Diversified Systems, Sony Play Role in Tigers’ Plans for Future

The offseason signing of one of baseball’s biggest names isn’t the only thing giving Tigers fans something to look forward to this season. While the inking of Prince Fielder — to a roster that already includes the 2011 American League MVP, no less — certainly speaks to team owner Mike Ilitch’s dedication to fielding a World Series-caliber team, the upgrade to HD and installation of a state-of-the-art scoreboard demonstrates Detroit’s commitment to the future at Comerica Park.

An artist's rendering of the Tigers' new scoreboard, scheduled to be complete before Opening Day.

Diversified Systems, subcontracted through Sony USA, integrated the new HD video-control room at Comerica Park. Located behind home plate on press level, the control room will feed the new left-field video board, ribbon boards, and master-antenna television (MATV) system.

“Every year, there are discussions with ownership to assess how to upgrade the ballpark and enhance the fan experience,” says Duane McLean, EVP, business operations, Detroit Tigers. “The goal is to provide the best in-park atmosphere possible for the fans. The new HD video board and system integration is a significant upgrade to Comerica Park.”

HD Overhaul
Diversified Systems first became involved in the project through Sony USA in mid November. Construction began in mid December, and the new HD equipment was installed in February. The entire project, including the new LED video displays, is scheduled to be completed before the Tigers take the field for their home opener on April 5.

“It was a complete overhaul,” says T.J. Beardsmore, senior project manager, Diversified Systems. “They were going from standard definition to high definition; in other words, [they] replaced the entire scoreboard in the outfield and are also putting in new 16:9 TVs. Basically, it’s an HD upgrade to the ballpark. [As] the old control room was standard def, [it] had to be torn out.”

The revamped control room features a Sony 7000 switcher, EVS XT3 server for slow-motion replays, two Click Effects CrossFire servers for four channels of clips playback, three Chyron dual-channel character generators, three Sony HSC-300 cameras, one Sony camera connected to a NEWCOM wireless system, and Evertz routing multi-image viewer and distribution.

Editors will use Adobe Premier Pro connected to a Dell Compellent SAN. In addition to powering the LED boards, the control room will feed the MATV system throughout Comerica Park.

“We’re sending four insert channels from the control room to the MATV system,” explained Tom Sullivan, senior project engineer, Diversified Systems.

Daktronics’ Show Control system will process and scale the live and recorded video signal to the LED displays. The LED-video processor encompasses control software, data integration, and playback hardware.

Tigers Think Big
After executing a successful upgrade to HD, the Tigers will have one of the largest LED displays in Major League Baseball to show it off. Daktronics designed, manufactured, and is in the process of installing the 48- x 127-ft. display, which can operate as a single display or be split into multiple zones for graphics, animation, player information, and video. An additional 5- x 100-ft. display below the main video board will be used primarily for pitcher statistics.

The company is also installing ribbon-board displays along the first and third baselines to provide game information, real-time team and player statistics, animation, and cropped video clips.

“Daktronics is proud to provide the Detroit Tigers with this innovative state-of-the-art solution to Comerica Park,” said Will Ellerbruch, regional sales manager, Daktronics. “The new video screen will be over 6,000 sq. ft., and, along with the addition of full programmable LED digital letters on top of the structure, this will make for an experience second to none.”

Tiger fans will get their first glimpse of the HD upgrade and new video boards on April 1, when Detroit hosts Houston in an On-Deck Series game.