COLUMBIA — The MU department of athletics is giving fans 1.7 million crystal clear reasons to attend Saturday’s football game.
Along with the new scoreboard and sound system at Memorial Stadium, upgrades at other MU sports venues include:
- A $350,000 video board for baseball at Taylor Stadium
- A $275,000 video board and sound system for soccer along with track and field at Walton Stadium
- A $250,000 LED scorer's table for basketball at Mizzou Arena
- Potentially a $200,000 video board at the MU softball stadium
Memorial Stadium’s new $3.5 million scoreboard, set to be unveiled when the Tigers face Bowling Green, uses 1.7 million LEDs, or light emitting diodes, to produce up to 4.4 trillion different shades of color.
The human eye can’t see anywhere near that many shades, but the new scoreboard allows for it, said Mark Steinkamp, MU marketing manager for Daktronics Inc.
The new scoreboard, purchased from Daktronics, is nearly triple the size of the old scoreboard, measuring 30 feet by 80 feet.
“We’ve heard from fans for years that the sound and video weren’t very good, especially on sunny days,” said Andrew Grinch, MU assistant athletics director for marketing.
The glare of the sun will not be an issue with the new scoreboard, which features the same HDX, or High Definition User Experience, technology used at the Kansas City Royals' Kauffman Stadium.
The scoreboard is among the best in college football, said Mark Alnutt, MUsenior associate athletics director.
The old scoreboard, installed in 1997, became outdated and required increased maintenance costs with each season, said Chad Moeller, MU assistant athletics director for media relations.
The department spent $5 million upgrading the video and audio equipment at its sports facilities, including a new sound system at Memorial Stadium.
Aside from the clarity of the picture, the scoreboard allows the operators much more freedom in the ways it can be used.
“It's really a blank pallet that can be painted any way the operators want it. They can split screens with out-of-town scores from around the country, whatever,” Steinkamp said.
MU also paid $100,000 to sports technology consultant Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon &Williams Inc. to help evaluate existing technology and see where changes could be made.
Operators will use the center of the scoreboard primarily for live video and use the edges for advertising. The department will use the opposite side of the board for advertising targeted at those traveling outside the stadium.
Alnutt said the new equipment gives the department greater inventory to provide to potential sponsors.
“Eventually these boards will pay for themselves and then some,” Alnutt said.
The new audio system allows fans to hear music and the sounds of the game clearly, regardless of where they are in the stadium.
“Fans are going to hear and see things they think are new, that they’ve just never noticed before because of the increased clarity,” Grinch said.
Grinch, who will be one of the people operating the scoreboard, said the biggest challenge is ensuring that operators and KOMU/Channel 8, which provides live video, are on the same page.
Rain slowed the installation of the system, and Alnutt said it might only be 90 percent complete by the home opener. “It may be missing some brick at the foundation or a portion of the roof, but it won’t be an issue that’s going to take away from the fan experience,” Alnutt said.
Grinch said operators have conducted video and audio testing during the past week and it will be ready for game day.
In addition to the new scoreboard and sound system, there will also be two new LED boards at the southeast and southwest corners of the stadium.