As the Seattle Mariners’ exhibition season was approaching closure Thursday, the team unveiled a new acquisition at Safeco Field: A 21st century scoreboard.
With a screen equal to 2,182 42-inch flat screens, the MarinersVision scoreboard contains the largest video screen in Major League Baseball.
It also ranks as North America’s third-largest sports venue video screen, behind those at Daytona International Speedway and Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“You’ll never watch baseball at Safeco Field the same way again,” Kevin Martinez, the Mariners’ vice president of marketing, said before a demonstration of the scoreboard for the media. Martinez noted that when Safeco Field fans were asked for ways to improve their ballpark experience, the “No. 1 suggestion” was an upgraded scoreboard.
“For the past few seasons, we’ve kind of kept the old one together with tape and baling wire,” Mariners’ vice president of communications Randy Adamack said of the original scoreboard, installed when the park opened in 1999. “It’s been 14 years, and we’ve gone through three or four generations of technology since then. It was time to replace it.”
In addition to the fundamental information – runs, hits and errors – a statistical chart for batters will include such “advanced” statistics as on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS, a combination of the two.
Replays will be enhanced by four manned cameras as well as a fifth camera over center field, operated from a booth in the press box broadcast center. Tweets from fans will appear periodically.
“This is going to be the most interactive fan-focused venue in all of sports,” Martinez said.
Citing a confidentiality agreement with the video screen provider, the Mariners declined to disclose the stand-alone cost of the scoreboard.
But when included with other alterations to the ballpark – changes in the outfield wall dimensions and a new open-air cantina in left field among them – the team estimated $15 million was spent for upgrades. (The Mariners paid all costs associated with the projects.)
Fans eager for a sneak preview of the video board are invited to attend an open house at Safeco Field on Monday night.
Gates will open at 6, with the Mariners’ season opener at Oakland scheduled to be shown at 7.
An RSVP isn’t required, but those who register for the open house at www.mariners.com will receive a free T-shirt.
As of Thursday afternoon, 12,000 fans had registered.