Long Island may have lost the New York Islanders hockey team to Brooklyn this year, but it just gained a new sports arena … well, kind of.
The brainchild of custom integrator Chris Wyllie of SEAL Solutions, SIMPLAY is a 15,000-square-foot virtual sports arena and indoor country club, located in the largest industrial park in America. The lavish showroom is exactly as it sounds: an ultimate venue for simulated sports games. The facility features eight bays with Visual Sports Systems simulators that allow customers to play golf (featuring 97 PGA courses to choose from), football, baseball, basketball, hockey and even zombie dodgeball.
The location could not be more ideal for SEAL Solutions, which uses about 1,000 square feet of the space for its offices and warehouse.
“This is the ultimate functional showroom,” says Wyllie. “To try to get busy clients to come to a showroom can be difficult, but this will bring them. We are trying to do something that has never been done before, and I think we accomplished that.”
Meanwhile, the Hauppauge Industrial Park where SIMPLAY is located hosts 55,000 workers daily from 1,300 companies, so the walk-in traffic ought to be brisk. During the winter, these New Yorkers have nowhere to practice golf or play other warm weather sports. Each simulator can be programmed to play any of the major sports plus carnival games, so players can try their luck kicking field goals, beating an alien soccer goalie, or working on their fastball.
“This is a side business for me so I can focus on my A/V business. I don’t want to keep all my eggs in one basket,” says Wyllie, who came up with the idea two years ago after talking with a client who said he drives over an hour away to play simulated golf in the winter with his buddies. Wyllie and his partner Chuck Merritt spent about nine months going through the permitting process and finally started construction to convert the space in June 2015.
Fully-Stocked Bar, Multiple Corporate Meeting Rooms
The venue is set up for both hanging out as well as scheduled corporate events, like holiday parties. More than just a sports venue, the facility comes complete with a cocktail lounge, full-service bar and food salon, two VIP rooms and a 4,000-square-foot venue room ideal for business meetings and corporate functions.
The facility has retail hours (10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-10 p.m., weekends) and the simulators are offered on an hourly basis (ranging from $55/hour to $65/hour depending on the time of day) through an online reservation system. SIMPLAY is also equipped with a putting green area for practice before, during and after simulator sessions. The facility also has a total of 14 HD televisions strategically placed in the lounge areas (that also include Waterfall Audio speakers) and it has a fully stocked bar.
“How many dinners can a corporate executive take a client to?” asks Wyllie rhetorically. “Instead, he can bring him here and it’s memorable.”
Merritt is a principal of Hauppauge-based Merritt Environmental Consulting and has provided consulting services to lending institutions, attorneys, real estate investors, and property owners for over two decades. Wyllie, a former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L., supervised electronics and communications in the Persian Gulf before launching SEAL Solutions, his audio/visual company specializing in the design and installation of home theater, automation, lighting and security systems.
“Chuck and I shared a vision of bringing an unprecedented simulated sports and indoor country club offering to the Long Island community,” Wyllie says. “We've worked hard and built the stadium, so to speak, and are confident the players will want to come!”
“We've already started booking corporate holiday events and are pleased to welcome Lessings as our premiere caterer,” Merritt adds. The company held a Grand Opening Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony on November 5 with several local dignitaries there.
Hiframe Giant Mirror TVs
SEAL Solutions decked out the showroom with Color Kinetics lighting, Crestron DigitalMedia and Epson projectors. There are two smaller function rooms, two private rooms with simulators in them, and a large 150-seat function room in back for big events. That room features two giant Kastiel Cube mirrored HiFrames over two 65-inch Samsung UN65H7150 TVs.
The Hiframes appear like giant works of art on the wall with a large circular mirror, but quickly “convert” to giant flat panel TVs with the touch of a button. The approximately 50 guests at the grand opening were mesmerized by them.
The Israeli-made Kastiel Cube is 86 x 86 inches and it features a wood frame wrapped in fabric and a lacquer finish. The mirrored glass is from Italy. Venting holes are incorporated around the frame to keep the unit cool. The installation requires careful measurements and coordination around the existing TV (which can be any existing client TV or a new thin TV).
The Hiframe is placed over the TV, allowing for future upgrading as needed … it is “not” built into the unit.
The units are imported into the U.S. exclusively by CE Pro 100 integrator Intech Inc. on Long Island.