25-mile radius of the arena. The contract terms should include at least a two-year warranty on all parts and workmanship. The dealership also should accept the responsibility of installing “loaner” equipment if the original system fails and needs service. This is done so that any scheduled event that rents the system can still use the system without a loss of income to the arena.


Although Strand was the low bidder, the purchasing team ranked the Strand 520 as the best value. The theater department ranked the ETC as the best value based on the ease of use and service. The LP-3000 was ranked last by both the purchas-ing team and the users.

The Decision

The purchasing agent knew that the differences in opinion between the university purchasing team and the ultimate users posed a complicated purchasing decision. He realized that his decision on the purchase would involve both qualitative and quantitative trade-offs. One nagging thought in the back of his mind was that no matter which console/vendor he chose, he might never know the impact on either of the disagreeing parties.

Recommending Actions as a Purchasing Agent for CSU Regarding the Purchase of the Theatrical Lighting System

The decision by Capital State University to acquire a theatrical lighting system is well-informed. The lighting system will be crucial for the success of its Capital State Arena. The arena promises to be a big attraction for the university. Additionally, as a 20,000 seater stadium that is to be used for basketball and commencement speeches, there is need for proper lighting to give the events the proper atmosphere that is required. A theatrical lighting system depends on a robust console that helps in controlling the system based on the needs of a given event. As a purchasing agent for Capital State University, I would advise the university accordingly on the best console to acquire based on the options provided. A thorough analysis of all the factors shows that the console provided by Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) is the best option for the arena.

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Although Strand emerged from the bidding process as the best priced, the theatre department ranked ETC Obsession II console by Electronic Theatre Controls as the best option for the arena. Their justification for this high ranking of the ETC console is that the console is easy to use and its servicing is also easy. According to the recognized needs of the arena, a lighting system that is easy to use was desired. This is in regards to accommodating different types of events, as well as different moods in the arena at different stages of an event. These features provided by the lighting system would give the stadium an unmatched competitive advantage over its rivals. As such, investing in a robust console that is recommended by the theatre department is the best choice. According to the specifications of the console to be purchased, it was desired that a console with significant user-friendliness should be purchased. As the theatre department recommends the ETC Obsession II console, it is an indication that it meets the requirement of being easy to program at all times. This feature makes it unnecessary for the theatre department to hire a full-time technician to operate the console, as such, helping to save on cost of running the lighting system.

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The ETC Obsession II console also meets the requirements of being made in the United States, as well as being upgradable. As a manufacturer based in Wisconsin, Electronic Theatre Controls fully qualifies to provide the needed console to Capital State University. As a manufacturer in the United States, it is advantageous because the company can provide the much needed servicing at all times. One of the main challenges that arise out of the use of technological devises is the need for regular servicing. A console can easily be damaged by electrical surges, or can experience mechanical damages due to poor handling (Onishi, 2018). It is, therefore, crucial that essential repairs and maintenance services can be accessed efficiently. This advantage illustrates why the university demands that the supplier must be based in the country. The upgradability of ETC Obsession II also proves that it is what the arena just needs. Technology tends to evolve too fast. As such, it is important to consider the future needs of the organization before acquiring a given technology. Considering that the arena will be in use for a long time, the university needs a console that can also be used for an extended period of time. Upgradability ensures that the console can be easily and cheaply upgraded when the need arises. This property will ensure that future upgrades in terms of speed and versatility can be achieved without the need of investing in a new console.

The Electronic Theatre Control is a leader in the market, and its equipment can be trusted. The data provided shows that the company had made $19,000,000 in sales, and commanded about 60 percent of the market. For a company to have this level of command, it shows that the company produces consoles that consumers trust. The share of the market that the company has also illustrates that it is easy to obtain servicing with a lot of ease because the company likely has many dealers (Aobdia & Shroff, 2018). Once the university buys the console from ETC, it will be easy for the university to also use it for its teaching purposes as stipulated in the console features section. In conclusion, there is a strong basis for recommending ETC Obsession II console for the university’s needs. The console is a modern technology that can help in controlling the elaborate lighting system that the university wants to acquire for its arena. As the console is made in the United States, it meets the needs of the university. The console is also upgradable, which means that the university does not need to buy any other console in the near future. The console will only need to be upgraded in case new software comes out. The location of the manufacturer in the United States also means that the console can be serviced whenever necessary. Therefore, the ETC Obsession II presents the best option, and the university should buy it.

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