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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


New sights and sounds coming to Arizona Stadium

The offseason is a time where the Arizona football program can evaluate and make decisions to improve for a new year, and it’s starting at Arizona Stadium.

Athletic director Greg Byrne announced Monday that a 5,356 square foot video board will be installed in time for the start of the 2011 football season.

This will be the first major addition or change to the scoreboard and sound system since it was first installed in 1999. The improvements to the stadium are just the beginning of what Byrne called the transformation of the “”experience business”” at Arizona Stadium.

“”We’re in the experience business for our student athletes, we’re in the experience business for our fans and this will really enliven an already very good environment at Arizona Stadium in the best possibly manner,”” Byrne said.

In an end-of-the-season press conference, Byrne said that the football program has some “”issues”” that it needed to improve, starting with the upgrades at Arizona Stadium.

According to the University of Arizona Intercollegiate Athletic Facilities Analysis released in July 2009, “”Due to the facility’s position and height, the relation and construction a new stadium video-scoreboard and timing system will be required. The ICA Master Plan calls for the new scoreboard to be located at the southern end of Arizona Stadium.””

The relocation of the large video board didn’t come with an exact price estimate, but Byrne said that the projects costs were “”within our budget.”” The ICA Master Plan lists the Arizona Stadium south end-zone video board cost estimate at approximately $7.27 million.

Where the new board is not completely visible, Byrne said that new LCD TVs would be installed to compensate. The video screen features removable virtual ad panels on the side and a new audio system.

In addition to the south end zone improvements, Byrne said that the north end zone is still on schedule, with some help from some currently unpublished donors.

“”The north end zone is still full speed ahead. We continue to make progress on the fundraising side,”” Byrne said, although he would not reveal the amount or the donors’ names.

“”We have to continue to invest in our success long term,”” Byrne said. “”And what takes place every year, every day, you have to say ‘what are you doing to get better?’ And this will be an important part of that to show our progress with our facilities.

The board would be the largest in the new Pacific 12 Conference and Byrne estimated that it might even be the largest board on the west coast, sighting the Seattle Seahawks’ video board as comparison.

Byrne called the board an “”absolute game-changer.””

Byrne said the board would be six and a half times larger than the current video board. The high definition continuous paneling would make it comparable to similar boards at Oregon and Oregon State, but Byrne said that Arizona’s new board would be even larger than those at Autzen Stadium and Reser Stadium, which prompted a joke from head coach Mike Stoops, “”We have something bigger than Oregon?””

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