New info about Coliseum scoreboard project

People have been asking me everyday about the state of the new Coliseum scoreboard project. Until this week, all I could say was that most of the work would be happening in February and March. That’s partly because the Coliseum’s two scheduled major events: AMA Supercross last weekend, and Monster Jam on February 21.

Jane Lee’s column on Monday answered a question about the scoreboards.

Any update on if the A’s will have new scoreboards this year?
— Mike S., Alameda, Calif.

According to David Rinetti, the A’s vice president of stadium operations, the process for implementing the new HD video boards began Dec. 22, the day after the Raiders’ final home game, and is on track to be completed by the time gates open for an April 4 exhibition game against the Giants. Along with new scoreboards, new ribbon boards will also be on display by this time.

The new scoreboards will each measure approximately 36 feet tall and 145 feet wide.

Today a new Clubhouse Confidential blog post shed more light on the project. Renderings were also provided.

Rendering of new display package


To put things in perspective, each new board, which will take up the entire scoreboard frame in LF and RF, is almost 50 yards wide and 3 stories tall. There will be no permanent ad signs, though you can be sure that ads will be fixtures in the new video presentation. Still, there’s plenty of room on the boards themselves. Daktronics’ 13HD LED tech is being installed, just like the recent installations at Levi’s Stadium, Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, and Jacksonville’s EverBank Field. If you’ve been to Levi’s, the new Coli’s boards compare with Levi’s south end zone board, which is 48′ x 142′.

Behind north end zone

Behind north end zone at Levi’s Stadium (view of south scoreboard)

Each pixel is 13 mm in size, or roughly a half-inch for those of you stubbornly stuck on Imperial measurements. That plots the pixel count at 854 x 3400, a very long panel though not so tall it can do Full HD (1080p). That’s the literal constraint the scoreboard frames provide. Considering that most people will be at least 150 feet away from a clear view of either scoreboard, I doubt anyone could tell the difference.

Ribbon boards are also being installed along the front of the plaza level seats. Those will be 5 feet high (Update: 3’6″ high) by 415 wide. 5 feet high is a bit curious, because it’s taller than the 3-4 feet high ribbon boards often seen elsewhere. I wonder if the boards will obstruct views from the lower concourse more than the already low-hanging second deck does. They only go from the end of the deck (Sections 200, 234) to the edge of the infield (211, 223) so at least the prime viewing areas won’t be affected. For those of you wondering about how ads and other information will be presented, consider that with few permanent signs remaining, ad space on both the ribbon boards and main scoreboards will be done on a sort of time-share basis. Sponsored promotions will appear far more prominently than before, which should lead to higher advertising rates by the A’s and the JPA/Raiders, who split revenue during Raiders games.

According to the Chicago Tribune’s 2014 visual comparison, each of the two new main scoreboards would place in the middle of the pack among MLB ballparks, though having two is something no ballpark can boast (nor should it). Recently there’s been a sort of Jumbotron arms race, with many displays less than a decade old being replaced by larger, crisper versions.

SB Nation comparison from May 2014

Chicago Tribune scoreboard comparison from May 2014

Yes, for once a key feature at the Coliseum will be superior to that at China Basin. However, the Giants have the scoreboard front and center, a much better placement than at the Coli. We all know what sits beyond CF in Oakland.

So say goodbye to this old relic, and hello to new technology at the Coliseum, which is always welcome.

The old scoreboard and DiamondVision combo

The old scoreboard and DiamondVision combo

One thing to keep in mind about all this scoreboard hubbub is that the A’s and Earthquakes (same ownership group) have been working on three different scoreboard projects in the last year: at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, and now the Coliseum. If there’s anything they’ll have a lot of experience with going into a new ballpark in Oakland, this is it.

P.S. (2:45 PM) – I checked with David Rinetti. He confirmed that the ribbon boards are 3’6″ high, so there shouldn’t be any obstruction issues. He also told me that the old scoreboards parts are being recycled, so they won’t be donated or auctioned off. Much of the original equipment has already been hauled away.

52 thoughts on “New info about Coliseum scoreboard project

  1. I’m going to miss the old scoreboards, where every day was Turn Back the Clock Day!

  2. That’s a nice upgrade. Thanks Lew, you have removed one more complaint (concern), I have had about the A’s ownership.

  3. Is that Cespedes in the promotional shot? Please tell me that’s not Cespedes in the promotional shot. That’s Cespedes in the promotional shot. #facepalm

    • That’s not a promotional shot. That’s my own photo at the bottom. Coco is in the A’s renderings.

