McCoy Stadium is best-known for being the home of the longest game in baseball history. But soon, the home of the Pawtucket Red Sox will have another claim to fame: A gigantic video board.
On Friday, Pawtucket General Manager Lou Schwechheimer announced that the PawSox are installing a new video board in time for the 2010 season that will be among the largest in minor league baseball.
“The video board is state of the art by one of the world class leaders, and it really will enhance the game for the fans to a level that we are thrilled to death about,” Schwechheimer said. “The board itself will be the largest video board in New England, so we are absolutely thrilled.”
The video board is being designed and installed through a collaboration of Lighthouse Technologies of Hong Kong and TS Sports of Grapevine, Texas (you can see an example of their work here).
“You’re going to see a big change,” said TS Sports Vice President Matt Ritter. “It’s double in size from the old video board, and from wherever you are in the ballpark, you’re going to look up and it will be like you’re looking at the plasma TV in your house – the picture will be that clear. There are over 580,000 individual LED lamps that make up this board. It is 22 feet tall and 38 feet wide – one of the largest in minor league baseball. It’s the latest in LED technology. When people come to the ballpark, they will absolutely know that the PawSox did something special.”
“Our fans – through thick and thin in a tough economy – have been very supportive of the PawSox, and our feeling is that every year we should improve the experience for the players and the fans,” Schwechheimer said. “We have continued to upgrade the playing field, the amenities in the clubhouse and weight room for the players, and now it’s the fans’ turn with what we think will be one of the most profound additions to the ballpark since we did the stadium renovation in 1999.”
The new state-of-the-art video board will be used to show PawSox and Red Sox highlights, historical footage, and interactive elements with the players and fans.
“We want to be creative and to continue to elevate the fan experience without detracting from the game,” Schwechheimer said. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for the game on the field and we would never think about utilizing the board to detract from what fans are coming to the ballpark to see. One of the things we are excited about is the ability to develop a little more interactivity with things like a ‘smile cam.’ Our core audience is families and kids and to be able to use a high def screen of that size and magnitude to focus in on fans during breaks in the action in a feel-good way makes the experience at McCoy that much more personal and fun.”
“(PawSox President) Mike Tamburro and Lou Schwechheimer are men of great integrity and they have been a pleasure to work with,” Ritter said. “One of the first things they said when I walked through the door was, ‘We want something that is different from everybody else. We want it to be the best in quality. We want it to be crystal-clear. And we want every fan to come in and know that there’s a difference at McCoy Stadium.’ The average size of a video board at a minor league ballpark is 15 feet by 20 feet. The PawSox have gone above and beyond for their fans by going 22 feet tall by 38 feet wide. By sheer size alone it puts them in a category that other minor league teams can’t match. The only other teams that have something like this are ones that are building brand new stadiums where it’s in the initial budget. You don’t see a lot of people upgrading to this level.”
It’s just another way that the PawSox intend to give their fans a major league experience at minor league prices.