At The Ballpark: Tech-Savvy Mariners Step Up LED Displays
In anticipation of the first pitch of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, SVG has provided an in-depth look at the video-system makeovers at ballparks around the country, including Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Miller Park, Minute Maid Park, and Rangers Ballpark.
As one might expect from a tech-savvy city like Seattle, the Mariners fan base is an extremely demanding bunch when it comes to technology at Safeco Field. So, when the franchise began revamping the ballpark’s signage and video displays prior to the 2010 season, it brought in the latest in LED technology from ANC Sports.
ANC installed Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision LED boards along the fascia of the ballpark’s Wells Fargo Terrace Club stretching from the edges of the Press Box down the first- and third-base lines and above “Hit It Here Café” in right field. The new boards use the same technology as the out-of-town scoreboard that ANC Sports installed in left field before the 2010 season.
“Being from tech-minded Seattle and having an ownership that is made up largely of Nintendo and other technology-based executives, the Mariners are continually pushing the envelope in terms of display technology,” says Chris Mascatello, EVP of technology sales and services, ANC Sports. “Our goal is to bring the technology of the 21st century into a ballpark that is styled with a classic feel to it.”
Quality Over Quantity
The new LED boards along the first- and third-base lines are more than 4 ft. high and total more than 734 ft. long. The Hit It Here Café video screen is 160 ft. wide by 6 ft. high and combines the three previous static, lighted sponsor signs and matrix boards into one video display.
“They may not have the most LED in terms of pure area, but the Mariners are definitely a case of quality over quantity,” says Mascatello. “900 linear feet is obviously a big installation, but the key for the Mariners was not the sheer size as much as the high quality of the boards.”
The video system is powered by ANC Sports’ patent-pending VisionSOFT operating system to display statistical and game information. VisionSOFT also allows ANC to create graphics and layouts designed exclusively for Safeco Field. In addition to statistical and in-game information, the signs can be programmed for sponsor messages on a game, series, home-stand, or season basis, enabling Mariners sponsors to activate their programs based on real-time events.
In November, ANC Sports agreed to a deal with statistical-software provider ScorePAD to integrate the source code for the company’s STADIUMnet scoring interface into the VisionSOFT system at MLB ballparks. This season, Safeco Field and Fenway Park will become the first two ballparks to deploy this newly integrated system, which provides advanced real-time and situational statistics as well as an innovative scorecard graphic to LED displays throughout the facility.
Originally designed for use in the broadcast market, STADIUMnet has been deployed at ballparks by several teams, including the Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, and Baltimore Orioles.
“There is an extremely educated baseball fan base up in Seattle,” says Mascatello. “So we are going to use the system to provide even more advanced statistical content to those fans than was ever possible in the past.”