For those of you who don't know, in a past life, I was a sports journalist who covered the wide world of collegiate sports, in particular Division II football and baseball. On Sept. 10, I traveled to Hickory, NC, to watch Ferris State—the No. 1 team in the country and defending national champion—take on the hometown Lenoir-Rhyne Bears in a nationally ranked battle.
On the field, the game played out, but surrounding the field, as part of an upgrade to both Moretz Stadium and sports complex, two Daktronics video boards brought extra wow to this huge, early season matchup.
The stadium, surrounded by brick walls which has led to the endearing "Between the Bricks" slogan, was in need of an upgrade. Justin Hay, the associate athletic director for corporate relations and facilities/game day operations, explained that the previous video board, which measured 12x21 feet, was installed in 2011. That video board was both smaller and less technologically functional than what was available just over a decade later.
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Now both end zones are donned with brilliant video boards. The main video board stands in the far end zone and is a monster, standing at 27.5 feet high by 60 feet wide. The secondary board is up off the field, hung upon the outside of the gym and measures 12 feet high by 32 feet wide. As Hay explained, both displays incorporate 13HD pixel layouts with wide-angle visibility to bring excellent image clarity and contrast to fans in every seat.
Furthermore, the new boards are capable of variable content zoning which allows them to show one large image or to be separated into multiple zones to show any variety of live video, instant replays, statistics and game information, graphics and animations, and sponsorship messages. Throughout the game, colorful graphics encouraging the fans to get loud and multiple advertisements ran throughout the game, sometimes three at once. It was all controlled right next to me in the press box using Daktronics graphics software. It seemed very easy to use, simply clicking the button of the graphic or content needed at the precise moment.
The boards were ready to roll for the new 2022 football season and went off seemingly without a hitch. How much does Lenoir-Rhyne like what they are seeing? "We are currently installing two video boards in Shuford Gymnasium (home to the Bears men's and women's basketball teams, as well as the women's volleyball team) that are 11.5 feet high by 19.5 feet wide and will feature 3.9-millimeter pixel spacing, along with a new 30-inch LED scorer's table," Hay explained.
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"We have also purchased a new Daktronics board for baseball that will be installed before the start of the 2023 season. This board is 17 feet tall and 24 feet wide and will have Daktronics new 10 HD image clarity. This will replace the current board that is 9 feet x 20 feet."
According to Hay, not only has the equipment produced, but so has Daktronics itself. "We are excited to be partnering with Daktronics on these upgrades to our facilities," Hay concluded. "These new video boards will allow us to deliver on our increased commitment to the best game-day environment possible."