New scoreboard, high-def upgrades coming to FedExForum

By Michael Wallace
Grind City Media

MEMPHIS – Fans of the Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers, concerts and other major events at FedExForum can look forward to more expansive screens and high-definition views of the action when the entertainment returns to the Mid-South’s marquee arena this fall.

Add a massive scoreboard and complete digital makeovers to the list of ongoing arena upgrades.

FedExForum is in the process of implementing large-scale enhancements of the fan viewing experience. The upgrades are highlighted by the installation of a state-of-the-art scoreboard above center court and the addition of four high-definition big screen monitors in the corners of the arena.

The new center-hung scoreboard features include a continuous, 360-degree, borderless, video display that is nearly four times the screen size of the original video board being replaced.

The scoreboard and digital technology improvements are funded through a longstanding public-private partnership between the Grizzlies, the City of Memphis and Shelby County. The latest upgrades are vital to keep the 13-year-old arena on par with operational standards of other NBA facilities, officials said.

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes investment, but there’s also a lot of fan-facing investment that needs to take place,” said Jason Wexler, Grizzlies President of Business Operations. “The technology evolves, and FedExForum was the last standard-definition (arena) in the NBA. And standard-definition, obviously, doesn’t cut it anymore. Part of why you want to maintain FedExForum as a first-rate facility is because you want to have a first-rate fan experience. This is a huge step in that direction.”

The Grizzlies are also in the process of expanding the arena’s weight rooms, locker room and Built Ford Tough Training Facility, where space is being created for the G League’s expansion team, Memphis Hustle. Wexler also mentioned that FedExForum, where the Grizzles began playing when it opened in 2004, will surpass the Pyramid (1991-2004) in years of continuous operation for major college or professional basketball this coming season.

FedExForum’s other new digital project enhancements include:

  • Complete conversion of arena digital control rooms to high-definition.
  • Full-screen LED center-hung scoreboard with equal display on all four sides.
  • New digital scorer’s table and video ribbon boards circling the arena’s interior.
  • New digital ticker that runs from above the arena box office to inside the plaza.
  • New Beale Street-facing marquee video board above FedExForum administration building.
  • New digital menu boards at all concession stands.

The goal is to keep improving the fan and tenant experience at FedExForum as technology evolves.

The Grizzlies are one of several NBA franchises to push for digital upgrades to enhance aging or antiquated technology in their home arenas. The Spurs, Hawks, Jazz, Timberwolves, Hornets and Pelicans are among teams that have either completed or are in the process of revamping their digital scoreboards, overall arena technology or similar projects to improve the fan experience.

Daktronics, which has handled digital conversion projects at FedExForum and several other NBA arenas, is overseeing the improvements again in Memphis. The current construction process started last month with the removal of the old scoreboard and equipment and will continue into early September with installation and testing, FedExForum officials said. The digital makeover, according to arena officials, is expected to be completed well in time for the start of the Grizzlies’ preseason schedule in early October.

“This is an exciting project as we continue our long-standing relationship with FedExForum and the Memphis Grizzlies,” said Andrew Rice, Daktronics sales representative. “The innovative new displays bring more visual elements and excitement to all events held at the venue. Grizzlies ownership and management have challenged us to be forward thinking with the new center-hung design, and Daktronics looks forward to seeing the displays in action at the start of the 2017-2018 season.”

The goal is to keep improving the fan and tenant experience at FedExForum as technology evolves.

“This is a FedExForum project,” Wexler said. “The (University of Memphis) Tigers will utilize the new center-hung scoreboard, corner boards and more to enhance their fan experience while other events like concerts will have access to the new technology. Beyond the interior upgrades, a new outdoor digital board on top of our administration building, along with new LED color displays overlooking Beale Street, will bring some new and improved lighting to enhance the exterior of FedExForum and the plaza. We’re excited to be able to help provide all that.”

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