Pixel Pitch Meets Historical Accuracy: Fenway Park Adds LED Display With Right Antique Touches
A new videoboard is designed to blend in with the Green Monster
When every inch of a baseball stadium is considered hallowed ground, even comparatively small efforts at expansion are undertaken with delicacy. So it goes that Fenway Park has added seating areas to every nook and cranny while optimizing available surface area with new video displays replacing static signage — all with an eye to maintaining the historic integrity of the venue.
In the latest of these strategic upgrades,124 seats were added this spring to the right-field grandstands, and the static Cumberland Farms sign was replaced with a Mitsubishi Diamond Vision XL Series 16-mm LED display measuring 14.28 ft. high by 46.19 ft. wide. The new right-field display will improve sightlines for members of Red Sox Nation seated in the grandstands or in areas dotted along the massive left-field wall that every baseball fan knows as the Green Monster.
Installed by ANC, which has implemented numerous large-scale video-display upgrades at Fenway Park over the past decade, the screen’s comparatively fine 16-mm pixel pitch accommodates the shorter viewing distances in the famously compact stadium.
“Pretty much everything at Fenway Park is in the 16mm family,” notes Chris Mascatello, EVP, technology solutions, ANC. “Given the combination of viewing distance and the smaller size of the displays, you need as much resolution as possible to make sure your fonts and your partner logos look crisp.”
In a creatively ironic twist, that fine resolution is used to emulate the super-analog bulb-based displays of yore. For the video content that ANC creates in conjunction with the Red Sox production team, it’s all about an old-timey look and feel.
“The fonts that are used across all the new LED displays are designed to look like light bulbs,” Mascatello explains, “to emulate the old seven-segment characters from the old fixed-digit displays.”
And the fonts blink across a background that blends right in with Fenway Park’s most prominent feature: “We emulated a dented green riveted sheet-metal look in a lot of the backgrounds, imitating the ping marks from every ball that’s hit the Green Monster.”
All these elements of charm serve a very modern purpose: to display more statistical information to meet crowd demands in the fantasy-baseball era and to make sponsor messages pop, especially in those stadium-wide moments of exclusivity.
“If you can find a way to provide information and provide revenue,” Mascatello says, “that’s a win-win for fans and partners alike.”
Content for all of Fenway Park’s displays is managed via ANC’s vSOFT operating platform, which also provides statistics through ANC’s MLB scoring platform.
Adding the new right-field display to the network was fairly straightforward, according to Mascatello. “One of the nice things about the vSOFT control system is that it’s modular; it’s meant to be expanded, anywhere from one display up to 100 displays,” he says. “So we’re able very easily to supplement a base installation like we did in 2011 by just adding a display and maybe a small player to output to that display. These projects were pretty simple: in most cases, we didn’t have to add a new player; we just added the display by itself.”
That configurability works well for a park that carefully cultivates every inch for a more memorable baseball experience. This latest addition is a continuation of the care that has gone into each step in the stadium’s modernization, Mascatello observes.
“Fenway Park’s small footprint and the fact that it’s physically wedged into the neighborhood that surrounds it mean that it’s a very vertical stadium,” he points out. “Anything you add to it automatically has a larger sense of scale to it. But everything they’ve done so far, it fits. It’s a testament to Fenway’s ownership and management, the thought they put into retaining the appeal of the signature park in baseball.”