The Charlotte Knights took another step toward the opening of their brand new stadium on Wednesday when they announced a partnership with Toshiba Managed Business Services and Total Sports Entertainment (TSE) on the construction and operation of the widest video board in minor league baseball.
On a sun splashed afternoon at the recently opened Romare Bearden Park directly across from the BB&T Ballpark construction site, the Knights unveiled plans for the 30-by-82 foot HD videoboard consisting of nearly three million LED lamps. It will be located in left-center field and give fans a front row seat to all of the team’s on-field promotions, in-game entertainment, as well as up-to-the-minute scores, highlights, and instant replays.
“As we went through this exercise of creating an image of BB&T Ballpark, one of the things that was apparent to me and to all of us was we had to be on the cutting edge of technology,” said Knights Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Dan Rajkowski at the 20-minute presentation. “That meant our boards, our sound, Wi-Fi systems, so we began the bid process for partners to get us through that.”
According to Rajkowski there were a number of regional and national interests in the project with Toshiba and TSE being selected. While not considered the low bidders, the team chose each of their partners for various reasons including technology, length of contracts and what the team needed to invest. No specific numbers were given, but the Knights portion of the investment will be $3 million.
In addition to the main board that will easily surpass anything in the International League and six times larger than the one they left behind at their Fort Mill facility, the Knights will feature a 14-by-35 foot LED exterior video display, an 8-by-120 foot LED ribbon board display along the right field wall, two 3-by 32 ½ foot fascia ribbon LED displays along the upper level façade on both sides of the stadium, and an LED video ribbon board measuring 2 ½- by 42 ¾ feet within BB&T Ballpark’s five-section ticket plaza.
The video center that controls everything around the ballpark is estimated to come in just over a million dollars and the entire project is custom made at Toshiba’s Cartersville, Georgia plant. There will be 72 digital displays and up to 140 high definition televisions around the building.
This is Toshiba’s first venture into minor league baseball as well as a startup facility like BB&T Ballpark. The framework for the new board is up and ready for that end of the stadium work to begin once the parts are shipped into Charlotte.
Notes: Construction on the new stadium is both on target and on budget. Installation of the new seats begins next week and the new sod, which was originally planned to go in next spring, will be also begin a week from now.
Light towers are up but not functional at this point, however, the team expects to do initial testing of them at the end of the month.