Bronco Stadiums 12-year-old video board was in such bad shape when it came down Monday that Boise State recycled its parts.
We considered donating it and letting some other people use it, Senior Associate Athletic Director Curt Apsey said. We felt like it might cost more for someone to install it than its actually worth.
That illustrates how dire the need for a new board had become. The original board was expected to last eight to 10 years, Apsey said. Parts became difficult to find, and he worried whether it could make it through another season.
The challenge: paying for a replacement. When Boise-based Agri Beef Co. offered its help, Boise State began a mad dash to purchase and install a state-of-the-art, high-definition video board in the north end in time for the home opener Saturday against UT Martin.
The board, and accompanying sound system, will be operational Saturday, but the project is not quite finished. The mesh that covers the speaker cabinets couldnt be completed because of wind conditions.
From the day it was announced, the new video board has been a hot topic with fans.
Were excited to see how its going to change the game atmosphere for everybody, Apsey said.
It used to be just NFL players who could look at a giant video board to see if anyone was chasing them.
It looks pretty cool, senior wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn said. Maybe some day you get a chance to look at yourself running into the end zone.
ENHANCING THE GAME
Daktronics software will run the board, which can display live video during game action, the game clock and score, replays, stats, out-of-town scores, sponsor logos and advertisements.
Weve got some really great promotional stuff planned that the fans will enjoy, Apsey said.
Daktronics holds about 65 percent of the professional and college markets, regional sales manager Mark Johnson said. Its projects include the new video board at Husky Stadium in Seattle and boards for the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Daktronics is based in Brookings, S.D., home of South Dakota State. It was founded in 1968 by two professors of engineering who wanted to keep engineers in the state.
Can you hear me now?
The biggest issue with the old sound system was its most basic function.
More than anything, it was the ability for our fans to understand what the P.A. announcer was saying, Apsey said. It was just such an old system that weve been cutting and pasting for the last 10 years.
The system wasnt even designed to handle music, which has become an important part of stadium sound.
Todays modern music, it really taxed the old system, said Brian Kohagen, sales/audio engineer for Production Services International in Boise.
The new system was built with new components and cost $260,000.
PSI has helped Boise State upgrade the sound system for about a decade updating amplifiers, adding long-throw horns, replacing wiring and moving the speakers from the south to the north. We always had problems getting over the crowd noise, Kohagen said.
The break-in period
Kohagen and two other PSI employees will walk Bronco Stadium on Saturday monitoring and adjust ing the sound system. Its all computerized, so they can make adjustments from almost anywhere.
Were hoping we can (get it tuned) with this first game, Kohagen said. Im sure there will be some input coming back from the crowd. With brand-new systems, there are bound to be a few hiccups.
Apsey will monitor the video production. Last week at Husky Stadium, a workers arm could be seen dangling from inside the new video screen during pregame as he worked on a panel.
I know that everything is not going to be perfect, Apsey said. We hope as the season goes on we just get better at it.
'Double R Vision'
Agri Beef provided the lead gift for the video board, which will be named Double R Vision. The name comes from the Double R Ranch brand, which is one of Agri Beefs premium beef lines.
The video and sound systems cost $1.5 million. Agri Beef declined to detail its contribution, but Boise State told the State Board of Education that it had $500,000 in committed donations for the project.
Agri Beef employs about 1,200. It has ranch, feed and processing operations in addition to beef products. The company previously contributed to the Stueckle Sky Center. The main banquet room is called the Double R Ranch Club.
Agri Beef officials told Apsey to call when it came time to replace the old video board. The company hopes to increase its visibility in its home market, where only one small retailer in Eagle carries its products.
How many cameras? Boise State has four HD cameras to feed the video board.
Can the system expand? Panels could be added to the video board, but that would require an addition to the support structure as well. The sound system can be expanded with more speakers.
What about the fans under the upper-deck overhang? They wont be able to see the video board. Theyll see the video content on TV screens instead. Additional TVs have been added since last year.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398,Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat