Tuesday, July 29, 2014         


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Scoreboard will be big upgrade for UH fans at Sheriff Center

By Ferd Lewis


University of Hawaii volleyball coach Dave Shoji is looking forward to welcoming the biggest, brightest and, undoubtedly, most noticeable addition to the Rainbow Wahine program.

All 11 tons.

A winning bid could be selected as early as this week on a new $2 million, state-of-the-art LED video scoreboard that, in its own way, is being touted as a “game-changer” for UH on a couple of fronts.

It is scheduled to debut Aug. 26 when UH opens the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational against San Francisco and, like a lot of things around the UH campus, its arrival is overdue.

The current $1.25 million JumboTron was part of the original furnishings when the Sheriff Center, then known as the Special Events Arena, opened in 1994 and it haggardly looks the part. So many of the squares that make up the past-warranty video screens are now out of order that it has come to resemble a puzzle from which too many pieces are missing so as to make it a head-scratcher if not a headache. Especially for those seated in the lower bowl, where the angle has long made viewing difficult in the best of times.

“I’ve sat in there for basketball and volleyball and it (the screen) is outdated and due for a change,” Shoji acknowledges.

The new 21-foot x 12-foot video scoreboard will be at a 15-degree angle and, while customized for UH, will be modeled along the lines of scoreboards at Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Southern California, officials say.

It will have a four-sided main screen and a lower ring ribbon-like appendage that rotates at 360 degrees, the combination of which will feature more than 1 million LED bulbs, UH said. Additional LED technology will be employed in new courtside video signage to complement it.

For fans, the video scoreboard should finally usher in the 21st century. The addition is billed as “raising the game experience” through sharper live-game action, interactive promotions, more vivid replays and enhanced presentation of statistics and information, UH maintains.

For volleyball and basketball coaches, the new addition is calculated to help sell prospective recruits on a big-time atmosphere in the arena. For sure it should make the Sheriff Center the best-appointed on-campus facility in its new home, the Big West Conference, come 2012.

UH is pitching it to prospective sponsors as a prime vehicle for branding and messaging and is hoping to extend participation beyond the 12 companies that were involved with the current scoreboard. So much so, in fact, that it is hoping to make it an element of an additional $250,000 in revenue off the bat through a successful corporate partner program already valued at $3.4 million per year.

“I think, with all the advances in technology, its time has definitely come,” Shoji said.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com.

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