Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 1, Page 16
Fall 1993
The man behind the lights, camera and action at the philadelphia spectrum

     I'm a sports nut. So I guess if I couldn't grow up and play second
base for the Phillies or right wing for the Flyers, this is the next best
thing," says Mark DiNardo, Delaware '83, director of electronic media at
The Spectrum in Philadelphia.
     Working 41 Flyers' games each season and an equal number for the
76ers-more if either team is in the playoffs-is no hardship for him.
Neither is working in The Spectrum, a multipurpose arena that hosts some of
the biggest names in sports and entertainment today.
     In fact, DiNardo says the worst thing about his job is leaving-both
literally and figuratively. It's hard to go home at night from a job that's
so much fun, and every time he walks out the door after a Flyers' game, he
is mobbed by fans who rush up, look at him and then tell each other, "Oh,
he's nobody!"
     Leaving work after a Grateful Dead concert usually means fighting his
way through 45,000 fans still out in the parking lot.
     As long as The Spectrum is busy-and it has only a few "dark days"
without events each year-then DiNardo is busy. His responsibilities range
from creating all in-house advertising shown on ArenaVision-the various
television screens around the arena and the concourse-to filming concerts
for such performers as Billy Joel that could later appear in music videos.
     DiNardo and his crew videotape all the sports activities in the
building, which, in addition to the Flyers and 76ers, could include ice
shows, all-star games, other special events and Philadelphia Wings indoor
lacrosse games.
     ArenaVision shows the games on its six video screens as they are being
played.  He and his staff also program four electronic signs in The
Spectrum that promote upcoming events and carry up-to-the minute,
out-of-town scores from other games.
     During a game, DiNardo, wearing a headset to communicate with people
throughout the building, works hundreds of controls from the ArenaVision
studio high up in the rafters of The Spectrum. While taping a game, DiNardo
and his crew have to be watching the game, too, knowing when to zoom in
closer and when to run an instant replay. There are interesting league
rules governing the replays. Great care is taken, for example, not to
incite the fans. "We can't replay fights during hockey games," DiNardo
     DiNardo is generous almost to a fault, a colleague says, when it comes
to helping people get tickets for Spectrum events.
     "I'm Uncle Ticketron," DiNardo laughs. "Ever since I got this job, my
'family' has expanded. It's amazing. I never knew I had so many friends."
     His real family includes his parents, well-known Wilmington
restaurateurs; his wife, the former Michele Baldassari, Delaware '83; and
their 2-year-old daughter, Alyssa.
     One of his favorite charities that benefits from DiNardo's Spectrum
contacts is the Delaware All-Star Football Game.
     "The Flyers and 76ers have been very generous in donating tickets for
prizes each year and loaning us television production equipment to tape the
game," DiNardo says.
     Although he has access to many of the rich and famous who populate The
Spectrum's rinks, court and stage, DiNardo has kept a low profile when it
comes to meeting the stars. He hasn't met Madonna, Michael or Mick and when
he had a chance to meet Garth Brooks, he, in his words, "chickened out."
     He's more at home with the sports figures, and says he's used to
walking down the same hall with the likes of 7'7" Manute Bol, center for
the 76ers. He's made a video for superstar Michael Jordan and has a
friendly acquaintance with Flyers Eric Lindros and Mark Recchi.
     DiNardo learned his way around The Spectrum during an internship with
Prism, the Philadelphia entertainment cable channel that carries local
sports and has broadcast facilities in the building. He received the
internship while majoring in communication at the University. He says
low-paying or just-for-credit internships are the way to get jobs in his
     He worked in and out of the building as a freelancer for several years
and joined the staff full-time five years ago. His responsibilities have
continually increased, and he is now doing some consulting work on a
proposed new building, tentatively called Spectrum II. He has had input on
lighting, sound systems and in-house television for the new building,
including video walls and interactive-video kiosks.
     "I've always admired people who could create something that would be
around long after they're gone," DiNardo said. "In some small way, I feel
that I'll have my fingerprints-however small-on that new building."
                                                  -Beth Thomas