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The Mariners this offseason "will install a huge, gigantic, enormous new Jumbotron at Safeco Field, replacing the old scoreboard that was part video screen, part white-only lights and part advertising,” according to Nick Eaton of SEATTLEPI.com. The new display will be “entirely a video screen, and will stretch the entire width of the center field bleachers where Safeco Field’s current scoreboard is mounted.” The video screen is manufactured by Panasonic and measures 201.5 feet wide by 56.7 feet tall. The Mariners said that the 11,425 square feet make the video board “10 times the size of the current video screen when it’s installed before the 2013 season.” The addition will make the video board the “largest board in all” of MLB, and it “measures even wider than the humongous display at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, making it the widest screen in all of sports.” The screen can be “configured however the Mariners want.” It will be “able to display only video, but also can be split into sections to show advertisements or other game information, such as team lineups and game statistics.” The Mariners said that replacing the main scoreboard is the “third of three steps the team is taking to update signage at Safeco Field.” The first step was “installing the new LED out-of-town scoreboard in left field in 2010,” and LED ribbon boards in ’11 were “installed along the edges of the Terrace Club level.” The Mariners said that the cost of the entire project is “estimated at $15 million” (SEATTLEPI.com, 11/15).
CONSTRUCTION ZONE: In Seattle, Brier Dudley noted work has “already begun to dismantle the ballpark's original scoreboard,” and the new display “should be operational in March, in time for the April 8 home opener" versus the Astros. The video board is “replacing a cluster of displays and signs, including a 26 by 46 foot standard-definition video display, billboards and a matrix board displaying stats.” Mariners VP/Information Services Dave Curry said, "The idea first was to go all LED so we had a flexible palate, if you will, to be able to change and move things around and just be much more dynamic." He added, "As we were looking at the size of the structure we started thinking, 'if we could get this thing to be native 1080p that would be the ultimate resolution.'" Mariners Public Information Dir Rebecca Hale noted that the upgrades are “covered by a different budget than team operations, so they won't affect plans to boost the team payroll and make it more competitive” (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/15).
RACE AGAINST THE REMOTE: YAHOO SPORTS’ Kevin Kaduk wrote the professional sports experience “sure is getting weird.” The quality of today's televisions are “attempting to turn our living rooms into ballparks and arenas and they're doing a pretty good job of it.” Meanwhile, those same ballparks and arenas are “trying to turn themselves into our living rooms” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/15).
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday said that Vikings officials “weren't forthright during negotiations about the possibility that season ticket holders could be charged hefty new fees to help fund the new stadium,” according to Patrick Condon of the AP. While expressing “optimism the dispute could be worked out, Dayton did not retreat from an earlier vow to fight the teams' owners over the extra charges.” Dayton said that team officials “didn't bring up the high-dollar fee proposal during stadium negotiations.” Dayton said, "Not every card was face up on the table.” But Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said, "We were very forthright and very above-board and very clear." Dayton said that he “hoped” Vikings Owners the Wilfs would “realize steep fees might attract ill will.” Dayton: "They've obviously been very successful developers in New Jersey and that area. Maybe there's one style of doing business there that's effective. I think there's a different style here that's more straightforward and more mindful of the sensitivities of the community, and the need for good relations with the community" (AP, 11/15). In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes Dayton is “overreacting to the Vikings' survey of ticket holders about seat licensing in the new stadium.” One of the reasons the Wilf family “came up with an extra $50 million near the end of negotiations for a new Vikings stadium bill and will contribute a total of $477 million was because the bill included a clause that allowed the team owners to sell seat licenses in the new stadium.” Dayton is “no doubt pulling a grandstanding act in his reaction to the Wilfs sending out the survey regarding seat licensing fees” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/16).