Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Even a Klingon Would Like IU'S New Scoreboard
Okay, in the scoreboard wars -- yes, such things do exist -- Indiana is not going to out-size Texas, the world’s richest university and lover of all over-sized things. But it is going to kick the rumps of Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and, of course, Purdue. Why? Because athletic director Fred Glass likes cools things.
Hold on. Glass is a cool enough guy, but that’s not why he’s forked over a couple of million dollars to install a 36-foot high by 91-foot wide high definition video screen in Memorial Stadium that will do everything but beam Klingons into your living.
That feature, by the way, comes next year.
Glass wants to boost the entertainment value of football game day experiences. Yes, it would help if the Hoosiers go on a decade-long winning streak that includes five unbeaten seasons and two national championships, but that’s unlikely to happen.
So Glass will dazzle fans with “wall to wall” video that will provide enough stats, graphics, animations, live video and recorded video to rival Disney World. The only bigger scoreboard in the Big Ten is at Minnesota. It will rate among the nation’s 10 biggest college scoreboards.
Think about that, then consider the overall renovations to Memorial Stadium, including the 25,000-square foot weight room that IS bigger than the one at Texas.
“This incredible scoreboard will be another new ‘wow’ factor for Memorial Stadium and our football fans, reflecting a continuing investment in, and commitment to, our football program,” Glass said in a university release. “Football games this fall at IU will be the best of both worlds: all the hoopla of live big-time football with the luxury of a gigantic flat screen as if you were watching in your living room.”
There’s also a powerful custom audio system sure to rock your world and irritate the prune-juice crowd that griped about the noise last year. No matter. Special sensors have been installed in each Memorial Stadium seat to monitor the age and attitude of every fan and those who show an inclination toward Lawrence Welk preferences will be instantly zapped and …
Sorry. Only kidding.
If you like numbers, the new scoreboard will be 325 percent larger than the video screen on the old scoreboard that was installed in 1999. If you like ads, the new scoreboard will mean more sponsorship opportunities, more money and, perhaps, more cool things in 2011.
“The more versatile scoreboard will give us greater capability to maximize the marketing potential of Memorial Stadium and IU football,” IU deputy director of athletics Scott Dolson said in a university release. “This scoreboard will be a powerful asset for our season sponsors.”
Oh, if you’re wondering, why now for a new scoreboard, parts for the old scoreboard were no longer available, thus forcing Glass’ hands. In fact, the football scoreboard is one of six new scoreboards at IU. The others are being installed at Armstrong Stadium (soccer), the Counsil-Billingsley Aquatic Center and the Tennis Center. These will impact football, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, water polo, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s tennis.
The original cost was $3,470,600, but was discounted by nearly half a million dollars. The football scoreboard cost $2,062,900.
That leads to the obvious question -- who paid for all this? The answer is the athletics department, in part thanks to the $23 million or so pumped in by the Big Ten Network.
Now, all the Hoosiers have to do is win about nine games this season and you’ll really see the meaning of a “WOW!” factor.