With a rattle of an impact driver and delicate balancing between a crane and cherry picker, Tiger Hollow’s new LED scoreboard was installed at the north end of the football field Wednesday, April 3.
The screen, which has the capability to project live and pre-recorded video on the field, is one of three new boards being installed for the high school sports program.
New boards will also be installed at the girls high school softball field, and in the high school gym.
The board currently in use at the high school gym will be moved to the auxiliary gym.
Altogether, replacing the three boards cost $268,000, said Tiger Hollow President Jill Bornstein —the bulk of which was paid for with private donations.
In January, the Board of Education approved spending $35,000 for the scoreboard at the softball field.
The rest of the money has been raised from private donations, sponsorships, and a grant from the Thrift Shop and Wadsworth Foundation, Bornstein explained.
The Tiger Hollow scoreboard was paid for “100 percent” with private money, Bornstein said.
That board features an LED screen that can broadcast “pre-recorded video, live fan cams and instant replay,” she said.
The top corporate sponsors will get to run a 30-second ad on the screen before games.
Tiger Hollow is currently raising funds for additional AV and camera equipment, which will bring the total cost to $325,000.
Once the new AV equipment is purchased, the sports teams that use the field can unlock the screen’s full potential — including live video and instant replays.
It is not the only new scoreboard with video capabilities.
“The gym board can show pre-recorded video,” Bornstein said, but the softball board cannot.
She said the high school’s sports marketing class has approached Athletics Director Dane Street about using the board in its class.
“The sports marketing class has approached Dane Street about getting students involved with making the thank you video we would like to run on the display in the fall to thank all our supporters,” she said. “The thought is to see if there is student interest to start an AV club and work with an advisor to get involved in sports productions.”
“We have been speaking with other towns that have student run organizations to see how they work and what is required,” Bornstein added.
Purchasing the screen comes with training from Scoreboard Enterprises, the company that sold and installed the system.
“First we need to learn how to put each sport’s functionality up on the board,” Bornstein said, “and then we’ll learn to put up pre-recorded video.”
Pre-recorded video could be shot on students smartphones, or other cameras, and then put up on the screen; but shooting live action on the field to go up on the scoreboard is a whole other ballgame.
To do that, the board’s operators will need a tricaster, a device broadcasts a signal from a camera on the field to the screen.
The system costs around $30,000, in addition to new camera equipment, Bornstein said,
She said the high school could possibly take on filming games, or producing highlight reels from the last game to play before the start of an event.
Doing so would require a new AV club at the school and a faculty member willing to serve as an advisor.
“It’s kind of fun that it adds that capability,” she said, referring to the new scoreboard at Tiger Hollow.
The video screen also means groups could organize movie nights at Tiger Hollow, since the display comes with a full sound system.
Youth sports who use the astroturf field at Tiger Hollow will also be able to use the board, and show pre-recorded videos if they want to, Bornstein said.
Both the Tiger Hollow and softball field scoreboards were up and running to track game scores early last week.
“In its simplest form of keeping score it will be used at the first home game next week after training occurs. We will test prerecorded video this spring. As for the full functionality that will be available next fall after we complete raising funds for the AV equipment,” Bornstein said about the Tiger Hollow board on April 4.
The replacement board in the gym will go up over the summer after the floor is sanded and refinished; and the old board will be moved to the auxiliary gym at the same time for both to be operational in time for schools to reopen in the fall, Bornstein said.
She said there have not been concerns raised about inequality — how the board will look to visiting players from less wealthy districts.
“Obviously a team coming from other locations might feel that way, but no,” she said.
Ridgefield is not the first town in the area to upgrade to a scoreboard with video capabilities.
New Canaan, Greenwich, and Staples High School in Westport all have boards with the same video capabilities, Bornstein said.
“The cost has come down so much that it made a lot of sense to upgrade the board for the community,” she said.