Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino, Sunland Park, NM

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is a thoroughbred and quarter horse race track and slots casino located in Sunland Park, N.M. Featuring live racing four days a week from December through April, the track also offers simulcast wagering for races across the country. Their old, low-resolution sign was expensive to operate and constantly in need of repair. So the facility’s video manager, John Nichols, decided it was time to replace it. He turned to Francis Fluorescent Signs, who recommended a Watchfire LED sign.

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is a feast for the eyes. Guests encounter an entire palette of color throughout the facility, from racing silks and casino lights, to sumptuous food buffets and the mountain backdrop in the distance. The facility transmits both live and recorded video of races on a digital sign located within the track infield.

When the track’s previous, low-resolution digital sign located in the track infield started to age, it looked out of place. “It was a real eyesore,” said John Nichols, Sunland Park’s video manager. The sign was expensive to operate as well. Maintenance costs were piling up, repair parts were difficult to find, and the need to air condition the sign resulted in high electrical costs.

Nichols began researching digital sign manufacturers and asked his local sign dealer, Francis Fluorescent Signs, for recommendations. One name that kept coming up was Watchfire Signs. Nichols talked with a number of manufacturers, but he was impressed with the attention he got from Watchfire, and loved the way the Watchfire LED signs looked.

“Watchfire brought a digital sign out to the race track so we could see how it looked on the property, and it looked amazing,” said Nichols, who also visited the Watchfire manufacturing facility in Danville, Ill. “It was uplifting to know that the sign was built in America.”

Sunland Park’s new sign is a Watchfire XVS 16mm with live video on demand. The sign features live video during the races and video feeds or recorded videos of other races around the country. Sunland Park also has a complete recording studio at the racetrack. They can produce telecasts that include recorded interviews with jockeys and horse owners, then cut away to live footage of the national anthem or of the horses warming up in the paddock. Watchfire’s Ignite software makes the sign easy to program and integrates seamlessly with the racetrack’s complex video system. Nichols is so pleased with his new Watchfire sign that he anticipates adding a smaller sign to the paddock area and has recommended Watchfire to affiliated tracks.

Nichols uses a video switching system to simultaneously capture live camera feeds that are relayed to the Watchfire sign. When there are no races, the sign is used as a standard message center using Ignite software to schedule messages. According to Nichols, the new sign was a perfect fit for the system and a great investment for Sunland Park.

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