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Out with the old, in with the new

by Kevin Wilson / Nashville Predators
The 52,000-pound scoreboard unit that helped fans enjoy every home game in Predators history was taken down on July 23, 2007 to make way for improved technology.
A piece of the Sommet Center that has kept tabs on every Predators home game in history has been torn down and shipped out, one of many capital improvements that are taking place at 501 Broadway this summer.

The 52,000-pound center-hung scoreboard is the most noticeable of these improvements, making way for a newer, more efficient model that will be installed starting Aug. 13.

"People will be absolutely shocked when they see the improvement in quality from the old technology to the new," said Blake Grant, Predators director of technical operations. "It really enhances the resolution of the picture, and is much easier to read off of."

As part of the new system, an elaborate new control room is being constructed to accommodate the digital equipment that the new scoreboard demands. This will not only provide a sharper, more defined picture, but will also be wired into the NHL HITS system, new real-time scoring software that will provide fans with up-to-the-second scores and detailed statistics.

An additional element that will not be directly noticed by fans is the new scoreboard's efficiency. The old unit used about 1,200 amps, enough to power 18 houses. The new one will require half that power.

Original Sommet Center Jumbotron comes down
The old analog scoreboard will take roughly six days to completely take apart and ship away. The Jumbotron portion will be broken down and sold for its parts, while the text screens and scoreboard will be shipped to Winston-Salem, N.C., for use in the rafters of the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. That arena is the home of the expansion Twin Cities Cyclones of the Southern Professional Hockey League.

"We only had the Jumbotron for about five years when Sony got out of the scoreboard business," Grant said. "So, ever since about 1999, we haven't been able to get spare parts from them."

The remaining usable pieces were bought by the Cyclones in an online auction for $10,000, plus the cost of shipping.

"From an arena standpoint, this is about staying competitive with other venues and providing a better fan experience, which we are excited about," Grant said.
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