Displays On The Way

West Virginia's new scoreboards in both the Coliseum and Milan Puskar Stadium will be on the cutting edge of today's technology and provide an almost completely customizable viewing experience for fans, according to a general manager for Panasonic.

Tony Turiello, who oversees Panasonic's Sports and Entertainment Systems, confirmed that new boards will be installed in both venues for the 2008 seasons, and described them in detail.

"The work in both has already begun, and will be ready this year," Turiello said. "In the Coliseum, there will be a large LED four-sided screen that is center hung. The rigging work for that is being completed now. There will also be two "Halo" LED screens, a smaller one above, and a larger one below, the center hung main screen."

The "Halo" screens are circular displays, totally configurable and changeable, that can display messages, statistics, or any information desired to the crowd. The large main board is also capable of video play, filling a gap that has forever existed in the amenities of the building.

That's not all that is slated for the showcase of Mountaineer basketball, however. Additional "ribbon" boards will also be placed behind each basket, likely on the façade of the lower deck, that will allow the score, time and other important information to be quickly seen by the players on the floor. All of this work will be completed before the replacement of the floor, which is the final step in this phase of Coliseum renovations.

The advantages to the new scoreboards are numerous. Each, as mentioned previously, is fully configurable, which will allow WVU to display any information, in any format, that is desired. The large board is also partitionable, which means that the board can be divided into different display areas. One section could display the score and stats, while another displays video, advertisements, or other information. Being software controlled, the board is also upgradeable to allow for enhancements as they come about, without the added expense of replacing the hardware involved.

Also included in the package is a scoring system, which allows game stats, scores of other games and other information to be instantly transmitted and updated to the boards. In all, the package will give WVU one of the best total systems in a college venue in the country.

While the work in the Coliseum is visible, as the old scoreboard has already been moved, the work in the stadium has just begun. The video board above the Puskar Center will be removed and replaced with a full color LED display some 80 feet in length. Like the Coliseum board, this one will also be fully changeable and customizable, and will provide much clearer and crisper video display. The stadium will also receive two ribbon boards that run almost the entire length of the façade of the upper deck. Each of these boards will be some three hundred feet in length. Updates will also be made to the old scoreboard at the north (hospital) end of the field, with the addition of LED color boards to the display. The static scoreboard portion of that board is scheduled to remain in place.

According to Turiello, the benefits of the fully customizable boards are many, and go beyond what fans will see when they view the new displays

"Most of the signage at West Virginia was static," he noted. "But with the new changeable signs, the revenue potential is increased. Adding a new spot is less costly than in changing a static sign, and while there still will be a few of those in place, the LED system allows for more sponsors to be included."

Of course, the fan experience is also a key component of the new systems. The displays being installed will be the equal of those seen in professional venues, and should allow for quicker and more accurate display of information to those in attendance. The scoring system, in particular, should make the availability of game statistics and other scores much more consistent than it has in the past.

Turiello also noted that while the boards will not initially display video in HD, they are capable of doing so.

"In the future, once HD cameras are in place, the board is fully capable of displaying those images," he confirmed. "That's just one example of how the system is prepared to handle upgrades."

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