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New scoreboard reaches Sommet Center floor

by Kevin Wilson / Nashville Predators
As part of the new scoreboard technology, the Sommet Center is also being equipped with a new control room and racks full of new servers and video equipment (above).

Construction of the new, state-of-the-art centerpiece for the Sommet Center has begun.

Early Monday, trucks began filing onto the arena floor carrying pieces of the scoreboard and video boards that will hang above the ice for the 2007-08 season, and many years to follow. The scheduled completion for the project is Aug. 29, since much of the actual construction occurs on the arena floor. Crews from ANC Sports Enterprises, based out of Purchase, N.Y., are in charge of the operation, which includes a new hoist to raise and lower the piece, and the assembly of the frame.

When the hoist is secured in the rafters and the unit’s frame has been assembled, crews will position the completed frame underneath the hoist and raise it off the ground. Once supported by the building, the framing can then have the video and stat boards fastened to it.

“It is kind of an ongoing thing,” Predators director of technical operations Blake Grant said in regard to a timeline for completion and assimilation of the new equipment. “There are a few things we know we have to get done as soon as possible, since this equipment is new and people have to be trained how to operate it, but even before it is operational, we will have training sessions. We are looking to be 100 percent operational by Oct. 4, but will continue to work on things that aren’t mission-critical into December.”

The Sommet Center's new scoreboard will be similar to the one in Chicago's United Center (above), but will be superior in a few aspects. (Photo: Getty Images)
The frame and hoist process is expected to take about five days, and the team is expected to start hanging display pieces by the weekend. With the exception of the Alison Krauss concert Aug. 25 at the Sommet Center, a full day’s work will be put in seven days a week until the project is done.

Fans looking for a clue as to how Nashville’s new scoreboard will look and function can refer to the unit hanging in Chicago’s United Center, according to Grant. The basic structure will be the same, but the Sommet Center’s board will feature 100 percent LED technology, while the United Center’s is lacking that in the “wedges” where the video boards join together and the stat board, which shows the score, shots on goal, penalties and other in-game information.

Photo Gallery

New Sommet Center Scoreboard Assembly
(7 photos)

“The biggest change [between the Sommet Center’s old scoreboard to the new one] is from analog to digital, and we’ve been working on that design and concept for about a year now,” Grant said. “We started running fiber-optic cable a month ago from the digital control room to the tech center, the other control rooms and the actual scoreboard.”

Because of cutting-edge technology and installation used in the process, ANC Sports, who boasts 12 NHL, 15 NBA, 16 MLB and 10 NFL teams as its clients, intends to use the Sommet Center as a marketing tool for the upcoming year.

“It will be unique,” Grant said. “I know for a fact, dollar for dollar of the city’s money, this is a lot of bang for our buck and is really something we will able to be proud of.”
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