Williams, Mariucci get video boards

Officials said the new video boards cost about $600,000 total for both locations.

Than Tibbetts

A construction crew lowered the scoreboard Thursday in Williams Arena to update the 77-year-old building.

The workers popped out the old displays and installed four brand new video boards. University athletics officials say they hope the new boards, also installed in Mariucci Arena, will enhance the experience of watching a Gophers game while generating more advertising revenue for the athletics program.

Installation of four new video boards for Mariucci Arena’s scoreboard should be completed before the next home hockey game, officials said.

Dustin Trenl, a Daktronics project engineer, said the new screens are “pretty sweet.”

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said upgrading to video was necessary and long overdue.

“We were one of the few places in the Big Ten and (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) that didn’t have video,” he said.

The University hired Gopher Sports Properties – a division of Learfield Communications – to sell advertising throughout the athletics program. The company assured the athletics department advertising revenues could improve with the new video boards, Maturi said.

University officials said the new video boards cost approximately $600,000 total for both locations. In comparison, Williams Arena cost $650,000 when it was built in 1928.

The athletics department used money from its facilities fund to pay for the equipment.

The new video boards in Williams Arena are approximately 6 feet tall and more than 7 feet wide.

Maturi said athletics officials who saw the completed work were very impressed with the screens.

Trenl said the new displays use one of Daktronics’ better technologies – 10 millimeter pixel spacing – that results in a very sharp picture.

The displays will allow for the complex animated and video presentations used at professional sports venues in the Twin Cities.

The old matrix-style video boards in Williams Arena were installed in the early 1990s. The boards could only display animations and text.