Though it’s a little late for the holidays, the White Sox may get to start playing with one of their new toys shortly.
The first of three new scoreboards at U.S. Cellular Field has been installed and the White Sox hope to start testing it soon. With the 2,500-square foot scoreboard in left field already in place and alterations to the board’s operation room nearly complete, testing could begin as early as Friday, vice president of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer said.
Back in October, the club announced an overhaul of the ballpark, which is headed into its 26th season. The highlight of the estimated $7.3 million project is a 7,000-8,000 square foot board in center field, construction of which is under way. The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority approved the plan last year.
“I’m thrilled about the new look,” Boyer said. “Now one of my concerns is how are we going to get the audio levels correct? We can test it all we want with nobody in the ballpark. What’s it going to be like when people are in the ballpark?
“It’s a big undertaking.”
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In essence, the construction is the first phase of a three-part project. As of now, construction of the boards remains on schedule, Boyer said.
Then comes the testing and programming phase, which is followed by the final step, figuring out what content to use to fill all of the extra space on the new scoreboards. After the project is completed, the White Sox will have gone from one of the smallest video boards in the majors to one of the largest.
The White Sox have added two full-time employees to the scoreboard staff to operate and provide content for the project. The team also has studied what every other Major League Baseball club does with its scoreboards as it prepares for the 2016 season.
“One of the big things we’re working on is the connectivity with fans,” Boyer said. “How can the fans get involved with these things? That’s been a fun project. And what additional information can we share — whether it’s fantasy sports or a deeper dive into statistics. So we’ve been working around that.
“We feel pretty good about it.”