Look around any major college stadium or arena, you’ll see one common object — a video board displaying both the action on the field or court and instant replays to show a big tackle or shot.
Ball State can now say it is one of those colleges.
Starting this fall, fans can give their attention to new video boards in Worthen Arena and Scheumann Stadium in late August, in time for the season-opening football game against Illinois State on Aug. 29.
Ball State Athletic Director Bill Scholl was adamant that it was a team effort to bring the video boards to Muncie.
“This was a collective effort from the top on down,” he said. “We all saw a need and figured out a way to address the need.”
The full use of the video boards is yet to be determined.
“I think we’ll use it in a variety of ways,” Scholl said. “Clearly, we’ll use it in replays. We’ll use it to engage fans.”
Scholl said it could also be a way to run news around campus to students.
“It’s a great step that our administration thinks this way,” women’s basketball coach Brady Sallee said. “It tells me I’m in the right place.”
While the obvious benefit is for the fans, Sallee said he still sees it helping his team competitively.
“It doesn’t necessarily put the ball in the basket,” Sallee said. “But it affects recruiting positively and makes the fan experience better where it gets more fans in the stands. When you start matching up a great product on the floor with great facilities, the sky is the limit.”
A temporary video board was installed for last season’s football game against Ohio on Nov. 14.
“Everybody came to realize the tremendous value that the boards could bring to both Scheumann and Worthen,” Scholl said.
The boards will be leased from Dodd Technologies Inc., and ReelVideo Systems and will cost $1,065,000 for a three-year lease, according to a Ball State athletics news release.
Scholl said the decision to lease the boards was partially financial, as the upfront cost for leasing was less than if Ball State had purchased them outright.
Another reason for leasing was the rapidly-advancing technology of video.
“If there are significant technological advances, we can take advantage of that without having to buy new boards,” Scholl said.
From a recruiting standpoint, the boards will show potential Ball State athletes the level of commitment the university shows.
“It’s a question our coaches no longer have to answer to recruits when they ask ‘Why are there no video boards in your stadium or in your arena?’” Scholl said.
The board in Scheumann Stadium will be at the south end zone, as opposed to the southeast corner where the board was for the Ohio game.
It will be easier to see the board from the student section of Scheumann Stadium than it was last season, Scholl said.
Sallee said he might look up at the video board in Worthen Arena, but for one specific reason.
“Maybe if there’s a replay up there, where I think I’m right,“ Sallee said with a laugh. “I would be afraid they would tell me I’m wrong.“