Mets unveil new scoreboard, MLB's largest, at Citi Field
No, the new centerfield scoreboard at Citi Field cannot be seen from space, according to Mets officials interviewed by Newsday on Thursday.
As far as we know.
“It’s big, it’s definitely big, maybe not that big,” Oscar Fernandez, vice president of technology solutions, said after a hearty laugh.
Andy Goldberg, the team’s chief marketing officer, added, “Oh, god, no. But it’s big.”
“Big” does not quite capture the bigness of it.
It is the biggest in Major League Baseball at 17,400 square feet — three times the size of the pretty big old one, which totaled 5,300 — and uses 19 million LEDs.
Throw in its sister videoboard in rightfield and they combine for 21,500 square feet of display area. Add up the entire stadium, and it features 40 million LEDs.
The main board, 2½ years in the planning, was the featured attraction of the annual “What’s New at Citi Field” media event. Well, that and a culinary extravaganza showcasing new and returning food items.
But back to the scoreboard . . . The key to it, said Fernandez and Sean Olsen, VP of technology infrastructure, is not only size but flexibility.
In the past, there were static elements that limited options. Now the entire board is digitized and can be sliced and diced in any fashion operators desire.
It also can show a single image to properly chronicle important moments, as stadium workers demonstrated.
“It’s why bigger was better, because you’re creating that moment of domination for a fan,” Fernandez said.
Said Olsen, “Whether you’re sitting in the upper decks or you’re sitting down in the field level, the view is just amazing. You’re not going to miss anything.”
In addition to its functionality, the centerfield board is an example of how teams add new elements each season for their entertainment value alone.
“People who come here, they want to see something new,” Goldberg said. “They want to be amazed. People love watching the baseball, but there are other things to do at the ballpark. Let’s entertain them. Let’s have fun.
“A guy once told me who runs a summer camp, ‘If I don’t have a new thing every year for the kids, they’re not coming back.’ Let’s have a new thing every year.”
Mets owner Steve Cohen even weighed in on the size of the board, writing on Twitter, “The scoreboard is incredibly large and crystal clear. I believe Lindor and Alonso will watch it instead of the pitcher to hit.”
The Mets have added new areas for casual mingling — a must in modern facilities — and a super-premium, field-level speakeasy, “The Cadillac Club at Payson’s,” in rightfield.
On the other end of the pricing scale, they plan to offer $15 tickets to college students, details of which have not been announced yet.
“Kudos to our ticketing department to understand that our fan base spans a broad swath,” Goldberg said. “It should be fun [for college students]; it should be a party for them.
“And there’s a group that wants that luxury experience. We have to offer that to them, especially in the New York area. That area is going to be spectacular.”
The Mets Hall of Fame & Museum is featuring the 1973 National League pennant-winning team on its 50th anniversary.
Goldberg said he does not expect the new pitch clock — and with it presumably shorter games — will hurt concession sales.
“The way people eat and drink, they do it in the same fashion,” he said. “The pitch clock won’t change anything. By 9:30, people are done.”