Despite the power of other Division I college football teams, Boston College‘s biggest competition is living rooms.
BC’s Director of Athletics, Bradley Bates, blogged about the “living room experience,” and the college’s struggle to get fans out of La-Z-Boys and into Alumni Stadium’s stands:
“I watched the [Super Bowl] from the comfort of my living room and although the game was not close, it was enjoyable…The TV projected images in high definition, the audio was clear and almost every play had slow motion replays allowing me to assess every detail and discuss with friends. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience.
As [BC] prepares for the upcoming season, we are framing our game experience against our living rooms; we must provide a very affordable experience that appeals to a diversity of demographics.”
BC’s secret weapons against living rooms are its new, 19 feet x 54 feet video boards, installed at each end zone at Alumni Stadium.
Bates says that the college’s old video boards were too small and too old – they were half the size of the new boards and exceeded their shelf life by four to five years.
“We just had to [replace them],” he says. “With the evolution of technology in homes, living rooms have become our competition.”
Since installing these video boards in August, BC has become a tough competitor in the Northeast, since it is the first and only northeastern school to have video boards with 13HD LED technology and 13 mm between LEDs.
“They have the tightest resolution around,” says John Moore, the associate director of interactive media services for BC’s athletic department.
Moore says that one of the biggest challenges the college faced was picking a spot to install the boards.
“We even looked at the 50 yard line,” he says. “But the cost was excessive, so we went where we had the previous boards, which was in the end zones.”
The boards were manufactured and installed by Daktronics. It took Daktronics ten weeks to build them, and two weeks to install in Alumni Stadium.
“It’s a great product, lots of stadiums around the country have it,” says Dave D’Amico, the sales representative for Daktronics for the United States and Canada. “BC decided to get a jump on the technology and do something that will look fantastic for the next ten to 15 years.”
Moore says that Daktronics evaded all potential problems, and if they did face any, they were ready.
“We were involved from the beginning,” he says. “We are happy with how it came out.”
Aside from building, shipping and installing BC’s video boards, Daktronics also integrated the scoring/timing systems and created the content that is displayed on each board.
“It changes the atmosphere of the fans’ experience,” D’Amico says. “In addition to the sharpness and brightness of the larger displays, the information that the fans get to see include stats, Twitter feeds, out of town scores around the league, and scores from the NFL.”