With baseball season just around the corner, clubs are making their preparations for opening day and the roughly 70 games that will follow. In Midland, Michigan, the Great Lakes Loons (Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers) are preparing with all new displays and a complete control system overhaul.
The installation began immediately following the final game of the 2017 season and the displays were commissioned by early January, giving the Loons ample time to adjust the production to the new environment.
“We had racks and equipment starting to show up shortly after last season ended, which we were under the impression that the timeframe was normal and everyone has 5 to 6 months to build a show,” said Trent Elliott, Director of Production at the Loons. “Before Daktronics was even on-site we had our main board layouts and looks done and roughly sized out, which made the process super smooth because we knew what we wanted and Daktronics was about to help us deliver.”
During on-site training in January, I worked with Trent to help implement this new look and bring him up to speed on many of the features that make this new system a big difference from the Venus 7000 system which dated back to the opening of the ballpark in 2007.
One of the big differences Trent noted is the leap from SD to HD. “Going from an SD to HD setup will allow us to show a lot more content for stats, player information, partners, etc. With our old board, it was always a fine dance of information or visibility. With this new system, we don’t have that problem.”
The Loons production is built upon many of Daktronics newest software features. Zone transitions will be used to give the appearance of the L-bar layout sliding in and out when transitioning to and from full-screen video. Enhanced Dynamic Content has also been implemented to animate and draw attention to various stats.
In the coming weeks, crowd prompt templates and content will begin to be delivered. When I asked Trent about the current state of readiness for opening day: “So far, so good. [knocks on wood] I am currently building content and working with Creative Services to get everything in order with our looks and assets we need for the upcoming season.”