RE: “I’m tired of living in the land of dismal scoreboards”

Ottawa Stadium's spectacular scoreboard

I came across an article in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday. It was written by Bruce Ward, and the topic was the Ottawa Senators’ gigantic Jumbotron that casts a shadow over the ice surface at Scotiabank Place. This post is my reply to that article.

Here is a bit of what he had to say:

The scoreboard at Scotiabank Place is outdated and boring. Every time I look up, I expect to see flashing light bulbs that spell out “Nothing to Look At Here.” It reminds me of a giant hot-water tank that runs on kerosene…

…I want a scoreboard that shows Alfie’s latest X-rays and MRI results. A scoreboard that displays photos of who the players are dating, with helpful captions like “Dresses kind of slutty,” “Only after his money” and “Wonder why such a beauty is going out with a forward who is a total numpty.”

I realize that the Senators are a top-tier pro hockey team, and that the Scotiabank Place is a world-class 20,000 seat arena. However, Mr. Ward, you should take a look at some of the other sports scoreboards around the City of Ottawa before you complain about SBP’s Jumbotron again. You will then see just how fortunate Sens fans are.

Imagine if  the Senators’s scoreboard was so bad, that you couldn’t see the score, the shots on goal, or any penalties until the end of the period. That’s basically what Ottawa Fat Cats fans have to deal with every single time they enter Ottawa Stadium to catch a baseball game. The analog part of the scoreboard which usually displays the count, the score, the batter’s average, the hits and the errors is completely broken, as you can see in the picture.

You’re begging for a brand spankin’ new, 10 Gajillion pixel, blue line-to-blue line, HD Jumbotron. Let’s face it, you’ll get that. The all-star game is coming to Ottawa, and Melnyk already confirmed it on the radio for next season. In the mean time, OSG hasn’t even made an announcement yet on fixing Ottawa Stadium’s scoreboard.

At least your concerns are being dealt with.

    • Pierre
    • August 15th, 2011

    I agree with you that Mr. Ward should stop complaining. I think however his article was somewhat tongue in cheek.

    You go to a sports event not to look at the board. You should be looking at the action on the field/ice most of the time. The scoreboard is there to provide information and occasional entertainment. They are nice to haves. But if you’re going to go there to just watch the video board, might as well stay home and watch the game on TV.

    As for the baseball stadium’s scoreboard, you’re talking to the operator of said board. If I had known about Ward’s article, I would have flashed “Nothing to look at here” as a joke. Believe me, as the operator, I’m as frustrated as anyone about the state of the board and hope it has enough life left in it to make it through the remaining games this season.

    A few things to remember. The lease says any stadium improvements must be made and paid by the team. The Fat Cats just don’t have that much money for all improvements, at least not all of them at the same time.

    To their credit, the Fat Cats have put an enormous amount of money in the scoreboard this year. I found out that amount but won’t repeat it here but I can tell you it’s insane. I can tell you that a company came at least 3 times this year to fix it. First, the normal pre-season maintenance and twice after that, each time costing a huge sum. The board has never failed mid-way through a season the way it has until last year and this year is worse.

    The system is simply showing its age. In fact, I think we are witnessing its last few days of operation.

    What are the Fat Cats doing about it? If the board is going to be a money pit next year as it was this year, something will have to be done.

    The most complaints have been people not knowing the inning or score as it can’t be up there all the time. An idea being discussed is simply to build a manual board for next year. No video. While video would be nice, the team can’t afford it. If people like Ward are not going to come to games because there’s no video, well that’s their problem. But judging from the crowds recently, I think they come for the entertainment on the field and crowd atmosphere.

    • Pierre
    • August 15th, 2011

    Thanks for the link, I’ll pass it along. Don’t know how much that thing would cost but looks like what the stadium needs. Whatever the cost, surely it would be less than maintaining the current one.

    Yes, the current one is in bad shape, it is almost 20 years old after all. Wasn’t used for a whole year in 2009 which probably didn’t help. Did you ever look at the back of it? There’s a partially opened panel where water can get in. Don’t know if the company got lazy, forgot or they just couldn’t close it properly but it happens to be the area (top left corner looking at the video board) that’s causing problems. It rained last night and who knows when we’ll be playing in the finals so let’s all cross our fingers it can last for just three more games. Otherwise, not only will nobody know the score and inning, there won’t be ball and strikes.

    Would people prefer a manual board? Do they care about video? Maybe you should have a poll.

    A new video board costs $700k, way too much for the Fat Cats. Someone told me if Scotiabank Place is getting a new one, just install the old one at the stadium. Problem is, it may not be appropriate for outdoor use.

    Another option I suggested is renting a jumbotron screen but after some research, these things cost thousands per _day_.

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