What should we consider when purchasing a new scoreboard?

Need a new scoreboard? Here are some items to consider. Selecting a proper scoreboard for either a new facility or the replacement of an old unit is an important decision. Scoreboards in typically big ticket items and can have a big impact on the design of your new facility. Adding a larger scoreboard can also drastically facelift an old facility. In the state of Texas where high school football is king, we have even heard of a school district designing their new stadium around their scoreboard (which was the largest high school scoreboard in the nation at the time of construction) … Everything is bigger in Texas! Here are some industry terms and items to be considered when selecting your new scoreboard:

  • 100_6370Pitch (or Pixel spacing): Think clarity on your TV. The smaller the number the better. 10 years ago the Pitch on “high resolution” boards was 23 MM. Today, economical boards include a 12 mm pitch. Some higher end boards are going as low as 6 mm. 10-12 mm will look from 12 feet away. With the 6 mm scoreboard, you might as well put your grab your popcorn and cuddle up right in front of it (like my high school girl friend’s dad did when their home TV didn’t have a remote.)
  • Active Area: Active Area is the space on the scoreboard that is actually lite up with LED. This will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as they all have slightly difference LED dimensions and cabinet sizes. The important part to consider is the relative size and to not get hung up on inches. Cabinet size is slightly larger than the Active Area and is really not really important. When comparing different manufacturers, stick to comparing Active Area.
  • Distance and sight lines: The scoreboard should have an appropriate active area that is capable of displaying the number of lanes in the competition pool. The scoreboard may be attached to the wall at the end of the swimming pool or natatorium opposite the diving pool. It should be mounted in a way that it can be seen from the entire deck and spectator areas.
  • Wall Size: Have your architect and pool designer draw the scoreboard on the wall in a 3D modeling program to get an idea on size. Even large scoreboards can look like postage stamps on big blank walls.
  • What sports are being displayed? Each aquatic sport display information is going to lend itself to a slightly different size board. It is important to take this into consideration and even explore potentially having multiple boards for each of the different sports that are going to be a part of a facility.
  • Differences in Manufacturers. There are multiple scoreboard manufacturers for the major sports, however for swimming, there are a few sport specific manufacturers that specialize in swimming scoreboards and timing systems. It is important to have a fully integrated system that is complete with a full timing system and scoreboard. Using multiple manufacturers opens the door for finger pointing on meet day where there is an error with operation of the video system. Going to one supplier is much simpler and quicker when there is an issue.

Hiring an aquatic design professional can help you determine which scoreboard is right for your needs and can help make sure you get the best pricing on your system. Keep this in mind when selecting your design team.

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