New video board will be ready to go in time for JUCO
It’s no longer on the wish list. A video board is coming to Suplizio Field this year.
Three entities that use the ballpark are joining forces to purchase the video board, which will be installed next to the existing scoreboard in right-center field in time for this year’s Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
The Grand Junction Rockies, JUCO and Colorado Mesa have all contributed to the $180,000 price tag for a 16-foot high, 27.7-foot wide digital video board.
“We have a really good relationship now with the GJ Rockies, and they approached us two years ago and asked what’s the next biggest amenity that we can help with the stadium?” JUCO Chairman Jamie Hamilton said.
After discussing a couple of options, everyone agreed a video board would be something everyone at the ballpark could enjoy and would benefit JUCO, the Rockies, Colorado Mesa and area high schools.
The Rockies are contributing $75,000, Hamilton said, with CMU pledging $20,000. The rest will be paid by JUCO, which recently received an anonymous gift of $75,000.
JUCO has also started a GoFundMe account (https://www.gofundme.com/help-juco-ws-get-a-video-board) for fans to contribute, with a pledge to match up to $30,000. In one week, that fund has generated more than $1,200, with several junior college coaches pitching in.
Anyone donating $10 or more will be mentioned in a thank-you message on the new video board during JUCO, and those contributing $100 or more will receive a JUCO T-shirt.
Others have sent contributions directly to JUCO.
“They just called and said how do we do this?” Hamilton said. “That’s what this tournament is, people just step up and help.”
Three businesses have inquired about being a name sponsor for the video board, something Hamilton hadn’t really considered, but is now.
How the different entities use the video board will vary.
“It will be available for the high schools, CMU can sell ads and generate revenue, obviously for the Rockies it will be a revenue generator,” Hamilton said. “We’ve talked in a couple of (JUCO) meetings about having interviews after games, team pictures, thank-yous, those type of things.”
Colorado Mesa requested the board be portable enough to be moved to Stocker Stadium in the fall for football games. That added another $11,000 to the price, but the plan is to make that happen, Hamilton said.
“That doesn’t put into play the cost to actually move it,” he said. “That will have to be taken care of by the football utilizers as opposed to us, but we’ll work those things out.”
Joe Kubly, the president of the Grand Junction Rockies, said his club is happy to see the next big thing for the ballpark.
“Our biggest thing is we’re just happy to partner with JUCO and CMU and find a new way to improve this ballpark and make it even more first-class than it already is,” Kubly said. “That’s our only goal in this.”
Kubly went to Fort Worth, Texas, to check out the GoVision board, the same company that provides the jumbo displays for Major League Baseball. He has experience with video displays at other minor league ballparks, and he’s volunteered his time and will arrange for Rockies’ interns to help run the GoVision video board during JUCO.
The board is scheduled to be shipped in mid-April, with a five-day installation window.
Hamilton hopes it’s up and running by the beginning of May, which would allow CMU to test it out should the Mavericks host the RMAC and/or South Central Region tournaments.
At least the first year, Hamilton doesn’t expect JUCO to run instant replays since the board won’t be installed until just before the tournament. Reel Recruits, which produces daily videos during the week, will provide recap videos to show between games.
“I’d like to see highlights of the Challenger game or the baseball clinic,” Hamilton said. “We should have the ability to do headshots of the players now hitting, with their stats. It’s a function of manpower.
“It would be cool to do a trivia question, especially with the 60th (anniversary), or how to get the book (being written in conjunction with the 60-year celebration), all the things that go with marketing, and not take away from the championship, but to enhance it.”
The Colorado Rockies have offered to pay for the technology used at Coors Field that displays the speed and what type of pitch is thrown. The current speed of pitch display will remain, but will be moved to accommodate the board. The advertising signs above the right-field wall will likely be moved so sight lines aren’t obstructed for fans in the right-field bleachers.
And yes, the video board can withstand home runs being hit off its face, Hamilton was assured.
The time was right for that next big thing.
“It was the right thing to do, the next thing to do,” Hamilton said. “It’s been five years since we’ve done anything.”