This is the third and final post in the Enhance Your Experience series, sponsored by Samsung. We were asked to write on the impact technology is having on college sports, but the editorial content is ours alone.
Photos by Skyline Outdoor.
So, those pictures aren't quite current (Old Kent Bank ads!) but the scoreboards at Spartan Stadium still look the same as they did then. And therein lies the problem: they're not so good, and quite outdated. From my seats in Section 27 (northwest corner of the stadium), I can see the south endzone scoreboard well enough: but it's small and square, and highly un-high definition. And that's clearly the better end of the stadium. The south endzone scoreboard is seemingly powered by Edison-era light bulb technology, and typically provides little by way of valuable information during the game. (I think, at least; I hardly ever look at it.) So, if your area of the stadium doesn't have a view of the south endzone scoreboard (e.g., the student section), you're truly out of luck.
I've had the pleasure of seeing MSU play in many other stadiums in the past few seasons; almost all of the stadiums had better scoreboards than those in our football palace on the banks of the Red Cedar. See for yourself: Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, and Pittsburgh. Now, a few caveats: first, including Pitt on the list is a bit unfair, because Heinz Field is first and foremost an NFL stadium.. Second, many of those stadiums, like MSU, have a primary scoreboard on one side of the field, and a decidedly more low-tech one on the opposite side. Third, for years, Notre Dame's scoreboard was notoriously (and intentionally) poor; I haven't been to a game there since the new scoreboards were installed, so I can't add them to the list. Finally, Penn State's main scoreboard is kinda meh, too. But, in each of those seven stadiums listed above, excellent scoreboards do a whole lot to help fan enjoyment -- particularly those in bad seats. (Thus, good scoreboards certainly can tip the stay home, or go to the game? argument.)
In any event, there are limitations to what MSU can do -- particularly in the north endzone, where it's essential to preserve the great view of the buildings and trees on the north campus. But my visits to the other stadiums reinforced to me, at least, that scoreboards, if done right, can do quite a lot to enhance the gameday experience -- both by displaying real-time stats, and being able to show sharper video replay.
The athletic department and the university aren't exactly cash-rich these days, so I'm not expecting upgrades to come soon. But, I know that there is a master plan for continuing upgrades to the stadium -- both to the facade, and to the interior of the stadium -- and I do hope that scoreboard upgrades will be part of the process.
So: what upgrades, scoreboards or otherwise, would you like to see made to Spartan Stadium?
Thanks again to Samsung for supporting our work at The Only Colors.