      • Ah. Yeah, I was referring to the A’s rendering with Coco (thought it was Cespedes). That’s more reassuring. It would be so A’s if they used Cespedes in their own renderings.

      • I still look at the Coliseum North renderings with Chaves and the Fremont renderings with Melhuse… it’s like a cavalcade of everything A’s… failed ballpark plans and former players that loved them on the next Maury.

  4. Was there any Raiders contribution to this project or just Wolff/Fischer?

    • Wasn’t it part of the 10-year lease agreement signed by Wolff? Glad that the Raiders chipped in with…umm…Mt. Davis, which the city of Oakland is still paying off.

      • Total random story about Mt Davis incoming:

        I remember being at a game when they were building it and there were construction workers up there during he game. ‘YMCA’ started playing over the sound system between innings and the fattest man you’ve ever seen, who happened to be one of the workers up there, started doing the dance. Imagine an elephant seal doing the YMCA dance and you’ll get the picture.

      • The City of Oakland is helping pay for those scoreboards with the 5 million dollars Lew Wolff wrestled away from Oakland tax payers via the contested parking fees at the Coliseum.

      • Lew Wolff is paying at least 5 million additionally to complete the project. Plus we shouldn’t forget that this all started when the JPA took money set aside from the scoreboards AWAY to fund initial Coliseum City studies. A lot of good that has done.

      • SMG: Yes, that was Icebox and the Hard Hats. He’s worked security there and, IIRC, other venues in the Bay Area for a long time, and he’s also done roller derby and local indy pro wrestling. Robert Smith is his name. We’ve talked a lot over the years and he was always very friendly.

  5. …or a new ballpark in one of the “$everal” Bay Area alternatives. But yes, good looking scoreboards; way over due!

  6. P.S. (2:45 PM) – I checked with David Rinetti. He confirmed that the ribbon boards are 3’6″ high, so there shouldn’t be any obstruction issues. He also told me that the old scoreboards parts are being recycled, so they won’t be donated or auctioned off. Much of the original equipment has already been hauled away.

  7. I have to say, a part of me is sad to see the old Diamond Vision go. It was so ghetto, but also so very very A’s.

  8. FanFest got more interesting. It’s not every day you get to see the installation of a new video board.

  9. So the Oakland A’s will be getting a 5220 square foot scoreboard x 2 compared to the smallish 3200 square foot scoreboard in San Francisco. This is a good thing. One more thing the Coliseum will have over AT&T Park besides a BART station and better weather.

    • You can compare video boards to video boards. Everything else you said is irrelevant. They are a necessary upgrade that, unfortunately, won’t change the Coliseum’s status as the worst facility in baseball.

    • While the A’s new boards are an improvement, and on individually bigger than the Giants lone board, they’re by no means huge by today’s standards. I mean the Padres are installing the largest board in the NL right now at 7,564 sq ft. And that is still quaint compared to the AL’s biggest board in Seattle which at 11,425 sq ft is bigger than both of the A’s new boards put together.

  10. Great news! Hope they get mothballed in 5 years for a new yard.

  11. would like to welcome the coliseum to the 21st century.

  12. With the sizable investment in the new scoreboards, I just wonder if Lew Wolff would be considering reusing them in an eventual new A’s ballpark. That is of course, given that these new scoreboards won’t become obsolete by the time the A’s finally get to move into their new ballpark.

  13. considering the current ones being installed are supposedly as good as the ones that the niners have at levi’s i’d say if the a’s were to build a new park at the coliseum site or even as some hope in sj, at this point i could care less as i just want a damn new park somewhere i the bay area, one of those score boards likely will be in the new park. the a’s and or city of oakland could sell the other one.

    if if the city of oakland stupidly would choose the raiders over the a’s then i think both of these new scoreboards could be in any future raiders stadium at both end zones?

    • @letsgoas

      Presumably you meant ” You couldn’t care less”, sorry you could probably correct half the stuff I write. (If not more)

    • I could see that happening if the A’s stay through the full term, 2024. Then they could transition the boards, even combine them into a single board. In 10 years these boards will be pretty outdated compared to what comes in the meantime, so it might not be worth it. The lease calls for the JPA to reimburse the A’s if the A’s are kicked out early due to a new Raiders stadium.

      • if they combined the two it would create by far the second biggest scoreboard in mlb only behind sea’s safeco field and well ahead of kc’s kauffman stadium.

        sea’s safeco-11,425 square feet
        kc’s kauffman-8,736 square feet

        combining the two scoreboards at the coliseum would create a 10,450 square feet scoreboard.

        even if they did do that down the road pretty sure other teams will have gotten bigger and better scoreboards.

