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Screen gems: Dodgers break ground with new video boards

Screen gems: Dodgers break ground with new video boards

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Don Muret
ANC Sports Enterprises is supplying the new video boards at Dodger Stadium as the 51-year-old facility catches up with the latest technology.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the first teams to introduce full-color video screens in sports when they installed a new board in left field in 1980. Now, 33 seasons later, the Dodgers will unveil baseball’s first 10-millimeter screens with 1,080-pixel quality. The new video board in right field replaces an old system without video that kept the line score and player lineups.

The two new boards are surface-mount technology displays, providing higher resolution, brighter colors and expanded viewing angles. Surface-mount technology displays are common in big league arenas but still relatively new in the outdoor market, although the Seattle Mariners are installing a much larger SMT board at Safeco Field, a Panasonic display in center field using ANC’s existing software package.

A rendering shows how the video boards will look.
Image: ANC SPORTS ENTERPRISES
In Los Angeles, size doesn’t matter. Instead, it was important for the Dodgers to upgrade the video portion without making it look out of place in MLB’s third-oldest park, said Janet Marie Smith, the team’s senior vice president of planning and development. ANC Sports developed a custom package to fit the hexagon shape of the original board in right field. The left-field structure is being restored to match the right-field sign.

Both screens are about 78 feet long with a maximum height of 38 feet in the center portion. The ends of both boards are about 24 feet high.

The new boards have active video space two-thirds larger than the old boards with the ability to develop creative player features and provide more statistics, something Dodgers fans have been asking for, said Lon Rosen, the team’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

The total project cost of $10 million includes a new control room to operate the boards and maintenance over the next several years.

ANC Sports won the job through a bid process, Rosen said. Dodgers President Stan Kasten used to sit on ANC’s board of directors, but he has not held that position for several years.

“We had to dig deep [with price adjustments] to win this job,” said Jerry Cifarelli, ANC Sports’ president and CEO. “We wanted to be involved with their new ownership.”

> DOLLAR SIGN: The Dodgers originally bought Dodger Stadium’s old left-field board from Mitsubishi for $1 so the vendor could showcase its early video technology for MLB team owners during the 1980 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.
“It was a deal Peter O’Malley could not refuse,” said team spokesman Steve Brener, referring to the Dodgers’ owner at the time.

> SCHROCK OF THE BAY: After spending the past 30 years working out of his hometown of Kansas City, sports architect Brad Schrock is relocating to the Bay Area as part of 360 Architecture’s expansion of its San Francisco office.

Schrock, a Kansas City native who is one of 360’s three co-founders and a senior principal, has spent the past few years designing two big projects in Seattle, the $250 million renovation of Husky Stadium and the development of a new NBA arena. He is also principal-in-charge of the San Jose Earthquakes’ new stadium, to open in 2014.

360 designers Anton Foss and Mathew Hallett, both working on the Seattle arena project, also are moving from Kansas City to San Francisco.

Moving to the West Coast will make things much easier for 360 officials and the clients they serve in that region. The two-hour flight from San Francisco to Seattle is more manageable than flying from Kansas City, Schrock said.

In addition, Chris Hansen, the primary investor behind the Seattle arena project, lives in San Francisco. As part of that development, 360 Architecture is responsible for updating Seattle’s KeyArena, where the Sacramento Kings are expected to play for two seasons, pending approval of their move by the league.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

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