Oklahoma State University Gets New Baseball Home in O’Brate Stadium
The venue boasts a Daktronics LED videoboard, connects to centralized control room
Over the past two weeks, NCAA Division I baseball teams across the nation began their march on the Road to the 2020 College World Series in Omaha, NE. In the American heartland, more specifically in Stillwater, OK, Oklahoma State University is off to a 7-2 start and sits at No. 28 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. Having started the season in 38-year-old Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, the Cowboys will play their first-ever game in the new $60 million O’Brate Stadium when they open Big 12 Conference play on March 20.
“The construction is still ongoing but has been a smooth process,” says C.J. Lickert, executive producer, Orange Power Studios, the athletic department’s video-production unit. “This brand-new stadium comes with new technology and connectivity that will enable better coverage for our fans inside of the venue as well as those watching on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.”
From Fixed Digital to LED: OSU Crew Adapts to Modern Videoboard
To students or fans attending a ballgame for the first time, the amenities at O’Brate Stadium may seem like the standard, but, when the 1981 season opened at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, fans in attendance were dazzled by what was then the latest and greatest in in-venue technology. Though upgraded over the years, the scoreboard’s two-dimensional imaging and mostly stationary information like statistics and out of town scores severely limited Orange Power Studios’ productions.
Fast forward to 2020, and this antiquated scoreboard has become obsolete. When the crew fires up content for the first pitch in O’Brate Stadium, the focal point will be a 28.8-ft.-high by 67.2-ft.-wide Daktronics LED videoboard beyond the left-field wall.
“The biggest change in technology will be the move from a fixed-digit scoreboard to the use of a Daktronics LED board for scoring and video,” says Lickert. “This will give us the ability to display more statistical information as well as provide even more replays.”
With the videoboard, which covers 2,000 sq. ft. of digital real estate, combining visual elements with the customary facts and figures will set O’Brate apart from the previous digs. In a fresh, more modern environment, the entire OSU baseball fanbase will benefit from this project, which broke ground in March 2018.
“Overall, O’Brate Stadium will greatly improve our in-venue productions of Oklahoma State Baseball,” Lickert says. “Since OSU started playing in Allie P. [Reynolds Stadium] in 1981, there has been a number of upgrades along the way for the fan experience as well as in the locker room and the coaches offices. As for the older facility, it does not compare with what O’Brate will be able to provide in terms of technology.”
Besides enhanced technology, the new stadium will feature 3,500 permanent seats, 11 suites, and 400 premium seats in club and suite areas. The park has the ability to expand to 8,000 seats when necessary. Inside, a 7,400-sq.-ft. locker room will give players a home away from their dorms, and, on the educational end of the spectrum, a 50-person classroom with tiered seating will allow optimal film sessions or other visual presentations.
Midseason Move: Orange Power Studios’ Relies on Two Centralized Control Rooms
Having opened its doors on April 4, 1981, Allie P. Reynolds Stadium has been the campus cathedral of baseball for nearly four decades. With its closure a month into the 2020 campaign, there will be a bit of a transition period between the final game in the old confines on March 15 and the first game in the new place five days later.
To ease the chaos that accompanies such a transition, Orange Power Studios’ central hub in the west end zone of football’s Boone Pickens Stadium will be at the ready. The centralization will come in handy during this stressful process.
“We have preexisting, centralized control rooms with fiber connecting [them] to our sports facilities,” says Lickert. “We use these two control rooms for both our in-house and Big 12 Now on ESPN+ productions.”
In the broadcast-control room, Ross Video is at the center of operations with an Acuity production switcher, Xpression graphics, Abekas Mira replay systems, and Tria servers for video playback. In addition, ChyronHego’s Duet CGs are on hand to deliver graphics to the screen. In the videoboard-control room, Daktronics Show Control will handle graphics needs for each baseball game.
Since being created in 2013, the production department’s improved working space has allowed it to further expand its staff. The turning point came with the introduction of in-venue–production responsibilities.
“We use a mix of freelancer, full-time [staffers], and students for our crew,” notes Lickert. “In previous years, without the big screen, the broadcast productions had an 18- to 20-person crew with eight to 10 freelancers, six to eight students, and two full-timers. With the addition of the in-house shows, this number rose to 26-28 crew members with a slightly more student-heavy ratio.”
Show and Tell: New Venue Sweetens Recruitment, Campus-Wide Support
Named after Cecil O’Brate, a Class of 1948 graduate who is footing more than half the bill, the stadium is more than just a venue. The university’s second athletic structure to be built in the 21st century (softball’s Cowgirl Stadium in 2001 is the first), the new baseball heaven can help entice prospective students and athletes.
— Cowboy Baseball (@OSUBaseball) February 21, 2020
This initiative shows the university’s unwavering support for one of the institution’s premiere teams and for the next chapter of Oklahoma State University Baseball.
“We have great facilities across the board,” says Lickert, “but this facility is the manifestation of the commitment that this school has to this sport.”
Oklahoma State says goodbye to Allie P. Reynolds Stadium on Sunday, March 15 vs. Fresno State. The university will say hello to O’Brate Stadium with its inaugural game on March 20 vs. conference foe TCU.