      • At a certain point you can’t go any larger. Seattle and Houston filled up the last remaining open spaces under their roofs with scoreboard. The next iterations will be greater pixel count/finer resolution, and lower power usage. And if those don’t work from an ROI standpoint it’s probably not worth the upgrade.

      • @letsgoas
        The new scoreboard is cool, but I would go that far with it. At some point, it’s like putting new rims on an old car; the rims themselves are worth more than the car. Without a new venue it would just start to be ridiculous. (IMHO)

      • “Wouldn’t go that far”

      • no doubt the coliseum is still a hot steaming pile of mess.

        or in this article’s view, “putting lipstick on a pig”.

        but at least when you go to games both as a fan and player you don’t have to use binoculars to see a replay of a play.

  14. ML,
    Have you heard if they will be doing any upgrades to the sound system? I don’t remember reading about any improvements suggested for that in the lease agreement but I just wanted to check with you.

    This may make me sound ungrateful but the sound system is in desperate need of an upgrade. Having these awesome new HD screens will be like watching a movie on a theater screen with audio coming from a can with our current system. But that’s probably just the editor in me complaining.

    • I don’t know the answer, but it’s a fair question.

    • The contract says the audio system could be upgraded. It’s an option both sides could exercise. I get the feeling that they won’t do it because there simply isn’t much ROI for it. You’re right though, it needs as much of an overhaul as the displays, probably to a proper distributed system instead of another single-point system.

      • How many ballparks still have single point systems? I know Dodger Stadium also still has its system, but is anyone else still using such a system?

    • That’s true, the sound is just awful. It’s way more of an annoyance than the boards were, as you don’t need big boards to see baseball replays (for football they were a little more problematic).

  15. I want the board to read CHARRRGE! like back in the day…

  16. Amazing that the Coliseum will finally have SOMETHING modern installed. In fact something bigger and nicer than over half the league. And between the two of them the A’s will have more screen real estate than most teams (and in particular the Giants). Doesn’t make up for the Coliseum itself still being a dump, but it is nice to see the place get some form of an upgrade for the first time since the mid-90’s. Hopefully as their stadium search continues to drag on Wolff embraces the madness and continues to touch up the old girl here and there to at least make it somewhat tolerable compared to the competition around MLB.

    • The videoboard placement still sucks. I usually sit on the Plaza Level behind homeplate, so basically half way between each videoboard. If you want to look at a video board, you have to turn your head 90 degrees, which gets uncomfortable if there’s a something playing for more than a minute. Also, you have to completely move your eyes away from the action on the field to look at the board.

      • Also, if you’re under the overhang on the Field Level and even parts of the Plaza Level, you can’t see the entire board.

        It’s great that the A’s are doing something to make the fan experience better, but there’s only so much that can be done at the current stadium.

      • Compare that to the Giants, were the board is illegible in much of the bleachers and arcade seats (too close or at too much of an angle), and you have to turn your head completely around from all the outfield seats and those in left field. The fact that there are two at the Collie make it much more likely that each seat has a good view of at least one, with some exceptions.

  17. I’ll never forget that old lightbulb scoreboard that made pictures of each batter. Davey Lopes looked especially creepy on opening night, 1982. I better stop now, just thinking of the old Coliseum with real bleachers still pisses me off.

    • Yep, I remember when they put in the original Diamond Vision screen. In fact in the mid-80’s someone wrote Dodger Dogs to Fenway Franks about visiting every MLB park. He rated the Coli as one of the best overall AV experiences.

      It’s safe to say things have changed a bit since then.

      • I love that book. I think the Coliseum came in 7th overall. Back when it was more important to have a good team in a crappy stadium than a crappy team in a good stadium.

  18. Glad to see the new score/video boards going up. To me they are a tad bit too large, but that’s just me. They will be a big improvement. The part I really do not like is the ribbon boards. So distracting! I will miss looking at the (Ring)Scoreboard that has been there through all the glory years of the A’s and Raiders. Lots of memories either in person or on TV (camera shots) with the game on the line and time running down (Raiders) or late innings (for A’s). Now we will have advertising and group cheers instead.

    • I find them distracting too, and not really useful except as a mechanism to show ads. While the old ribbon boards used to be different (they had specific slots for the score, inning/quarter, etc. until they were replaced in 2002 by the anything-goes board that we had until now), they got the job done.

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