Stadium plans include HD video boards

A new contract with Daktronics will bring state-of-the-art video boards to the new stadium.

by Andrew Cummins

In 2003, the Big Ten started using an instant-replay system in its conference football games. Thanks to a new contract between the University and Daktronics, in 2009, fans at TCF Bank Stadium will view those replays, among other things, on state-of-the-art video boards.

The University’s Athletics Department and South Dakota-based Daktronics agreed last week on the contract’s terms, ending a search for a video board contractor.

Officials agreed to the $9 million terms, because Daktronics “fit the bid,” said assistant athletic director Phil Esten, who added that the contract falls within the estimated price for that portion of the stadium project.

The contract includes a 48-by-108-foot main high-definition video board, along with video banners, clocks and an audio/video system to power the displays.

The technology used in the video displays allows for good sightlines from all viewing angles, said Mark Steinkamp, marketing and sales support manager at Daktronics.

“The new technology will allow everyone in the stadium to enjoy it,” he said.

Steinkamp added that along with technology, his company’s experience proved to be a selling point to the University.

“We’ve got product working in over 1,000 college facilities,” he said.

Daktronics provides video services to five of 11 Big Ten schools, according to the company’s Web site.

Esten said the University teams up with consultants and architects to design the stadium’s features and create pricing models.

“Ultimately we decide certain specifications,” Esten said.

Once they decide on exact specifications, the search for a contractor begins.

Although the University headed the search and negotiated the contract, Daktronics is technically a subcontractor of M.A. Mortenson, the construction company in charge of building the stadium.

Paul Kitching, senior project manager for Mortenson, said Daktronics products have been used in previous projects the construction company has worked on.

The video displays will help the stadium, which is on schedule, serve the needs of the fans, Kitching said.

“They will add to the fan experience tremendously,” he said.

The video displays will also offer highlights of other Big Ten action – something fans have said they want, Steinkamp said.

“We equate it with the living-room experience,” he said.

In other stadium news, Esten said that the University is still awaiting word on whether the stadium will be LEED-certified, or deemed an environmentally responsible facility.